Saturday, September 27, 2014

Carpe Minutam!

 If you're reading this, you're probably curious over my butchering of a Latin idiom. I won't leave you in suspense.

(Carpe minutam = seize the minute)

Anybody can seize a day--that's easy enough to get your head around. It's the moment-by-moment opportunity grabbing that I personally seem to have more problem with.

I tend to tell people I don't get writer's block. When I say this, I don't mean that I don't regularly get stuck in the middle of some scene or chapter and want to bang my head against my desk until something brilliant finally shakes loose. It happens. Mental blocks get delivered to the doorstep of my consciousness for all kinds of different reasons. My mistake, when I first started writing, was that I'd sign for the package and bring it inside--let the thing hang around like some horrifically useless paperweight. I was waiting for it to either go away or magically turn into something helpful.

Then, someone in my literary world told me I didn't have to put up with it. (Whoever you are, thank you.) They suggested I get a change of scenery, put on some music, paint, or just take a risk on some blatant opportunity to get out and DO something out of the ordinary. In effect, they told me I could (and should) make an effort to write 'return to sender' on those packages full of blocks and kick them off my porch.

My 4-year-old daughter gave me a glaring chance to do this recently, and I nearly missed it. I'd had a rough few days and couldn't see much beyond the writing progress I WASN'T making. When she came running up to me early one morning yelling "Balloon! Balloon!", I didn't think much of it. (Seriously, the child thinks a latex bag full of room air is the best toy ever.) But she was insistent on dragging me outside to see what she was talking about, so I went. I stepped out in time to hear the roar of propane fire as a hot air balloon made a very low pass directly over our back yard.  

And the long-dormant, gleeful child inside of me squealed, "BALLOON!"

We watched it together in awe for a handful of minutes as it drifted on out into the countryside. Just as I was ready to go back in and get on with my day, my daughter tugged on my shirt and very seriously asked, "Can we chase it?"

And I thought...well, why not?!

So we got in the car and spent the next half hour singing preschool songs while chasing down a hot air balloon. I got lost down back roads I didn't know existed. I readied my phone to call 911 when the balloon's basket came perilously close to clipping power lines. We got in and out of the car half a dozen times just to wave. And finally we sat on the hood of the car and watched as they landed safely, deflated the balloon, and rolled it up into a surprisingly small bundle.

We carped the heck out of that minutam.

And I have to say, my writing (and general outlook) were a lot better off for it. :)

~Angela N. Blount!/Perilous1


miki said...

yes sometimes we just have to enjoy the moment to let us see things with children'eyes

Rita Bay said...

Don't worry about butchering Latin. I butchered it daily for four years in high school, despite Sr. Marian Alberta's best efforts.
LOVE the balloon story, esp since it gave you quality time with your daughter. Far more important than writing.

bn100 said...

Fun story

Marilyn Baxter said...

You had a double benefit- the change of scenery and time with your daughter. Sounds like you had a great adventure.

Meda White said...

Loved your story. I always get more ideas when I get out of my rut and do something like go for a drive in the country. Chasing a hot air balloon sounds like fun times. :) Best wishes.

Tina B said...

What a great story!
I think everyone can benefit from your theory. I know that I can. :)
Thank you for sharing.

Charlotte said...

I love the idea of living in the moment. I find myself planning for the day or tomorrow or next week that I totally forget to experience the moment at hand. I look back with regrets that I had the opportunity and let it slip past. There are however; those rare and and beautiful moments when a scent, or a rainbow, or just the beauties of nature descend upon me when I least expect them and I become transformed by their power. I am truly grateful for those times I love your story. The best to you always and thank you for the reminder.

Angela N. Blount (RedPeril) said...

Thanks for stopping by, Miki! :)
I agree. As much as you can hear that advice and know it's a good idea, it can be surprisingly hard to let go of the jaded 'adult' mindset. But it can be oh so rewarding to move it from knowledge into practice. ^_^

Angela N. Blount (RedPeril) said...

Rita, I'm glad I'm not alone. LOL! ^_^
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I often feel like my writing ends up being in competition with my kids for my less-than-dividable attention. I'll never regret picking them over it, though. ^_^

Angela N. Blount (RedPeril) said...

Thanks, bn100! :D

Angela N. Blount (RedPeril) said...

Hey, Marilyn! :)

The fun thing is, we had our mini-adventure and got back before anyone else in the house was awake or even knew to miss us! :) It was like an impromptu girl's hour.

Angela N. Blount (RedPeril) said...

Aww, thank you, Meda. ^_^
Glad to hear you're already making that carpe minutam happen in your writing life!

Angela N. Blount (RedPeril) said...

Thanks, Tina! :D
I'm so glad you enjoyed it. ^_^ I wish you great success in the practical application.

Angela N. Blount (RedPeril) said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Charlotte! :) Needless to say, I know exactly what you mean. There's nothing quite like letting yourself be wonderstruck.

Cari Hislop said...

Excellent advice! One of these days when I have the nerve and the money (both at the same time) I'd love to go up in an air balloon for an hour or two. They always look so magical floating in the sky.

Your four year old sounds like a treasure! What a brilliant kid! I don't think it would have occurred to me at four that we could follow a balloon (though if I'd ever seen a balloon that young - I don't think I did - I probably would have probably just jumped on my trike and taken off without asking my mother.

Shadow said...

Awe! That sounds like so much fun! Nothing like finding your inner child! I loved your post! Glad your unblocked now! What a great adventure you and your daughter had! I bet there was lots of giggles! :) Thanks for sharing!

Aidee Ladnier said...

One of my best memories as a child was chasing after a balloon that landed near my house. I got my first balloon ride that day! I truly believe adventures are everywhere. And sometimes they are just the thing to jog us out of whatever mindset we're stuck in, to replenish your well. Thanks for this great post!