Is “randomness” even a word? Well, today it is for me. “Random” is one of my teenage daughter’s favorite words. And today I’ve hijacked it.
In the summer I love sitting out on my front steps early in the morning (when it’s not too muggy) and drinking my cup of coffee. Dawn is just peeking up over the treetops and the birds are out gossiping from tree to tree. Sometimes my cat joins me and wraps himself around me in kitty-friendliness. The early-morning hush is so sweet and I just sink into it.
I don’t think I could live somewhere without seasons. It’s a love/hate relationship for sure, but I don’t think I could live somewhere without significant seasonal changes. At least not for any length of time. I love the anticipation of each season and relish it’s beginning. I go along happily enjoying the newness. But after a while, I get thoroughly sick of it and anticipate the next season. (Seems strange for someone who just recently proclaimed she’s not completely comfortable with change, huh?)
Eventually, thoughts of the day and all the things that need to be done intrude, and the coffee is gone, so I go back inside to start my day. But I’ve found I really need those moments or I feel overwhelmed later on. The climate being what it is here in the northeast, I don’t get to spend as much time outside as I would like. So on those days I drink my coffee while looking out the window or reading or watching tv, but it doesn’t feel the same. There’s something missing. The early morning minutes outside connect me back to my senses. No, not my wits (though I suppose that’s part of it, too), but to my senses of sight, smell, hearing, feeling, and tasting. All in one go, really.
Our senses give us an amazing amount of information about the world around us and about ourselves. Most people don’t think about the senses until they have lost the use of one of them. Artists of all sorts are usually in tune with their senses. I’m kind of in the middle, myself. Quite often I’ll go a long time without thinking about how the senses work and then BAM! something hits me. Usually it’s nature-related or food-related – that’s me, moved by the world around me and my stomach!
Trying to put sensory information in written form is a challenging thing. Quite often our minds work in cliches. “Pretty as a picture”, “smooth as silk”, “raining cats and dogs”, “sour as a lemon”, “he zipped his lips”, and the list could go on and on. The trick is to get past these to the good stuff, the really original details. It’s tough to do. They say there is nothing original anymore, but I disagree. Everyone is so different, with different lifestyles and quirks of personality. We just need to get past the easy surface phrases. Not a simple thing, but it is possible. It just takes some time and a little nudge from that illusive Muse that likes to keep all the good stuff for itself. These days, with all the electronics and life running at 100 miles an hour all around you, the time and the ability to hear that whisper are more difficult.
Several years ago, I was reading an article in Writers’ Digest about this subject. I remember a particular phrase from it that really illustrates my point. “The man’s face was red as a boiled ham.” Simple and effective, and not overused. I’ve known writers to make lists of dozens of words to get to the golden one. The object is to get past the cliches and, after a while, the mind exhausts the usual and lands in original territory. Different combinations or connections make for interesting writing.
Just some random thoughts rolling around in my head this morning. How about you?