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Writing and the Art of Observation

Writers are nothing if not observers of life. Crafting the words is important, but without our observer self we are only typists. As observers we quiet our minds and let our senses take in what’s there, without projecting meaning. For the first time we may notice patterns of light instead of the shadows of the apple tree’s branches. Or we hear the rhythm of the old dog’s claws clicking slowly across the floor instead of that sound being a signal to feed him. We notice how we are lifted by the scent of our friend’s perfume as she enters the room. When recorded in a poem or story, these observations transport our readers out of their everyday world into a world unlike their own, where they become open to new possibilities.The observer self slows the constant motion of the mind. Instead of simply observing, our busy mind identifies, labels, or moves us to action, obliterating what our senses might otherwise take in. The busy mind fails to hear the quality of the sound made by the dog’s claws on the floor. In conversations with a friend the busy mind looks for ways to insert its own ideas, to say its piece, …

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