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Everyday Essentials

“Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live and die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles.  We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have these magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all our winters we are alive on the earth.  We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand.  we were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived.  Let it be known, the earth passed before us.  Our details are important.  Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter.” ~ Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

No matter how many times I read this section, it speaks to me.  It moves me.  Reminds me why writing matters, and the importance of getting to the heart of things.

When times are hard: return to writing practice.

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  1. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says:

    Details are what makes things shine….but you first need the courage to hold up those details for the rest of the world to evaluate.

    If you can convey their importance, they will shine for your readers as well.
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..INTENSE Guerrilla Marketing examples =-.

  2. Brad Shorr says:

    “We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded.”

    The truth of these words has been revealed to me over the last few months, Joanna. We should never take life for granted or make judgments about what constitutes worthiness in another person’s life.

    We should indeed be thankful for the writers who record life’s details.
    .-= Brad Shorr´s last blog ..Elevate Your Mood with Food =-.

  3. Bo Mackison says:

    “Our details are important.” Indeed, this could be the writer’s mantra. Or life’s mantra, for that matter. Why would we labor over our work, turning the experiences of our lives into bits to share, if we didn’t believe the tiniest of details make up the biggest of pictures.

    There is an analogy in a digital photograph. My camera stores huge files. One photograph may have over 10 million pixels. Yet when I am looking at the photo, if there is a single burnt out pixel, I notice it. Not that I am being particularly careful, but I can easily see one pixel out of 10 million. Each pixel is important. So, too, it is the accumulation of those tiny details that make up the entire photograph of life.
    .-= Bo´s last blog ..Vine on Weathered Barn =-.

  4. Lori Hoeck says:

    Reminds me of the butterfly effect, personalized for writers.
    .-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..How to deal with the bully and bullying — a senior karate instructor’s view, part one =-.

  5. Ami says:

    This book is on its way to my door and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for this teaser and the encouragement that came along with it.
    .-= Ami´s last blog ..Guest Posts – Harmful or Helpful? =-.

  6. Janice Cartier says:

    Uncanny. I was just wading through some resistance here ( my own), some un-sureness about this very thing. I am shaking my head slowly and smiling…how does she do this? Put just the right thing before me.

    I saw Napoleon’s bee embroidered velvet slippers and some ribboned and jeweled medals he wore upon his chest in an exhibit in Mobile a few years ago. And I saw Josephine’s combs in New Orleans in a companion exhibit. Of all the things, great paintings, furniture, marble busts, that I loved in both places, those small things stay with me. The slippers, the combs, those few small but exquisite medals. Human scale, things they touched each day.
    Details that made them…what… more real perhaps?

  7. George Angus says:

    Always, Joanna. Always words of wisdom here. You shine a beacon of light our way that pulls us forward to bask in its glow. Thank you for that.


    .-= George Angus´s last blog ..Apocalypse Now – The New Blog of The Week =-.

  8. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Barbara you’re right, and I think that mixture of attention, courage, and willingness to share is what confident writing is all about.

    Brad indeed. The moments count. The details count. What illuminates them is attention and love.

    Bo I love that: “the tiniest of details make up the biggest of pictures”. Thanks for sharing the photographic analogy too - I learn so much from you!

    Lori hadn’t thought of it like that before… will need to reflect more on that. Thanks.

  9. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Ami you’re in for a treat - it’s one of my all time favourite books, and not just for the writing inspiration. It’s for life.

    Janice I told you we were on the same wavelength :-) The example from the exhibits… yes - more real, more personal, more human… reminding us of that human frailty we all share?

    George goodness, what a wonderful thing for you to say. Thank you.

  10. joylene says:

    What’s equally fascinating is when our life is full of sorrow, we see ourselves as unique. Yet, who is without pain or grief? And where would we be if there weren’t writers and poets to record what most of us feel but can’t express?

    Thanks for sharing, Joanna.

  11. Wilson Pon says:

    Life’s short, Joanna. That’s why we should appreciate every second and moment with our loved ones!

  12. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    joylene I guess the details of the experience are unique - the roots of the emotions are universal. We look for ways to tell, record and share that mixture of the personal and the universal to make a connection - like you say, sometimes that’s the perfect bridge when people are stuck in feelings they cannot find a means to express

    Wilson indeed. How skilled you are at getting to the heart of the matter!