Today’s chapter of discussion in Kroeger and Craig’s book, On Being A Writer, for our discussion group on Kate Motaung’s blog, is on surrounding yourself with the things you want to write about. We’re to ask ourselves what we want to write about and consider ways to introduce inspiration on those topics into our lives.
I usually write about my life as I find it now. When my kids were younger and living at home, they were a lot of times the main focus of any writing I did. They provided endless hours of discussion. Now that they’re gone, just like holidays, my life has been much quieter and I find less to write about that’s humorous. Dr. Seuss was and is one of my favorite authors. I loved reading his books. I loved reading his books to my children. The rhythm in his writing greatly appealed to me. I loved the nonsensical themes in his books. I even wrote my annual Christmas letter once in his style. My husband hated reading those books to the kids, but then he doesn’t do fantasy well. He was not familiar with the Lewis Carroll’s story, Alice In Wonderland, when our middle son was a part of the Missoula Children’s Theater production in our city. I was amazed that someone in his 30’s had never experienced that story. As we watched the production and I tried to explain the story to him, he was not impressed. He thought it all very strange. Which makes me laugh even today to think about. My husband and I are not bookends. We are opposites and sometimes the more opposite he is from me the more I enjoy it. And other times, it frustrates the stuffing out of me.
So surrounding myself today with things to write about, requires more intention than it did when my children were my focus. I love people watching. Many times that can be something that spurs me to write. In order for that to fuel my imagination, I need to be around people. Which means leaving my house. I am not an agoraphobic, but I am a homebody. I love staying home. I am most content here. I believe my father must have been like that as well. We like to go out and do things but then are eager to return home where we are most comfortable. My husband is much more of a goer and a doer. So in that way his being opposite of me is a good thing. To please him and spend time with him, I agree to go and do. Most of the time that is a positive experience and all of the time it exposes me to more things to write about.
Over the weekend we went on a 4-5 mile bike ride. We used a trail that winds around a lake just outside our town. We have some wonderful bike/hike trails on the outskirts of our town and many people make use of them. So on our bike ride, I was able to observe other bikers, families walking with small children, people camping in the park, and people walking their dogs.
Another thing we did this weekend was to have dinner out at a restaurant. The restaurant was packed and we did something we usually don’t do, we agreed to eat at the bar to get a seat earlier and get our food earlier. This created a whole new experience to think about and write about if I choose.
Reading is another way we can surround ourselves with material to write about. Most of the time I am a fiction girl. As I mentioned before I love fantasy and escaping in a book. I love a story. It is pure entertainment, relaxation, and thrilling to read a good fiction book. Non-fiction on the other hand, requires I concentrate, try to remember details, and it is much more work for me. If I’m tired, I can only handle a short amount of non-fiction. I’m tired a lot because of the fibromyalgia I live with. I recently read a really good book, The Rage Against God, by Peter Hitchins, but it took me forever to get through because most of my reading is done before bed and it didn’t take long with this book to make my eyes close. The book we’re reading for our discussion group on writing is not fiction but it is written in a very easy to read manner that I find much easier to read. There is a lot to think about though, so I’m glad we’re picking it apart chapter by chapter and discussing it. I think it will stay with me much longer than if I sat and read it all in one or two sittings.
I recently joined a book club. Which is a group that all reads the same book and then comes together once a month to discuss it. This also provides me with writing material.
As I move forward with my writing, I will pay attention to what I’m surrounding myself with.