Monday, February 23, 2015

A Different Perspective

My family loves Pete the Cat. Especially when he's wearing his cool, blue, magic sunglasses.

He's groovy, he's mellow, and best of all, he reminds us to LOOK AT THING IN A WHOLE NEW WAY.

It had been a while since I'd read this particular book to my daughter, (PETE THE CAT AND HIS MAGIC SUNGLASSES, by Kimberly and James Dean) but a few days ago, she pulled it out of the bookcase and handed it to me.

Boom. Couldn't have had better timing.

We read the book three times in a row because, three years old.

In short, the book is about what happens when Pete has a really bad day. His friend gives him a pair of cool magic sunglasses and - Presto! Suddenly Pete's bad day gets pretty fabulous. He sees the sun shining, hears the birds singing, and realizes life is still good. Are the sunglasses really magic? Or is it just that they help Pete look at the world differently?

As I read, I remembered my friend Cheri, who once told me that if I got stuck on a problem, all I had to do was brush my teeth while standing on the bathtub ledge.


Blue sunglasses, toothbrushing from on high, walk on the other side of the street, whatever it takes.

The reason this is so light-bulby to me this week is that I've been stuck. And sometimes, in spite of the obviousness of the solution, I forget to change perspective when this happens. Trying to move with agility and insight through plot points? Plodding character or scene arcs? Sometimes I feel like I'm boxing in a tub of molasses and the harder I punch, the stucker I get.

Often, all it takes is some time away from the work, or even just a good walk or run. I think really well when I am moving.

But when that's not enough, SEE THINGS IN A WHOLE NEW WAY. Maybe it's brushing my teeth on the bathtub ledge. Or with a cat on my head.

But it could also be taking a walk or a run when I am NOT plugged into my music and lost in my own head. Paying attention to the world around me to see who's doing what and why. Taking an hour at Starbucks without burying my head in a book or my phone. Watching faces and interactions. Listening - I mean, really listening - to the conversations around me.

Ok, yeah, invasive, but aren't all authors?

The point is, getting unstuck means getting out of your own head and out of your normal perspective.

How do you get out of ruts?

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