“And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.”
Nothing so hardens the heart of man as a barren familiarity with sacred things.
J. C. Ryle
When objects become too familiar they lose their sacredness on us. They do not lose their inheritance of beauty and story, we simply miss seeing it. To perceive sacredness, we must see, as Black Elk says, in a sacred manner. When we see in this manner, we also experience that which connects everything to everything else. There is a wholeness to our observations and experiences.
I finished my death cleanse. Hundreds of books along with other objects of affection went on to new lives elsewhere. Most gifted, some recycled, a few tossed out. One antique typewriter sold to someone who collects them. I like the spaciousness. I don't miss anything. I have kept some objects sitting out as friends, companions on my journey. There’s my many bear fetishes from trips with my daughter that act like a bookmark to these memories. These fetishes hold a sacredness, a beauty that I more easily enjoy now because they stand out.
What do your objects say about you? What is the story of a cherished object? Explore that, write about that.
How did this object come to be? Write about that.
What do you remember truly seeing today? Write about what happened and what you saw.
"It is no secret. All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name." –Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea, taken from (a most wonderful book) Tao te Ching: Power for the Peaceful – by Lao Tzu (Author), Marc Mullinax
When we are habitual in our seeing of something we don't actually notice it. To explore something, to be curious about that thing you encounter, is to connect with it. To connect with one object in a true way is to connect with the story of that object. And all the stories connected to that story.
Everything has a story.
Our words too as objects may become too familiar, habitual. Conscious writing, whether it be for our personal explorations or for others to read, means we give purposeful attention to what we are writing about. If I am writing about hope, for example, what images, words and objects will bring hope alive within me and my readers? What details of emotions or symbols describe hope?
What is an object of hope, that expresses or reveals hope for you? Write about that.
Recall finding hope during a difficult time. Does an object of significance stand out? Remember that; Write about that.
Objects certainly hold metaphorical symbology in our writing, they may also have personality and deliver a message.
Christine DeSmet , a writing coach and author of several fiction mentions how objects play a central role in scenes and story. “Often, an object in any story becomes a spotlight for both the character and reader. The object draws our attention and we know it's important somehow. Objects lead the reader to a surprise or understanding that is deeper than life without the object. Effective writers choose objects carefully because they carry meanings such as hope, love, despair, loss, or happiness, to name a few examples. When a writer has trouble creating a character or finding depth, one question to ask is this: What does the character collect? Collections of objects say a lot about humans. The collection might be what's in your junk drawer in the kitchen, or what you have inside a valuable case in a prized spot in a family room or den. We all collect objects at some time or other in our lives because the objects signify something important about time, place, purpose, people, and our emotions connected to any of those aspects.” –Christine DeSmet, author and writing coach, was the director of the popular Write-by-the-Lake Writer's Workshop & Retreat, offered through University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies. She can be reached HERE.
What do you collect? Write a story about that. Or, do these objects seem to find and collect you?) Write about that.