Sometimes when I sit down to write my post for the week, I have three or four ideas already in bloom. Often a question comes up that demands a definitive answer. As I respond, my remarks may start out well on the page and then peter out, my words no longer moving in an insightful direction or I can't find the right way to express my deepest thoughts. Some of ideas are not suitable for this blog. Usually while I write these beginnings, something else starts to horn in and becomes the post for the week. To give you a clue about my thought process, here are some of the snippets that I could have turned into posts this year.
#1 If you have traveled in another country, what cultural differences stood out to you?
When we lived in Japan and rode the subways, we noticed, if the train was not too crowded, that most people closed their eyes and sat in silence, not touching the people next to them, aware of their surroundings, but not engaged with each other. The eye closing pulled them into a quiet space away from the very crowded city of 22 million people. Cell phones have changed that custom....
|A. Japanese subway rider B. Me with songs stuck in my head|
#2 Do you have a song that sticks in your head?
We watched the original Mary Poppins recently and the song, "A Spoonful of Sugar," has been spinning in my brain for the last couple of weeks. Just fragments, not the entire song, not annoying yet. But then it intermingles with a song from the musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which is a strange story to turn into a musical. "Scrooge," the movie, became more heartwarming and hopeful with the addition of music. When Scrooge starts singing, "I love life," how can you not sing along with that?...
|Two art workshop attendees.|
#3 What do postal workers and local news outlets have in common?
Local news outlets, either paper versions or online, report local politics and local events that you don't receive any other way. They keep you informed of what is happening in your town or city. Isn't that where government really begins? Postal workers bring mail and news to everyone in every part of the country. They bring news and mail to people who may not have access to broadband or any cellphone coverage (hard to believe if you live in or near a majoy city) and who don't receive verifiable information in any other way. Both the post office and local journalism are essential parts of democracy....
At the end of each of these paragraphs, I'd ask myself, "Where do I go from there?" No answer, so I would tuck these paragraphs into a file and proceed to write on that one idea that cropped up while I was flexing my writing muscles, the one idea that became that week's post.
|Attendees at John Muir Laws monthly drawing demo at the Lafayette Library|
I am always sketching, either with words or by drawing. These sketches give me a chance to explore ideas. What means do you use to help you think through your concerns? Do you talk with others, sketch, write in a journal, or post a blog?
Next month is World Watercolor Month. Join me in painting one painting a day. Some of them may be flops, others will turn out just fine, and any can be the next cut-and-paste collage you put together.
|Postcard size flowers that I am turning into a bouquet|