Saturday, June 02, 2007
When you write full-time, you spend a lot of time alone with your thoughts. Sometimes that aloneness is spent in your office, sometimes under a tree, or daydreaming in a wheelbarrow or while staring out at the horizon on the beach--all of which can be peaceful or get your heart pounding, depending on the line of your thoughts--but it is still alone time. Still time where you’re generating fantasy and not living reality.
This is a real job hazard for writers, particularly full-time writers, because the work is never done. There is always a brimming list of to-do items screaming “Me next!” at you. And the only way you get time off to create real memories is to take it.
Some writers who have learned this the hard way feel that time off then must be a major production. Something significant must be done or it doesn’t qualify. And perhaps that’s true if you’re only interested in creating major memories. You know the kind I mean. Ones that require time to prepare and then more time to execute and then more time to recover from them--like our pending trip to Disney.
Here’s the challenge. We can get so locked into making those major memories that we neglect to realize we have countless opportunities to make little memories--and they can be even more important than the major ones--to us, and to others.
My angel (pictured above) and I have a tradition that makes for little memories. It started when I got the Mac computer that has photo booth. I showed it to her and she said with an endearing giggle, “Gran, let’s make silly faces.” Naturally, we did.
I didn’t realize it would become a tradition then, but it has. We routinely make our “silly face” pictures and have ever since that time. We both giggle and tease and come up with more and more goofy poses. It’s a special time for us. It’s fun. It’s little memories. Doesn’t take much time--probably fifteen minutes, if that. But it’s something precious to us both and something we’ll remember forever. That’s what making memories is all about.
Writers, take time to make little memories. They’re important to those with whom you make them, but they’re also important to you. We live in a fantasy world a lot of the time. Eventually, life intrudes and we’re firmly entrenched in reality. And if we lack little memories, reality isn’t a great place to be. Compared to the lush, rich lives we create in our minds, reality can be a dim substitute. And when that happens, we’re critically out of balance which isn’t good for us--the person or the writer. These memories ground us. Enrich us. And they remind us why we are driven to write.
The bonus is that when you’re alone with your thoughts, these little memories have the person and the writer balanced and more content.