In a recent e-mail a friend asks: “Every story you create makes it seem like you are experiencing life on a different plane, feeling and observing the small details that make everyday life more than ordinary. Is this how you experience life, or is it merely reflection and embellishment for the sake of the story? I’m curious how your mind is wired.”
I’m not certain that I experience life on a different plane, but I do write about it as I experience it. Obviously, recording your thoughts forces you to organize them in a coherent fashion, and I do try to polish the prose up a bit so it reads better; but the underlying thoughts are there just the same.
Perhaps a better way of putting it—sometimes I can center myself in the moment, taking in the picture with all its details before my eyes, running with it for as long as it lasts; and then later at some point I can recall how it felt as I write it down. If I’ve done a good job with the writing, and if I’m lucky, the reader will experience those same feelings that I had at the time the event took place.
It’s hard to live in the moment, to create a sense of awareness, but it’s at such times that I feel most alive.
Perhaps that’s one reason why I find the natural world so attractive. Out in the woods you can center your attention on the sights and sounds you encounter. You get pulled into the experience as it is occurring; you live along with it. At such times you don’t think about the bills that are due or problems at work or issues with relationships—you just exist in the continuous present moment. It cleanses your soul somehow—at least, it does mine.
See the final paragraph of my piece Craving Reality.