That whisper you keep hearing is the universe trying to get your attention. ~Oprah Winfrey
The past months have been crazy-busy. While trying to keep current with day-to-day tasks at my office day job, I’ve had new projects and programs to learn. At home I’ve been writing steadily, preparing my work for launching. Through it all, I’ve been desperate to read and absorb all I can about the ever-changing world of Indie Publishing.
Still, this week I’ve had moments when I’ve heard the whisper of the universe. They’ve jarred me from intense focus and opened my eyes to a sense of the world’s wonder. None of the moments were huge. No weddings or childbirths. No grand championships, or lottery wins. Just everyday events that softly nudged my soul.
On Friday at work, a new mom brought her seven-week old son to the office to see his grandfather. I was just coming back from lunch when I saw them walking toward me in the hall. We stopped and talked. Smiling, I watched mom hand the babe to her dad. He lifted his grandson (his first), cradled him against his shoulder, and gently rubbed his back. A few co-workers gathered round ooohing and ahhhing, as we women tend to do when we look on a new baby, especially a cutie like this little guy. And while I watched the proud grandfather hold his sweet, sweet grandson, I felt a tiny tingle as the universe whispered. This is life.
Friday night we attended our high school’s football game. Both teams were undefeated. In the chilly October air, hubby and I sat close on the metal bleachers, atop a red plaid stadium blanket that pre-dates our thirty-something sons. From the booster clubs’ refreshment stands, the scent of hamburgers and fries drifted our way. The bands blared, crowds roared and feet stomped shaking the stands as plays were intercepted, players were tackled, and finally took the ball in for a touchdown, and then another. Final score – 20 to 16. We’re still undefeated. 🙂 We don’t go to games often, but when we do, I hear the universe whisper.
Saturday evening, four in our family went out for an early dinner to celebrate son #2’s birthday. We sat at the table sipping coffee, munching simple food, licking our lips over ice cream desserts. Throughout the meal we caught up on each others’ lives, and reminisced about earlier times. They talked of the time son #2 cut his younger brother’s hair. “You cut his hair?” I asked. “Yeah,” he said. “You wrote a column about it.” Funny, I had no memory of the event, or my article. “How old were you?” I asked. “Young enough that I was using those little kid’s safety scissors.” Still no memory, not even of the article. He shrugged. “Maybe I cut it up with the safety scissors.” More talking, laughing, savoring our time together. And as we parted with warm hugs outside the restaurant, the universe whispered again.
We drove home, passing broad farm fields filled with brittle cornstalks. Off in the west the sun was setting in a brilliant yellow-red glow, radiating off the clouds. I wanted to take a picture but was afraid we’d be too late to catch it at home. My husband turned and drove up to the old Indian Tower on a hill high above our town so I could capture some of the fading brilliance. And once more, the universe whispered.
It is easy to let precious moments slide by in a rush of daily routines – going to work, cleaning, laundry, shopping. But as writers, and as humans, we must pay close attention. Such little moments are gold to claim and commit to our stories, not only to make them real to the reader, but also to live on in our memories. The velvet feel of a baby’s silken skin. The proud love in a grandfather’s face. The blare of a high school band after a touchdown. Laughter at family stories. Aroma of strong coffee. The fading brilliance of an October sunset.
I’ve read that the secret to good writing is to just write. But in our writing we must also learn to pull raw emotion from our daily lives, to transfer those feelings to the written word. No heightened soap-operaesque overkill, just simple human emotion.
We must listen to the universe. Thank you, Oprah. ♥