Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Becoming as a Little Child
We hear that we should "become as little children" in a religious sense. But today as I exercised on my stationary bike, I read a little bit more of Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer. This book is not one that can be read quickly. It needs to be read in little snippets and meditated upon. Kitty's underlinings and notes make this little book all the more integral to my own writing.
Today's little snippet was about seeing all the events of life with the eyes, with the wonder, of a child. Brande writes:
"Merely deciding that you will not be oblivious is hardly enough, although every writer should take the recommendation of Henry James, and register it like a vow: 'Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost.' By the way of getting to that desirable state, set yourself a short period each day when you will, by taking thought, recapture a childlike 'innocence of eye.' For half an hour each day transport yourself back to the state of wide-eyed interest that was yours at the age of five" (p. 114).
A mere two pages earlier, Brande wrote:
"The most normal of us allow ourselves to become so insulated by habit that few things can break through our preoccupations except truly spectacular events.... This dullness of apprehension to which we all submit spinelessly is a real danger to a writer."
This is extremely important to remember as a writer, even as simply a creative person. We can't lose the wonder. None of us. The beauty of a newly-opened rose ... the laughter of a child ... the wind through the trees ... waves crashing on a sandy beach ... the scent of a newborn's head. We simply can't lose the wonder.