“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries — the realists of a larger reality.” — Ursula Le Guin, National Book Awards speech, 2014
We tend to see out of the same lense. We look out into the world and interpret what we see with an unconscious regularity. Our habits and set ideas tend to drive our narrative. We also know that to change our habits, such as what we think about ourselves, or, what we eat, is difficult. Research has shown us that we are unlikely to change anyone’s mind, unless they are at least curious enough to listen. Internal change comes by invitation.
We may live in a smaller picture but many of us crave a larger view. We seek to experience and understand more.
Writing can help us gain a larger picture, and give us the power to change our lenses and view. Writing gives us a way to witness our lives, so that we can participate in a more conscious way. And, as we open up our view more, we will help our readers open too. The power of the written word is mighty for the writer as she writes and then for the reader as they read.
There are known writerly tools that open our consciousness and view, that help us gain vision while we capture a bigger picture. Here are a few:
Leave the recipes.
Intentionally break rules and patterns.
Stay longer or leave early.
Identify and challenge all expectations.
Hand write ideas and stories down. (Journal every day).
Write a poem.
Write about the door you haven’t opened; the visitor who never came; the country you never visited; the person you never met; the room you never entered.
Hang out with new people. Travel to new places. Go on a scavenger hunt for new items, conversations, people. Give yourself a day to visit a new place with your scavenger list. Don’t go home till you have most of the items checked off. (Of course, keep notes.)
Do consciousness-opening practices.
Visit communities that expose you to a diversity of people, or, a new culture.
Switch the art on your walls. Move your furniture. When things don’t change, you stop seeing them. Change things up.
Be curious. Ask questions. Listen.
Writing Prompt: (When it warms up), go outside and listen to all the sounds. Listen for the sounds beneath the sounds. Jot them all down in your field notebook. Then (separately) write about what you don’t remember…. I don’t remember my father visiting me; I don’t remember my childhood kitchen; I don’t remember my first kiss…. (as examples, I do remember my first kiss). Then, later bring these two together: write a poem using the sounds and what you don’t remember.
“The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.” ― Ursula Le Guin,The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1979