Monday, February 18, 2008

Welcome! It's such an honor to be part of this new blog - I am indeed in esteemed company with Marta, Sonya, and Kim. I thought as my first post I'd pull up an article I wrote about writing inspiration in the warm days of summer - especially since it's supposed to drop to ten degrees tonight here in upstate NY!

Savor the Moment

It’s the last day of August. Autumn has already stretched tentative tendrils toward us, cooling the evenings and drenching the morning with heavy dew. Today, as I rounded the top of a hill overlooking the valley, my breath caught in my throat. Before me lay the snaking path of the Genesee River, previously hidden from casual view behind fields and woods. Nebulous clouds of fog hovered above, revealing the river route that quietly meanders out of sight most of the year.

My soul exploded with a sensation of splendor best described by the Japanese philosophy, wabi sabi*. This was indeed a wabi sabi moment, a fraction of time linking nature and man, steeped in intense sensual beauty…so full of wonder it transports you to a moment of spiritual enlightenment.

In addition to the vapor-bound river, the countryside lay punctuated with farmers’ ponds, exposed via banks of fog steaming overhead. Normally hidden by tall fields of grass or corn, the wisps of moisture called attention to the quiet shallows, home to frogs and watering holes for livestock.

Stunned by the beauty, invigorated beyond belief, I continued on the drive that I’d taken thousands of times before. Heading north on River Road, whispers of “Thank you, God,” floated in my brain. Still and amorphous, the words vibrated in syncopation with stirring grasses.

Once again, nature presented a feast so lovely I choked with emotion. There, to the east, clusters of wheat waved in the sunlight with heavy heads bowed under the weight of soaking dew, their curvatures swan-like as they moved in glistening silence.

The ephemeral nature of this phenomenon is part of the allure. That precise moment of intense immersion, that amazing connection with nature, will never repeat. The sun's rays may not hit the grass with exactly the same angle or intensity. The grass will change tomorrow, perhaps drier, taller, or shorn. This transient moment of staggering beauty must be absorbed and cherished.

What path do writers take to experience this? How do they open the channels in the brain that might have been content to listen to Haydn’s 19th Symphony in C Major, but blind to nature’s offerings? (this was playing on the radio when I delighted in these visions today.)

First of all, one must be a “visualist.” That isn’t a real word, but it describes what I mean. A person who is stunned by physical natural beauty (certainly not at the exclusion of aural, tactile, or emotional stimulae) possesses visual aqueducts to the world through his or her eyes. Infinitesimal flashes of stunning images move him beyond belief. These impressions are captured in his mind’s eye, never to be lost, forever to be savored. And often, when this type of writer is creating, they see the “movie in their mind,” pressing from within, allowing readers to feel intimate and involved in a scene.

What type of a reader are you? Do you soak up scenes written by others? Imagine them for days on end? Find choice gems of passages that affect you for life? Do you want your readers to feel this way about your own prose?

It is this deeply felt appreciation for nature, for life, for wonder, that promotes a good writer to potential majesty. Perhaps not to best-seller status – that illusory fate is in the hands of a publishing industry often not tuned into art, but focused solely on profit. Try to ignore that aspect when you are creating your next masterpiece. In time, if the stars are aligned and you achieve this pinnacle of greatness, it may happen.

Open your eyes. Reel it in. Absorb the beauty around you, whether it is the flash of love in an old woman’s eye, or the fragile petal of a tiny orange cinquefoil. Allow yourself to be in that moment, record it in your soul, and play it back for your readers for the ultimate connection.

* Wabi Sabi for Writers, by Richard Powell, Adams Media.


pat said...

Wow! Wabi Sabi...that's my delicious affliction! I am so happy to hear that it has a name! I do exactly as you have described so beautifully-see it, record it, then try to recreate it in an original way...working on that , that is why I look forward to this blog...have to learn the ins and outs of this though...

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Pat - you're already there. You bring me right into a scene, especially with your most recent piece on about the nursing home. Amazing stuff.

pat said...

Thank you, Aaron! How will I find the time to read, blog and write...and oh yes go to work, do laundry, and cook? And care for do you do it?

Kim Smith said...

Hi Pat! Nice to meet you!

pat said...

Nice to meet you, too, Kim!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Pat, sometimes it isn't easy. It's downright insane, actually. Basically you'll find a way, your passion will prioritize life for you and you'll design all kinds of creative ways to sneak in a few hours a day to write/promote/blog. Things do go by the wayside, of course. I haven't written anything "real" while the Virtual tour and new blog have been going on - but it's okay. I'm on book thirteen and maybe I needed a break anyway!!! LOL. You can do it. I know you can. After family, put writing first! ;o)

pat said...

After family, writing that. I have just revised Canyon Song...hope you read it and like the new version...I will write like the wind and keep posted with you all here and on gather...I am in a whole new lovely world! Thanks in big you .

Marta Stephens said...

As always, this is a great peice, Aaron.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks, Marta!

s.w. vaughn said...

I've been remiss in commenting on your post, Aaron. Beautiful material, as always.


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks, SW. ;o) Now get back to torturing your characters! LOL.

Actually, if you folks would like to see it, I mentioned some of you in the most recent interviews for my Tremolo Virtual Book Tour - the first half of the interview was featured on the Gather Home Page yesterday. Here are both parts:

First half of interview
Second half of interview

If those links don't work, just copy and paste these addresses!


pat said...

Hi all!
Loved reading your interview are so energized!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks, Pat!!!