Monday, May 23, 2011

Creating: Writing Experiences

Otherwise known as recharging your batteries.

While we need those long breaks where we don't write but spend the time being a sponge and soaking up everything around us, we can also benefit from our daily excursions and everyday errands.

Last Friday I drove up to Austin to meet Hart Johnson of Confessions of a Watery Tart, who was in town for a convention. We sat at a little table on the sidewalk and, since you all know what a klutz I am, I'll fess up. I bumped the table and spilled my coffee and hers, and it all went more in her direction than mine. She didn't beat me with her bag.

But it's a good thing I made the coffee mess or I might not have turned my mug around and seen the lipstick imprint. Eewwww!

Anyway...Hart is a fantastic woman, and I had a wonderful time talking to her over coffee. In a new clean mug. Not only that, but I came away with a few new city impressions. Even better, I know there will be a coffee incident in my next manuscript :)

On Saturday I went to our local HEB, the big Texas supermarket chain. I walked in the door, and a woman on the right was cooking and giving free samples of something Asian. Normally I would have gone right over, but on Saturday the smells were a little wonky. No, thanks - I walked past. Fast.

I went out a different door - through the garden center. OMG! Fabulous floral scents. I don't know all the flowers that were blooming, but I actually stopped for a few seconds just to sniff the simple yet complex aroma. Sweet and floral, of course. A tang of spice, a touch of something pungent.

It's a good thing I'm not a bee. I would've been intoxicated from all the aromas. I wanna go here. No, here. Ooh, over here! Come to think of it, maybe that's what happens to butterflies as they loop around from flower to flower.

So the takeaway here is: Be Receptive.

Be receptive to everything, everywhere. Open your mind. Experience life.

Write it down.




31 comments:

Joanne said...

And so often it's those small things, like the spilled coffee situation, that keep it real for the reader and become a great tool for starting the story's action.

Linda Kage said...

Thank God for coffee spills!

Rula Sinara said...

'Be receptive' is a great morning inspiration.

Lydia K said...

I love bringing in new experiences for my writing. The coffee spill sounded embarrassing but funny!

Jan Morrison said...

I am riven with envy that you two got to meet! Oh, how I wish I'd been there. Hart and I have NEARLY met a few times - my dad lived in a city near hers (on the Canuck side). I still hope to but I'd also love to meet you, my fellow klutz!
I like your receptivity reminder. Excellent.
Jan Morrison

Carol Kilgore said...

Joanne - So true about the little things.

Linda - LOL!

Rula - I hope so.

Lydia - Yes...all the way around.

Jan - Come visit San Antonio. We'll go on the Riverwalk and maybe I'll spill beer or a Margarita!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

It's an adventure! How lovely that you got to meet Hart (I'm jealous) and I'm glad the coffee spilling was relatively harmless. Although I agree we must be receptive, I'd rather not be the receptor of spilled coffee! However, if *you're* the spiller, I might be persuaded...could we spill wine instead?

notesfromnadir said...

Too bad about the spilled coffee but it happens to all of us. & at least it brought your attention to a mug you didn't want to use!

Flowers, nothing like 'em! Gather a bouquet & keep them by your computer.

Glynis Jolly said...

I've been trying to do more receptive observations. Old habits are hard to break though. Moreover, it wasn't until a few days ago that I finally bought some pocket notebooks to have around the house and in the car, and in my purse. I'm hoping that my descriptions of whatever get better.

Carol Kilgore said...

Elspeth - Hart is great! I'm glad I got to meet her, too :) I'm an equal opportunity spiller, so I'd be honored to spill wine on you anytime!

Lisa - Good idea!

Glynis - Good for you :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Writing it down!
Glad you got to spend time with Hart.

Hart Johnson said...

It was WONDERFUL getting to meet you, Carol! And your coffee mishap was nothing compared to mine--the coffee that spilled in my bag left all my trip receipts smelling like java *snort*

And I'd love to meet some of the other commenters, too! Jan, I WILL meet one day. We are kindred spirits...

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Such a good point...taking note of all the little details and sights and sounds! It really does help flesh out a setting (or a character, even.) I'm so glad you and Hart had a nice visit (if a messy one! Glad to hear of another klutz out there...)

Holly Ruggiero said...

It's nice you got to meet up with Hart. It's weird to say that is it also nice you spilled the coffee. ;)

lbdiamond said...

Lovely post! It's so true--inspiration can be anywhere.

Sheila Deeth said...

Just got back from a vacation with family in England. I feel like I've soaked in lots of incidents and ideas, but my brain's bubbling over and I want to write, while the house would far rather I catch up on cooking and cleaning.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I love that advice about being receptive and being a sponge. Even when we're not physically writing life can be writing on our hearts.

Carol Kilgore said...

Alex - Me, too!

Hart - I'd love to meet others, too. Hey...java's not bad. Could have been worse :)

Elizabeth - We need a Worldwide Klutz Day :) Hart is fantastic!

Holly - Yeah, it is weird. A happy accident.

lbdiamond - Yes, inspiration is all around. We just need to open our minds.

Sheila - I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation. Finish your chores and write :)

Jennifer - Exactly!

L'Aussie said...

Great post. This adds to the old adage: 'write what you know' even if what you know is how it feels to be the one who spilled the coffee. Yeah, stop and smell the roses!

Carol Kilgore said...

L'Aussie - Right. Just twist it in different ways.

LR said...

I'm about due for a trip to recharge the batteries. :)

Love the coffee story.

Carol Kilgore said...

LR - Lucky you! I have a work-filled summer planned.

Julie said...

Great post, and great advice. Taking the time to be more receptive to what's going on around me is something I'm making a conscious effort to do, I tend to always be hurrying even when there isn't anywhere to go.

This sounds like a wonderful day. And I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my klutziness, I could have spilled the coffee too! And possibly even knocked the whole table over. ;)

Talli Roland said...

You got to meet Hart! I'm SO jealous!

Elana Johnson said...

This is a great post! We must not forget to live and experience things just because we're writers.

Glad you had a good time!

Carol Kilgore said...

Julie - Good for you. We klutzies need to unite :)

Talli - Hart's great. I'm lucky to have met her.

Elana - Exactly. And I did, thanks :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I like the unexpected and unplanned. I don't know what will happen or what I'll discover. And I can use those experiences in my writing.

kimberlyloomis said...

What wonderful inspiration "be receptive" is. Not just in writing, but life in general. So glad you had a good visit (and hopefully cup of coffee).

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Good advice, Carol! I always keep paper and pen handy for those times I want to commit an impression or specific moment to memory. Writing it down helps me 'store' the moment.

Janet, said...

That is so true. We think we lead a boring life, but the little things can be just what our manuscript needs. I do that all the time, I put in little tidbits of my life or from my ancestor's life.

Carol Kilgore said...

Ladies, I think Blogger must have just gotten these comments up after their big snafu. Thanks for commenting, and I wish I'd seen them sooner.