Thursday, July 28, 2011

Content Ideas: Do Sit Down

You are holding paper and looking for book ideas, something to work with between the covers. One way to find meaningful content is to stay in one place long enough for it to come to you. Something will happen. You have to be still. Do sit down.

Outside, on the grass. Bring a blanket to sit on if you like, but sit near the edge. Look at every blade of grass. Watch for movement: bugs, neighborly cats, knots falling out of knot holes in a fence. Listen for birds, trucks, voices. Smell the air, the twigs, the blanket. Make a note, list, or sketch of how you feel or what the place is like when you first sit down. Add a new page when something changes in or outside of you.

Outside, on a bench. Maybe a park. Maybe a sidewalk outside a café. Look at the cracks on the sidewalk or the wood chips or squirrels under the picnic table. Watch the people. Listen to their conversations. Write down the fragments or what you mis-hear or misinterpret. See if you can watch one person do one thing from beginning to end. Notice how strangers interact or don't. Make a note, list, or sketch of what the place is like or how you feel when you first sit down. Add a new page when something changes in or outside of you.

Inside, by a window. Maybe your room. Maybe a library. Watch for movement inside or outside: drama between birds, dogs, cats, clouds, or people, perhaps. Heighten your senses by becoming aware of your body in the space. Make a note, list, or sketch of how you feel or what the room is like when you first sit down. Add a new page when something changes in or outside of you.

Inside, at a desk with no distractions. You have only your memory, the films you play inside your head while you wait. What appears before you? Who? Make a note, list, or sketch of how you feel or what is floating into your mind. Look around inside. Listen, too.

Outside, walking. You are restless. Keep your focus outward. Keep your senses alert and aware. Movement might be in the form of cars, people, bicycles, trees. Make notes as you walk, or walk first, then sit down and make a note, list or sketch of how you feel or what is floating into your mind.

An event, however small, will happen here, there, here, again. You are looking for change.

Go Change, 2008


Reading: E.B. White, including, Essays by E.B. White, Points of My Compass, One Man's Meat
Viewing: the exquisite, painted field notebooks of Andie Thrams (Click on the link, then on the image there.)

2 comments:

jackie said...

Thank you, a really informative and interesting blog. I will be back when I am not so bleary eyed.

Alisa said...

Thank you, Jackie! Welcome!