small stones!


I’m taking a writing eCourse: How To Pay Attention To The World (a free one-week self-study course if you’re interested — open-ended startup). The idea is to become better at observing the small details of my world. Then learn to record precise sense-responses (touch, smell, taste, color, texture, and more….). Then trim to the essence. This process should lead to better writing.

The main writing exercise is to write a daily “Small Stone“. “A small stone is a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.”

I’m struggling with the concept. Or maybe resisting. Foraging about for my own technique, my own take on this. So I decided that my first Small Stone would be about this struggle and confusion. I’d like to share it here. Thanks for reading!

Full of great intentions, yet stumped from the get-go. Grasping at sense straws. Staring at my big friendly monitor, the framed pictures and words enticing me. It displays no key to today’s task: write a Small Stone. Keyboard feels like an old friend, but fingers don’t respond with creativity. Senses? Sensing internals more than surroundings. Frustration creeps in. But the draw toward the joy of writing prevails still. For how long?

Idea pops up: handwriting might better join mind to creativity, at first. Graphite tracing out Small Stones in a notebook. But! I am at one with technology. Must I withdraw from this beloved magic medium to create words in another? My mind and heart argue. I resist leaving my usual writing station. Today Small Stones feel as bad for me as kidney stones would.

My window frames the first sunny day for weeks. My terrace beckons. The sun and pencil and notebook begin to win. Yes, I’m leaving my desk, untethering keyboard from fingers, going out to the deckchair in search of Small Stones.

Instructor said it’s more like “a ‘big stone’ but who cares.” Clearly, I need to focus on brevity, on narrowing down my small-stones writing to “just a couple of sentences”, on “describing a single moment/situation rather than several.”

P.S. The painting of beach-stones is by yours truly. 🙂


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