So many years ago, when I took my reading training wheels off and graduated to ‘grown up’ books, one of my first books was "Moonraker’s Bride" by Madeleine Brent. I was so excited. I had spent a fair amount of time in the children’s section of the library gazing longingly across at the adults’ section.
he book was, in many ways, an eye-opener for me. I learnt of a strange new world, China, of Boxer rebellions, missionaries and how, in a day, a heroine’s world can be turned upside down by a twist in fate. To this day, I love Madeleine Brent’s books, though, sadly, there aren’t many. Each one takes me to a different world and is relaxing pleasure that requires little thinking.
Going back to that one book, there is a part where the old lady who looks after our heroine and the mission is busy dying. They were struggling to feed themselves and the orphans in their care. The old lady’s advice was, "When you don’t know what to do, just do whatever comes next." With all the arrogance of youth, I thought that was rather a stupid thing to say. If you don’t know what to do, how on earth would you know what to do next? How can you do something when you have no idea what to do?
Thankfully, though, the advice stuck with me. I’ve had many opportunities to remember it when the storms of life have seemed to pick me up like a piece of flotsam and toss me down onto the rocks. When my mind is buzzing with problems and 500 solutions, none of which seem to be the answer, it is this advice I turn to. Simply doing something… anything, however mundane… is often the catalyst that moves me into solutions. It is a peculiarly mind-clearing action.
On the subject of mind-clearing… What do you do when your mind is clear – too clear? As a writer, I have a very up-close and personal relationship with that status. Blank screen, blank page, blank mind. A frustration that reaches deep when I know I have so much to say!
"When you don’t know what to do, just do whatever comes next."
When you don’t know what to write, just write whatever comes next. This is when I delve into the mundane if I have to and mundane is something I have plenty of. The thing with mundane is that defies my attempts to keep it mundane. It is the most remarkable thing. I would start out simply describing my day, a remembered scene from long ago, an object, a character in my book and before I know it, I’m embellishing those thoughts with flights of fancy and sometimes not-so-fancy flights.
Isn’t this a little like those word association games we used to play? Shall we call it thought association?
By Corrianne Lasevicius (aka Tint)