Monday, April 11, 2011
Little Things Matter: In Life And In Writing
One of the things I love about my cats is that they live in the moment! And they seem to appreciate the smallest gifts—the little things. I was labeling varieties of tomato plants on popsicle sticks. London and Ebbie seemed bored with another rainy day and no rainbows from the suncatchers. So I tossed a popsicle stick to each of them. Like kids, they each need one of their own. They played and played with them, batting them around, just lying on the floor watching them, moving the sticks a tiny bit with their paws and then sitting on them. The sticks were such little things that were giving them pleasure and exercise!
Life is made up of day-to-day moments. Some of them are important and some of them just shore us up for the next one. We've had a week of cloudy days and rain. But I found this beautiful little flower in my garden today along with the wonderful daffodil. And I smiled broadly, taking in the sun and letting it fill me up. I told myself to relax for just ten minutes, breathe and appreciate every little thing in my life, just like London and Ebbie can.
When I'm writing I have to, of course, concentrate on the big moments, the conflict moments, the most emotional moments in a relationship. But to give my characters real life, I have to concentrate on smaller moments, too. In my February release, His Daughter...Their Child, the hero and heroine ride to a canyon. The scenery, the striated canyon walls, the junipers growing by the stream, affect the emotions in the scene. It's a backdrop that allows them to stop and appreciate the feelings that are growing for each other. Little things that were common from a shared history in high school--like chocolate milk and biscotti at a friend's B&B--help them connect once more.
We know we're supposed to stop and smell the roses. I love doing that, too, when they're blooming. But I think we miss so many opportunities to smile, to fill up, to brighten someone else's day. I've found the little things matter--in writing...and in life.