Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clarity - The Crystal Ball of Life

Clarity. What is it, really? Is it like a crystal ball garnering the ability to see things clearly? An "aha!" moment? Being sober? And how does it show up in life and in your writing?

In life, we have treasured moments where the clouds part and things seem to magically make more sense. Maybe it's a question we've been mulling over or perhaps seeing someone we love in a new light, without our preconceptions and "truths" mixed in. Whatever it is, it is a freeing feeling - like you've taken a pair of sunglasses off and can see the true, bright colors in everything and everyone around you; like you're diving into a cool, refreshing pool on a hot, summer day.

When you're writing, do you seek clarity? Do your characters understand what's going on around them and why? Or is there a murkiness which dulls the senses and leaves the characters and readers wondering what's really up, or worse, not caring? Whether you're writing a true mystery or not, there should always be questions, doubts, a sense of anticipation for the reader. Leaving the reader on edge is a positive thing. But, as a writer, do you have the clarity to see the "big picture" and create the world you imagine? Are you able to bring the reader into the mystery so they wonder what will happen next or what a certain character's motivations are? Do you have the clarity to keep your readers turning the pages?

When you write a story, you are the master of that particular world. The more you know about your characters and plot, the more brilliantly you can bring that world to life. And, in life? The more clarity you have regarding your own motivations, the more adeptly you will be in navigating a happy, healthy life. Are you seeing those you love with your shades on, or do you allow their bold, beautiful colors to fully shine through?

For me personally, I realize I've been seeing things through rose-colored glasses; wanting life to be a way other than it is; wanting people in my life to act differently than they do. But life is not one of my stories. Those in my life are not characters in my books. They are masters of their own worlds. I can not force them to act in ways I wish they would, and that is actually the good news. It's how the world operates. It's the way things are. I am the master of how I think and act, not of how others do.

The glasses are slowly coming off, and I'm starting to see the world around me in a clearer, more honest light. Instead of the fear and anxiety I thought I'd find, I feel freer and lighter and more sure of myself. Clarity breeds honesty which breeds a truer, deeper sense of self and reality. On many levels, I'm learning this for the first time and it is a beautiful lesson, indeed.

What are your thoughts on clarity? Have you ever had an "aha!" moment that changed your life? What about in your writing? How does clearly seeing the big picture effect your stories?

12 comments:

Julie said...

What a wonderful post! Seeing what is, is a very powerful thing. I'm guilty of trying to make the world and people in it to fit my concept of what should be. And that just left me dissatisfied and exhausted. Better to see what is and then be allowed to be surprised.

Clarity, I've been finding more and more as I work to disengage myself from comparing my journey to others' journeys. By walking only on my path, I get to see so much more that I've missed by constantly looking at other people's paths... and tripping over what is in front of me in mine. :)

Laura Eno said...

I love those aha! moments in my writing, understanding where the story's going or listening to a character that's been tugging my sleeve to get my attention.

In real life those moments can be painful, but the aftermath is freeing. I'm glad you're finding your path. :)

Kristi Faith said...

Oooh you are so good at these thought provokers! :) I have to admit that for the first thirty pages or so, my novel's first draft is murky. It's kind of like I'm meeting a new friend. After it's all down in the first draft though, I generally do have to go back because of a clarifying moment with a character or setting.

Karen Walker said...

I spent most of my life bending myself out of shape trying to be what I thought others wanted and also trying to make others be what I wanted. Accepting what is is hard, but you're right. It is very freeing. Because it's the truth. We can't change what is. We can only change how we react/respond to it.
Karen

Debra L. Schubert said...

Julie, Thank you! You're SO right. Trying to make others do what you think they should is exhausting, not to mention totally unsatisfying. We humans are an odd bunch.

"By walking only on my path, I get to see so much more that I've missed by constantly looking at other people's paths... and tripping over what is in front of me in mine." Love it!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laura, I know, those characters tugging at our sleeves can be so annoying! Manners much? And, thank you. I'm also glad the fog is starting to clear for me.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kristi, I do like to provoke thoughts. ;-)

First drafts are a trip. You never know what or who is hiding around the corner/lurking on the next page. Enjoy getting to know your new friend!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Karen, "We can't change what is. We can only change how we react/respond to it."

So true. Knowing that and practicing it in life are two different things, though. I'm working on it!

Robin said...

I don't know if you started following Lucy March's column per my suggestion or not. However, I was reading one of her blogs a few days ago and she said this: "The definition of adulthood is no longer caring what other people think." That was a huge moment of clarity for me. I realized that I could trace a lot of my big mess-ups to that very thing. I allowed other people's feelings or opinions to count more than my own. Wow. That is eye opening. You do that long enough and you stop being you. And that is, indeed, what happened. She just told me how I got there. Knowing how you got there makes it a lot easier not to travel that same path again. I think that we all have moments of clarity. I would like more of them spaced closer together:-) Great post.

Laurie Lazar said...

I am having a moment of clarity reading this post and all the insightful comments that have been inspired by it! Robin, thank you for sharing the quote:"The definition of adulthood is no longer caring what other people think." Wow, I'm clearly still a child so much of the time. I wonder why its so much more 'natural for me to listen to external voices than my internal ones. Oh hold on a minute, I think I hear my heart calling...

Debra L. Schubert said...

Robin, Not caring what others think is great advice, though hard to follow at times. Love your comment - thanks so much for clarifying things for me. Sometimes it's hard to fully understand what's staring back at us in the mirror.

Debra L. Schubert said...

LB, I love your comments - they always inspire. I can't wait to be hanging out on the beach w/you in Mexico!!!

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