Finding Story Anew

My last two blog posts have been an examination of my current mind-body consciousness, specifically my meditation practice and eating habits. I share Deepak Chopra’s belief that a change in one’s consciousness or awareness affects a change in one’s physiology at the cellular level.

I don’t remember when I did not believe in the mind-body connection but I know that reading Chopra’s Quantum Healing helped me consider what quantum healing may mean for me. I first read the book in the early 1990s and again just recently.

Old Woman Tree; KMHuberImage; Tallahassee Park in Winter

Of course, my current level of awareness is quite different these twenty years later. Then, I was completely attached to outcome—clinging the Buddhists call it—meaning my attention was always focused on the end result. Mostly, I was on a pendulum, swinging back to the past and then to the future without a thought to the moment. No wonder I never felt free.

Becoming aware that the moment is where freedom resides broke me open to Chopra’s “field of infinite possibilities” both physically and spiritually. Now, every facet of my life is fluid as I focus on what is and not what might be, which takes a lot more energy but in every moment, there is more energy.

Nowhere is this more evident than in my writing. When I began blogging, my writing focus was entirely outcome based: I set myself a certain number of words per day, I joined various writing challenges, and I troubled my readers with my angst over whether to plot out a novel scene by scene or just write it out by the seat of my pants. In nine months, I produced 220,000+ words in what I have come to regard as my daily writing practice. It is as valuable as my daily meditation practice, and  I don’t regret a word.

I was so attached to the outcome of writing– was it a novel, was it a memoir, was it a compilation of essays–that I abandoned story in search of format or genre. I could not free myself of what my words might become until I settled into the moment to write. One word after another, each sentence emerged from life rather than artifice. I re-discovered how I write.

In writing from the field of infinite possibilities, format/genre didn’t matter nor did structure, which is not to say that format and structure do not matter. They do and are critical to a successful outcome but like story, they have their moments for each writer to discover. For me, that meant having to know my story first, and I wrote in a way I have never written.

Having always appreciated a good story, I was well aware that I did not know the structure of story so I found out from those who did. I read, I watched movies, I discovered scene, and I wrote every day. I began to see snatches of story and I was reminded of John Irving’s response to the question of how he writes: “I start writing my autobiography and then I begin to lie.”

Pond in Winter; KMHuberImage; Tallahasse Park in Winter

I am writing an old woman story, and I am an old woman. If one can come of age at age 60, this woman does it. I cannot say that she is sympathetic or even likable—yet—but she exists in more faces and more places than is comfortable for any of us. Age or aging is still a thorny subject, and we have many clichés and euphemisms to avoid the word old.

But what can a woman make of a life at 60, if she has just awakened? That does sound rather autobiographical but I was lying before the end of the first paragraph–such is the way of story. For all I know, the old woman story—for lack of a better title–will remain part of my writing practice, as publication is not the outcome it once was for me. It’s too soon to tell.

For now, I go to the writing every day just to see what happens  with the old woman for I have not lived her life, although an old woman myself.

18 thoughts on “Finding Story Anew

  1. For me, the sentence that stands out is: “In writing from the field of infinite possibilities, format/genre didn’t matter nor did structure, which is not to say that format and structure do not matter. ”

    Like you, my approach to writing has changed over many years, and I’m not sure it is evolution!–just change. But change is part of those infinite possibilities…I think we tend to look for some sort of evolution (ie, an improved outcome), when just accepting change might be enough. The value of form and structure are that we can learn them as skills or tools and then choose whether or when to apply them.

    And hey, 220,000+ words is nothing to sneeze at! You have much to celebrate at 60.

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    1. Yes, Anne, as you say form and structure are necessary to know and only when we understand them do they become real tools. When I finally got that is when the writing changed. I laughed aloud in agreement in not using the term evolution when it comes to my writing approach. For me, that it has changed is more than enough–for now.

      Always appreciate your thoughtful comments, Anne.

      Karen

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    1. Me, too, regarding the field of infinite possibilities; it keeps every day new. Thanks for dropping by, Diana! This one got passed me so I apologize for being so tardy in my response.
      Karen

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  2. A lot can happen to a 60 YO. Imagine exploring all the infinite possibilities of the heart/mind, and where they lead in this relative thing we call reality.

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  3. You inspired me with this post. I am approaching my 50’s and I find myself more at peace then I have ever been. I now see the challenges of life as milestones instead of an annoyance. I hope this old woman speaks to you and you grow together for isn’t that what life is all about?

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    1. Hi, Susan!

      I can honestly say the best is yet to come regarding the peace in later life. The old woman seems to agree, in principle anyway. Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked the post.

      Karen

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  4. Ah, Karen. I am both ahead of you and behind you. I see myself in your searching for the moment and loved that line ” . . . the moment is where freedom resides . . . ” for that is the essential choice we face: To seize this moment, celebrate it and transform it with our own awareness, unique and fleeting. I still do chase the daily goals and word count and yet hope for publication. If I begin a day without writing, I feel unfinished, like a missing poem. This December, I turn 69. I embrace being that old woman, still working away on my trilogy, still here, still loving what you write.

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    1. Beth, I eagerly await your next poem, your next adventure; often, we stand shoulder to shoulder.

      Like you, my day begins with writing (preceded by meditation); it really is the core of every day. I wonder if I would have found that without ROW80, without a daily word count, without a routine that ultimately became how I live, which is now, how I write. I think not. Like you, I embrace this old woman to see what is next.

      Karen

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  5. This post was so special, you shared your soul in it and spun it through the words. I feel so privileged to have read it. it touched me deep inside, for I too found myself late in life. I have just published my first book at age 52, book 2 is being edited and 3 is being written. I have a lot of lost time to make up for and so do you, my friend. Age is just a number, when you have hope and inspiration in your heart, you can change the world. Let’s not waste time thinking what might have been; lets make it be. Take those dreams out of the closet of your heart and make them happen. Let us journey together into the land of our dreams. If you need help, I am here.

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    1. What a lovely comment, Tina. Like you, I do not see age as an outcome but what is, and as you say, what joy there is in every moment of every dream. Appreciate your generous offer.

      Karen

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    1. It is obvious how much I am enjoying being old; I, too, am looking forward to getting to know the old woman. You just may hear about her from time to time. Thank you, Sigrun!
      Karen

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    1. To me, old is all of what you describe but the connotations of old when applied to humans is a sticky wicket for some but only because old, in that regard, is an outcome. Thanks, Deb!
      Karen

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