On Birds and Thoughts

afterglow-avian-backlit-556663Sometimes, being alone with my thoughts is pure heaven. I string out complicated story lines in my head, recalling weird names or characters so that I can…well, invent weird and interesting characters. I laugh out loud at crazy shenanigans I imagine but I can also get myself all worked up (which is code in the Hall House for crying) over a sad scene that plays out in my mind. Hours go by with just my constructive thoughts and it’s a fine thing.

But other times, being alone with my thoughts is hellish. I obsess over an imagined or real slight, building up a resentment. Or I let worry build into a whole giant thing over what may or may not even happen! Those negative thoughts play in a loop and I literally make myself miserable, possibly to the point of getting myself “all worked up.” And here’s the frustrating thing: I probably indulge in the unhealthy thoughts more than the creative, joyful ones.

And here’s another thing: I think many of us–maybe most of us–struggle with those kinds of thoughts. It’s part of the human condition. But I heard a quote the other day –and you know how I love my quotes– that smacked me upside the head.

“You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”¬† ¬†

~ Martin Luther

Hearing those words, I began to imagine a bird building a nest in my hair. But I wouldn’t just sit there, would I? Nope, I’d shoo the birds away, waving my arms, maybe even shouting. And if that didn’t work, I’d move somewhere, far away from the birds.

But when I allow destructive thoughts to build a nest in my mind, what do I do? Why, I just hang out there, watching intently, maybe even handing over more thoughts with which to build a bigger and stronger nest. Instead of actively doing something to shoo the thoughts away!

It was an eye-opening moment for me, y’all, thinking about those birds. And I’ve had a few times, alone with my thoughts these past days, where I’ve had to shoo the birds away. So thank you, Martin Luther (who has lots more fine quotes). And may you, friends, find a way to shoo those negative thoughts out of your mind and build instead a joyful nest that keeps you safe and happy.

And P.S. Almost forgot! Juniorette Hall said I always write a post that’s a plug for my WOW! posts. And I do have a post up over at the Muffin–“The Beauty of a Blog”–but it has nothing to do with birds or thoughts or Martin Luther, so there. Um… it might be helpful to you if you’re an author, so I hope you’ll take a look. (And yes, I know that’s a plug but Juniorette Hall is not the boss of me.)

Photo by luizclas from Pexels

 

 

Tuesday Tip: A Pinterest Primer

ImageI’m just going to start by saying I didn’t think I was the Pinterest type. You know–the artsy-craftsy, look-what-I-can-do-with-duct-tape-and-shiitake-mushrooms type.

To be honest, I wouldn’t know a shiitake from a Shia Labeouf. But I will, on occasion, do something craftsy. Not fancy craftsy, mind you. I like my crafts the way I like cooking: if it takes more than fifteen minutes, I’m probably going to pass.

But Pinterest is not just about crafts and recipes. I mean, there’s an awful lot of crafts and recipes there, but you’ll find other stuff that may inspire you in other ways. And for a writer, inspiration can be a very good thing.

So here’s a very simple primer for Pinterest from those keen folks at Mashable: Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network.

And notice that Pinterest is a social network. It can’t hurt to expand your social networks, if you’re a writer. That’s why I waded into Pinterest.

(It can hurt if you stay in those artsy-craftsy-social waters so long that you forget to write. I’m just sayin’.)

Inspiration for the Picture Book Writer

It’s nearly the end of the month and I’m afraid that I still do not have my picture book manuscript completed for the 12 x 12 in ’12 competition.

But I’d marked Mem Fox’s delightful website and most particularly, her list of 20 Do’s and Don’ts of picture book writing. That list was like a condensed class in picture book writing, and very, very helpful.

But if I’m being really honest, it was stumbling upon Mem reading¬†The Goblin and The Empty Chair that truly inspired me. First, because she so obviously loves reading, and the joy in her voice is absolutely contagious. Secondly, because it’s such a lovely story, and I’m such a sucker for fairy tale stories. And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I was suddenly transported.

Just like that, I was a much younger mom, trooping through the library, watching my kidders pick out books, and bringing me their treasures. And there was a Mem Fox book in the bunch, and oh, how we loved her books.

Mem Fox’s books first came out way back when the Junior Halls were very Junior Halls. And the The Goblin and the Empty Chair was published in 2009. So there’s hope for me yet.