Barbara O'Connor (barboconnor) wrote,
Barbara O'Connor

Thoughts become books

I fell victim to the latest Oprah media hype by listening to that ridiculous fascinating book, The Secret. For the first thirty minutes, the author gushes in an excited British-accented whisper (with New Age Ravi Shankar-ish music in the background) about how you can have anything you want - the money of The Donald, the lips of Angelina Jolie, you name it - if you know THE SECRET. Okay, spoiler here. If you don't want to know what THE SECRET is, stop reading right here.

The secret, author whispers, is this: Thoughts become things.


Sorry. I just don't get it. I'm an aging hippie. I've done that cosmic-thinking-meditating-peace-love-and-rock-and-roll thing before. I was married to a man who had to consult the I Ching before he would commit to marriage. (Note: We are no longer married.)

But in one important way, I agree with THE SECRET - when it comes to writing. For me, a book starts as a teeny weeny little seed. And then I have to wait and wait and think and think and let that seed grow and swirl and simmer - before I am ready to sit down and write. (lsparkreader gave a great talk about this at last year's New England SCBWI conference.)

This is probably one of the most important stages of writing for me - the thinking part - particularly with regard to characters. I HATE doing character exercises - like listing what's in their backpacks or what their favorite color is. I just hate that. I never ever do that. BUT - I have to think about my characters so long that I know them thru and thru.

Sometimes this can be frustrating. I feel like I should be sitting down and starting the dern story - but I'm just not mentally ready. I was lamenting this stuff to my always-says-the-right-thing friend, Brian Lies, and he told me about an art school friend of his who refers to the stages of artistic creation as: The Sponge, The Egg, The Lightbulb, and The Paintbrush (that would be, collection, incubation, inspiration and execution). He assured me I should relax and recognize the importance of whatever stage I'm in. (I'm halfway between The Sponge and The Egg - I guess that would be The Spegg.)

So, what's my point here? Thoughts may not become Angelina Jolie lips for me - but they usually become books.

Thoughts Become Books.

Think about it.

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