Matilda Butler, ABC's of Writing, Post #4
Earlier today I was talking with Kendra about the new Writing in Five video that I'd just finished. After describing my insight from Natalie Goldberg's Old Friend from Far Away about the importance in memoir to reflect rather than recount, Kendra remembered something that her mother had told her.
Kendra's mother was a commercial artist and taught both her daughters many of the techniques that artists use. Some of these techniques were basic like use of rubber cement. Others seemed esoteric at the time. One of these techniques was the use of a mirror to more carefully examine a work than is possible by just looking at it.
As she explained this to Kendra, the mirror can make it difficult to put on eye shadow or position a hat or level a hair bow because the left and right are reversed. In compensating for the mirror, the brain is forced to examine the image in an active manner. In other words, the auto-pilot doesn't function. Her mother said that artists sometimes hold their work up to the mirror as a way to give it a fresh look so they can see what else is needed or if they have achieved their goal.
Similarly, it seems that the writer needs a way to move beyond the way we usually look at our lives. We know so many of the facts that we can often get stuck in recounting them. If we can find the equivalent of holding our work up to a mirror, then we'll realize that the reflection may be showing us something new.
I invite you to view my latest video.