“Learn to listen, not with the intent to reply but with the intent to understand.”
This quote from Pears Before Swine was exactly what I needed the particular moment the article arrived. Typically my phone is set on silence while I work. I believe Providence had a better idea today.
I’d been working on a series that stirred deep, strong emotions, tripping over scenarios from decades before when my phone grabbed my attention. Needing a break, I immediately read the linked article for a breath of fresh air. The post brought another obscure, but important lesson to mind:
“Did you listen to what I told you?” Grandmother asked me. Truth is, I hadn’t. I was about five years old at the time. All I could think of was the sour balls. All I could see was the beautiful candy dish; the icon of a visit to Grandma’s house. But from that moment on, when Grandmother spoke, you can believe I listened. I listened to her voice, studied her face and her body language, took in the tone of the room and I noted to her every word. The candy was my motivation.
In today’s scenario I’d entirely left the point of what I’d been writing. I’d lost touch with my character and stopped listening. I’d been describing every unimportant detail of the scene, floundering aimlessly as verbosity took over. I’d left my motivation in the dust somewhere.
Shaking it off, settling in, I envision my cover art, my new candy dish. I listen carefully, and soon the right words flow again.