Tuesday, May 03, 2011

What I know.

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - Coach John Wooden


I'm a skimmer. My natural inclination is to read the headlines and not the story. I gather information in broad brush strokes and then think I know a lot more than I actually do. For example, I know there's a casino being built on the west side of Columbus. I know that the royals wed on Friday morning. I know that Osama Bin Laden was killed Sunday night. But that's all I know.

Writing takes more than that. It requires me to sink deeply into the details. I have to push against my natural tendency to skim the surface of things, summarzie things, and make broad sweeping statements. I need to inhabit my life. That's what makes meditation an excellent practice for a writer. In meditation, I sink into the experience. I sink into the body sensations, the smells, the tastes. I sink into the thoughts by watching them arise and pass away. In this way, I experience the tightness in my gut when I think about the casino, the warm glow in my chest when I saw Will and Kate kiss, and the blank, empty, shocked space in my head when my husband told me Bin Laden was dead. And then I can write about these things in a way that allows the reader to experience them with me.

How do you sink into your world? How do you capture the details in your writing? If you like, tell us about it by posting a comment below.