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Key to Writing and Happiness

Cheryl's Musings: Key to Writing and Happiness

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Key to Writing and Happiness

I think I've figured it out--the key to writing and happiness, that is. Key, not keys, because I think the key to excellent writing and the key to happiness are the same: noticing the moments.

Sounds too simple, I know, but I think that the best things in life are simple. When am I happy? When I leave enough time in my schedule to have my head in the moment instead of in my to-do list. When do I garner the best material for my writing? When I leave enough mental space to notice all the warmth and beauty and surprises and tastes and sounds and ideas that come my way.

I've been thinking about this because I'm reading Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes. I watched the movie a few years ago, which is why I resisted reading the book for so long. The book is so much more than the movie. The movie tried to capture the book's theme of taking chances and finding joy in the restoration of an old Italian villa; but that's not the the theme that speaks to me from the book.

Instead, I find it a story of a woman who discovered a place where she could see the world afresh. Mayes and her sweetheart bought a run-down house in Italy and remodeled it during the days and weeks they could leave behind their "real lives" and jobs in San Francisco. In Italy, they found a freedom to love working with their hands, building, creating something beautiful--all the things that would fight for time with "to-do" lists back home. They found time to rest, time to take daily walks into town to shop for fresh bread and produce.

I hear in her words an intense awareness of smells, sights, sounds, history, tastes; and I re-surface from reading more aware of the world around me. It makes me remember my happiest moments: hiking in the Rockies, surrounded by foxglove and marmots and chipmunks and Indian paintbrush; spending the night on top of my parents' camper in backwoods Pennsylvania, staying awake half the night to watch the Perseids fall like liquid light; curling up in my particularly-comfy armchair in front of the fireplace, when we lived in the mountains, with a cup of mint tea and a Mark Helprin book.

Noticing. I'm happy when I have space and time to notice the details of my world--it has little to do with events or weather or money and everything to do with paying attention to people and beauty and places. And when I notice those details, they bring my writing to life.

I say this as if the discovery is new, but the truth is that I've known all this for a while. I just forget here's to remembering!


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At October 1, 2007 at 7:43 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Dude, if you've found the key, send it my way :) Thanks for your comment. I HIGHLY reccomend wordpress!! It lets you have actual sections, not just a blog page.

Cheerio doll.


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