Writing about the Little Nothings Are The best.
I numbly stared out the window. Nothing is coming to me, my mind a blank slate. If I only were meditating, this would be perfect.
But I’m trying to write.
I focus on the scene outside my picture window, a red, white, and blue water tower sitting atop a hill, reflecting ripples of color on the ocean surface. Seagulls swoop up in a crescendo of what appears to be a near-miss of my lovely window.
The cats lift an occasional ear to their squawks. Life can be so dull. Oh, to be a cat!
Planes land every two minutes, and though I know they fill the air with dirt and toxins, visually they are elegant and graceful, gliding effortlessly and landing with a gentle “poof.” If the wind direction is just right, the smell of rubber mixes with the salty air.
But not today.
The sun is bright and warm; the windows opened to welcome the summer breeze.
“I need to write,” I think.
It’s Sunday afternoon. Tranquil. Perfect in its serenity. A time to compose or reach inside and touch the mindfulness of the moment. Yes, I know I only have this moment, and it’s a good one.
But my fingers remain idle above the keyboard. I have nothing to say.
I chant a prayer, “Oh inspiration, touch me. Fill me with infinite knowledge and wisdom. Let me tap into the universal energy as the words flow through my fingers, written for all eternity to witness on the pages of Medium. Let there be thousands of clap. Let my (writer’s) voice be heard.”
Then I decide to write about it.
I focus on the slurred voices rising from the patio below. Then a screech of approval. A man’s voice is next, followed by a chorus of female cackles.
I can’t decide if it’s inspiring or distracting.
It’s the progression of another drunk day on the patio below.
In my head, I hear my mother’s vitriolic name-calling, words such as “low brows,” and expressions like, “it takes a lot of effort to tip a glass.”
Mom was a Scorpio, and she had the sting.
It goes on for hours upon hours. They are just sitting. Making trips to the liquor store and ordering take-out. Well, at least they’re laughing.
Then I hear my father’s voice in my head.
“People who are happy all the time are just kind of stupid.”
Yes, but people who are unhappy all the time are called depressed. Maybe it’s better to be stupid and expect nothing from life.
Or maybe I should appreciate the small things more.
There you go.
I thus begin to write about nothingness. All of it, the stupidity, the one-sided conversation in my head.
I write down what’s bouncing between my ears. It’s not original, but it doesn’t need to be. No matter what I write, my words will never be strung together precisely the same as anyone else’s.
You know why? Because it’s my unique voice.
My writer’s voice. Any yours. Like your speaking voice, there is absolutely no one who has one exactly like yours. It is unique! Kind of like your fingerprints.
Write down the ranting, babbling, or complaining that you can’t seem to control. Because even if it’s mundane to your way of thinking, you can still write it in a way that no one else can.
Readers crave the little things expressed beautifully as much as they do the drama. If you don’t believe me, you haven’t read the book Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. Her writing is fascinating because she writes about things we consider small and insignificant so beautifully that reading her words is like holding a delicate rosebud in your hands.
They are so tender.
For instance, the main character talks about light entering a room.
The quiet in a room, how it enters, stays there, and accumulates.
The purity of water.
How your vision of a day comes to you in memory of it or, “opens to you over time.”
It makes you pause and think.
It’s dissecting the ordinary down to the cellular level, putting it under a microscope and exploring the hidden world of the tiniest details.
But first, we have to notice these things be present. Once you catch something you’ve never really considered, take it apart and examine its uniqueness.
Close your eyes and breathe, feeling the breath. Feel your feet as they touch the ground, heel to toe.
Have you ever noticed the light hitting the edge of the stairs? Next time you’re walking down some, take a look.
See the light.
And know that the light sees you.