Looking at the World With New Eyes

I’ve been frantically busy the past month, readers. The summer was supposed to allow time for relaxation, but with visits from friends and relatives, a few major milestones, travel to and from home, and weekend adventures…well, you know the drill. Somewhere in mid-July you look up from your computer or from your car’s steering wheel as if in a dream, wondering the cliché: where did the time go?

As long as we do raise our heads, though, there’s hope for us yet. For the first time in millennia, I looked up today and realized I had time — time to think, time to write, time to work on the career side of my writing. I looked into sending stories a few places, realizing that my pipeline of submissions had become woefully depleted. I thought seriously about the three or four stunted half stories that are currently languishing in my notebook. It wasn’t yet work; but it was where work always begins, in the thinking, in the itch to write again.

Maybe it was my latest frenetic activity that has filled the well up again as well. Last weekend I got out of the city and took a walk through the countryside. I’m always a little stunned by the color green when I haven’t been outdoors for a while. The green is the kind of color that goes deeply into you, that reminds you that you are a part of the concert of living things. For a while, I looked at grass and trees and sky like a newcomer and thought, Oh, yes. So this is how it is.

If we are to continually write fresh and interesting things, then I think we must continually refill our wells with interesting things. That does not necessarily mean traveling around the world or doing death-defying feats. It might mean getting out of your routine, your comfort zone, in any number of ways. It might mean walking beyond the boundary of your normal route, or striking up a conversation with a stranger even if that isn’t the sort of thing you do. It might mean looking at a friend or a lover or a relative in a new way, thinking about that person beyond the typical role you place him or her in.

How will you look at your world with new eyes?

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