by Joanne Rock
|I love this butterfly!|
Long ago, I read an article about meditation and directed dreaming. It talked about different ways to take a relaxing mental journey, a way to explore your thoughts in a creative way. I am forever interested in articles about creativity, convinced that I might write different, unique stories with the right different and unique creative input. So I’m open to all kinds of things that will inspire my mind to wander—listening to a wide variety of music, wandering through any type of museum, exploring nature, watching movies, or even directed meditation.
I searched for my notes on this topic recently. I had a break between novels and I like to either read about the craft of writing (I love to learn new things!) or read about topics to write about (new possible settings, interviews with people who have interesting careers that could inspire a character, etc.). This summer, I was on a quest to inject new creativity into my work so I thumbed through some of those old notes.
I found so much more than my notes.
|My letter pile is twice as big....|
Next to those clippings (remember saving clippings? From real paper magazines?) was a file of correspondence with a dear friend who shared my interest in things like directed dreaming and meditation. I began to glance over those letters—long, detailed accounts of our day-to-day lives and challenges, shared hopes and dreams, and the kinds of confidences that you only reveal to the closest of friends. What started out as a quick thumb through a file turned into me sitting on my office floors, beautiful, handwritten letters strewn all over me as I remembered the nuances of a friendship and the kind of life I was living twenty years ago.
What a treasure! Organized soul that I am, I had even photocopied a few of my letters to my friend before I sent them (who does that? Was I really once that person?) so that I could read my own thoughts in my own voice, as well as see her thoughts written in hers.
All thoughts of directed dreaming shoved aside, I gained a new perspective on creativity that day. First, I remembered the joy of sharing ideas with non-writers. As much as I love the romance community, I have fallen so deep into our world that I may have isolated myself too much from people I love who aren’t as connected to it. This dear friend and I don’t see each other nearly enough and letter writing has fallen by the way side. I need to correct this so I can share my find with her.
Second, I gained a renewed joy in life writing, something that I don’t spend enough time savoring. For centuries, the main written legacy of women was a kind of life writing—letters, diary entries, personal responses to their experience of the world. I like looking for the little details of a life in those voices. You can learn so much about a person by the way they present themselves in writing. What they choose to share and what they hold back. As we change the way we communicate today, revealing our lives in social media more than written letters, we are finding new outlets for our voices. New ways of sharing our experiences.
Book #4 in my Heartache, TN series
I came away newly excited to write to my friend again, and determined to pay more attention to the way we all connect online. My correspondence showed me how hungry I was to connect—for someone to listen to my experiences and understand me. We write to communicate, to inform, to educate, but also to be understood. To have our experiences recognized and validated. To know that we aren’t alone. Over the years, I feel fortunate to have discovered my voice. To have an outlet and to be heard. But writers aren’t the only ones whose stories need to be told…. That thirst is in all of us.
I’m going to pay more attention to the other stories around me. To listen and be present.
I can’t be the only one who saves letters or clippings. Do you have old love letters squirreled away somewhere? Cards from your mom? Letter from friends while you travelled far from home? Share with me today and I’ll give one random poster a copy of my upcoming Harlequin Superromance, Whispers Under a Southern Sky.