Monday, May 24, 2010


I loved Christine's post last week. I felt like I was on the walk with her, hearing the gravel crunch under the stroller. She talked about opening our senses (not just our eyes) to the world around us. Seems kind of basic, but what a great idea. I think as a general rule, people get comfortable in their everyday space and forget to pay attention to what's around them unless something new pops up. If you're a writer, you've got to live an observant life. You can't afford to become deadened to the details that are around you.

When I was in high school, I had a science teacher named Mr. Jurgenson. Since it was a small school, I was fortunate to have Mr. J for general science, Physics, Chemistry, and all my computer science classes. The first day we walked into his class, he had written "OBSRVE" on the blackboard. We snickered quietly to ourselves, wondering if he realized he had spelled the word incorrectly. Of course he had. He told us that the main thing we were going to learn in science was to observe. If we were somewhat observant, we might have noticed that the "E" was missing. If we were a little more observant, we would have noticed that the small "E" to the right at the front of the room. But then Mr. J walked all the way to the back of the room behind our desks. There in the very back on the wall was a small letter "E" by the clock. If we were exceptionally observant, we would have noticed that one little letter at the back of the room.

Most of us did figure it out. We all thought we were pretty smart to find the "E" at the front of the room. But if you're livelihood depends on your ability to absorb and recreate details of the senses, you're going to have to stretch yourself every day to be the person who finds the "E" at the back of the room.

This week challenge yourself, just as Christine said, to open your senses. Share something that was there all along, but that you opened yourself up to experience.

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