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  • Writer's picturePearl Lorentzen

Floods and droughts

The shore birds in this photo would normally not be on the edge of a slough. However, with all of the rain these (I believe they are greater or lesser yellowlegs) were standing on a flooded road next to one. The flooded road resembled a beach. While the flood made it hard to drive, it brought about an unexpected bird sighting.

Greater or lesser yellowlegs in an unexpected place. Photo Pearl Lorentzen.

Physical, emotional, and spiritual droughts and floods bring unexpected experiences. These experiences can be excellent fodder for writing and other creative pursuits. Sometimes an experience will provide a unique perspective on a scene. Others it will give the writer an emotional understanding, which they can use in the story.

There are times in both droughts and floods, where the emotions, physical demands, and spiritual exhaustion make it almost impossible to write. However, a note jotted down in a journal may turn into something later. Or an experience could come to mind later and trigger a story. There are also times that in the midst of the craziness of surviving, sitting down and writing is the best therapy.

I wrote a poem on Monday in response to a photograph. Within the poem, I wrote a conversation I had back in 2006. The part I remember is two three-word sentences.

It was my first time being out of North America and first time living on my own not in a dorm setting. Everything about it was strange, but at the same time there were so many familiar things.

I don't remember the details surrounding the conversation.

I remember which country I was in, but not which city. The speaker was a woman, but I don't think I would recognize her. I think we were in a restaurant. I think I remember it word for word, but am likely mistaken. Either way, the essence of the conversation is something I have told numerous times when I tell stories about my travels.

I don't remember if the time was an emotional or spiritual drought or flood. I remember learning a lot. One thing the experience had in common with droughts and floods is it was a totally different environment than I was used to.

As a writer don't be afraid of challenges. These are both what make you stronger and often the substance of your writing.

At the same time, don't be afraid of good times. Enjoyable experiences, times of solitude, and healthy relationship not only keep you sane, they also provide inspiration.

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