Monday, April 21, 2008

What does it Feel like?

The other day, coincidentally on Earth day, I came to three realizations as I sipped my morning coffee and stared out the window at the pair of swans building a nest in the wetlands next to my home.

Realization #1: I am truly blessed to bear witness to the circle of life as the lake wakes up every spring.
Realization # 2: The most important question a writer asks is not "What if." The most important question is "What does it FEEL like. "
This happened as I glided into the point of view of the swan. I imagined the meditative, Zen-like repetition of plucking bit after bit of straw from the reeds around me, the security of my vigilant mate patrolling the perimeter, the anticipation of the eggs and the cygnets to come. Then two more swans soared overhead, and suddenly I was flying. In my mind’s eye, I saw the aerial view of the lake and surrounding countryside. I literally caught my breath as I felt that little bump of exhilaration when the wind picked up and lifted me higher into the crystalline, blue of the morning. I don’t think non-writers do this. I don’t think they know what it’s like to climb, really, into another living thing’s head. I think this is what makes writers special, different.
And then, realization #3: Things like this, the gifts this planet gives, are what makes nature and its varied settings special, different--especially to writers. We are all truly blessed to be the witnesses and the scribes for our surroundings and to be able to articulate these gifts in our work.
Happy belated Earth Day folks.
(P.S. If you read the comments, you'll know that when I wrote this, I jumped the gun on the date--I thought Earth Day was this past Saturday. It was/is Tuesday. The sentiment, however, is not time sensitive.)


Jess Lourey said...

Thank you for the shout out for the Earth, Susan! I think tomorrow is officially Earth Day, and here is a website that shows all the little things we can do to lighten her load:

Joe Moore said...

Well said, Susan. Crawling into a character's head is the fun and scariness of writing.

BTW, I think tomorrow is Earth Day. But, hey, everyday should be. :-)

Mark Combes said...

I live in the great white north and spring was slow in coming this year. But like those new green shoots of spring, I get renewed energy for writing in the spring. I too wake up from the long slumber of winter.

Kim Smith said...

Oh Susan, and it is so wonderful for you to illustrate this scenario for us! thank you!

Keith Raffel said...

Susan, I have tried to put myself in the shoes of other people, but my imaginings have never caused me to take cygnine form. Lucky you.

Susan Goodwill said...

Tomorrow IS Earth Day-- thanks Jess and Joe. The good new is that I'm not belated after all.
(The temptation is to go back and fix my mistake, Ok-so I just adjusted it.)