Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tell about it!

I want to talk a little about this quote I love. It's attributed to a woman named Mary Oliver, whom I don't know, but her tidbit of wisdom has added scope to my life and my writing.

"Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it."

--Mary Oliver--

Cool, right?

PAY ATTENTION. It seems like a no-brainer to pay attention when going through life, but how many of us slump through our days, taking care of the mundane necessities, and not really seeing the places, things, and especially the people around us? I was watching my great-nephew the other day as he squatted down to look at some ants. He wasn't just looking--he was paying attention. And, he was astonished by their antics. When he looked over and saw me watching him, he wanted to tell me all about it and have me be a participant in his scientific discovery. I promised myself that I would pay more attention to ants, trees, and sunsets. I decided to pay more attention to what was happening in my neighborhood, state, and country. I vowed to pay more attention to those people around me who enrich, and expand my life.

BE ASTONISHED. Life actually does astonish me: acts of kindness, acts of bravery, the human spirit, the leafing of the trees in the spring, the taste of strawberries, the pictures from the Hubble space craft, the color yellow, babies giggling, and a thousand other things that make me stop in my got-to-get-things-done frame of mind, and take a breath.

TELL ABOUT IT. The final part of this equation is important. We can pay attention and be astonished, but if we don't share that joy or insight with someone else, it makes for an isolated life. This is especially true for those of us who are writers. Why do we write? Why do we go through the struggle of getting the words down on paper, the angst of submitting it to a publisher for scrutiny, and the worry if it will be accepted by the reading public? Why? Because we have noted something, been astonished, and now we want to tell about it. No, we have to tell about it.

I'd love to hear from you about something which has astonished you. Tell about it!

No comments: