03 June 2009
Writing lesson from a baby squirrel
Sometimes illumination comes from unusual sources.
Such as baby squirrels.
I was eating my breakfast when something scritched at the sliding glass door next to me. A baby squirrel stretched high on its hind legs, peering in and scratching as it tried to get through the glass.
I turned toward it, and it skittered away. Seconds later, another baby squirrel burst from the herb garden. The squirrels were clearly newly out of their nest. Over the next few minutes I laughed at their antics—Taking a flying leap into a clump of oregano, running up a porch pillar, looking through the glass of the breakfast room door, chasing a baby rabbit that came onto the patio.
The squirrels’ antics brought to mind Charles Gramlich’s recent thoughtful post on Razored Zen, “Perception and Creativity.” He pointed out the value of writers experiencing the world from a unique perspective and taking steps to develop new ways of experiencing.
The squirrels suggested to me that it’s also valuable to look at the world with no perspective at all, with every thought and action aimed at discovery. What would it be like to land stomach first in that soft, aromatic plant? What would happen if I ran toward that long-eared animal? Does that purple puff smell different from the green stalk? Do I want to eat it? How high can I climb?
The squirrels ignored the sunflower seeds I put out for them and kept playing, reminding me that exploring and making sense of this world—or one’s fictional creation—should be a process of joy.
•I know what it means to miss New Orleans
•My (former) town Monday: Aquarium of the Americas
•A cover for Like Mayflies in a Stream
•Interview with DeAnna Cameron, author of July release The Belly Dancer