by Dr. Robert A. Norman
“Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.” Jean Jacques Rousseau
Let us examine writing from a biological view. We are linked at times to external reality, often only by thin emotional umbilical cords weaved by uncertain societal standards of right and wrong. Perhaps the “rules of society” were taught at home, or at school by well-meaning teachers. But the laws of nature are true in and of themselves.
The writer presents a story from a different perspective than anyone ever before. At that point the writer is most fully human. No one can duplicate this unique perception of life. The writer needs to reach a certain maturity to inform his or her writing.
A perspective of life is examined not by duplicating what has been done and said before but by looking for something new or examining the “every day” with original detail. The ability of the writer to describe a scene or event in a different and revealing way is the key to the “Aha!” experience of the reader, which is what the reader hopes for while turning every page.
The reader finds a revelation in the writing, perhaps the feeling that has been experienced before, but the new description makes it come even more alive. The writer allows the reader to enter a world with a whole new set of insights and feelings and awakened senses. The reader may have been in that very same circumstance as the writer but the writer somehow peels back the layers to reveal rich truths and insights. With his newfound gifts, the next time the reader encounters a similar experience, he or she may now be able to filter it through increasingly observant eyes.
Picture yourself as a writer sitting beside a beautiful, serene lake in the mountains with clouds shifting overhead on a wonderful day. You are the only one viewing the scene, and you have no chance of being interrupted. Most of all, your mind is clear. Thoughts enter from many sources, rainbow reflections that flow smoothly into your head. The thoughts are like streams that nourish the enchanting water in front of you.
The lake requires a constant flow of water or the underbelly becomes still. Imagine this. Opportunistic plants arise to seize the nutrients of the decaying system in the lake as it turns into a swampy infested shadow.
Now look back at the lake with its crystal-clear water, free of destructive chemicals and impurities. You can hear the flow of water rushing in from the small tributaries that fall from the mountains, tumbling into ever moving currents on the wind rippled lake. The constantly moving body of water draws you into a sense of peacefulness that is unmatched by any illusion of society.
You feel the water rush through you, purify your mind, and cleanse your soul. Thoughts enter again slowly, a jubilant celebration, luxurious cool rushes of pure human feelings and desires. The mysteries of nature, the bliss of full understanding of the moment captures your imagination. You are sitting peacefully, not thinking about anything else, just being in the moment.
You are always inextricably linked to the laws of nature, although, at these moments, they confront you more directly. You see nature face-to-face.
The reader’s mind must be fertilized by the writer and the feedback helps the writer keep going. The hungry mind of the reader must be fertilized by the writer.
The novel, the short story, the essay, and the poem all learn from the lake. New and creative sources must flow into these seas of the soul and the high waters of the imagination.
Dr. Norman is an advanced master naturalist graduate of the FMNP program from UF and a board-certified dermatologist based in Tampa and Riverview. He can be reached at 813-880-7546.
61 books (series editor of 13) ● 300+ articles ● 25 videos and films
● 16 photo calendars and exhibits ● 4 music CDs
Tampa Bay Medical Hero Award (2008)
● Hadassah Humanitarian Award (2012)
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