Closing your eyes, silencing your mind, listening to the air coming in and going out of your lungs; you’re ready. No, this isn’t Friday morning yoga class. This is what I must do to create a scene before I write a word. To see what my character sees, to hear what my character hears; I must immerse myself in their world, be them standing in that moment. Many times that is easier said than done. The ability to relay what a war vet is experiencing while battling the bottle in a cardboard box in the middle of winter can be challenging when I’m sitting by the pool on a hot summer day with a beer in one hand and a writing tablet in the other. It is truly an art form in and of itself. The best writers not only put themselves in that novel’s unique scene but transport the most aloof reader there as well.
This translates well to the incredibly busy world in which we all live in. Too many of us focus on the next thing we have to do before we’ve fully seasoned ourselves in the present. Playing with my children, walking hand and hand with my wife or simply watching the sunset for the thousandth time… I take a conscious pause. I silence everything in my mind outside that moment. I take mental note of the elation on my son’s face as I chase him playfully around the yard; the smile on his face, the way his eyes dance with laughter. I gently squeeze my wife’s hand – really feel her hand in mine and the comfort it brings deep within the confines of my heart. I chase the cascading colors of the sunset with my eyes and commit them to memory for a comparison to the thousand and first time.
Perspective is so much easier to gain once the time has passed. A real handle on the most emotional endeavor seems to present itself when it is too late. Going back and changing things is an impossibility. Making peace with the past can feel hollow or incomplete.
The next time you find yourself in a moment that you know matters close your eyes, silence your mind and feel what is there. How do you know if that moment matters? it took many years for me to figure out they all do.