A Writer’s Secret Weapon

I once thought that all trilliums were white with pink stripes. After all, those were the only ones I’d ever seen. It wasn’t until I was thirty that I discovered that there were also red trilliums growing in the forests of Nova Scotia. Who knew?

Twenty years ago a friend and I dug some out, and brought them home. Each year they come up, and they always remind me, not only of my friend, but the fact that there are so many things in the world I have yet to discover.

I love the fact that, for each of us, the world is filled with many new, and undiscovered places and things. How can we possibly know everything that is out there for us to know? The earth is huge and we are one, important only to our own little corner, but so small in the grand scheme of things.

After a time our eyes become adjusted to life around us, sights sometimes become stale, recognizable, and often predictable. You know– the same old, same old. I’ve never been away from home for extended periods. A week is actually the longest. But each time I’ve walked into my house, after being away, it felt as though I were seeing it with fresh eyes. Isn’t that the same kitchen counter I left behind? And aren’t those the very same curtains? Yes, but somehow they look and feel different. The world inside my house looks brighter than it did when I left, and yet, nothing has really changed only my perception.

Even though that “new to me” feeling will last only until my brain becomes adjusted to my surroundings, it is an almost magical feeling for that first little while. We get the same feeling when we rearrange a room or add a new coat of paint.

One of the jobs a writer has is to take something familiar and make it feel fresh, open the reader’s eyes up to that seeing-it-for-the-first-time feeling. Perhaps it is something new and undiscovered to them, although you can bet, that for every reader out there, that new and undiscovered story is something they are familiar with.

Every writer has their own secret weapon-— no one else sees the world the way we do. No one else can bring life to that blank page– the thoughts, memories, or impressions that make up who we are—the way we, as unique, individuals can.

My friend knew about red trilliums and I didn’t. Although they are not as abundant as the white, they are out there if one knows where to look. For me, they were something new and wonderful. Even now twenty years later, when they open up each spring, I feel as though I’m looking at them for the very first time. It is a wonderful feeling. The trilliums are not just flowers for me, they are time and place and friendship all wrapped up in one.

Do you have any newly discovered things or places that you’d like to share?

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16 Comments

  1. I love trilliums and have rarely seen a red one, but now even when the white ones bloom (here they are all white, no stripes) I’ll remember this post. Great life lesson, Laura!

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    • There are some places in the province where they seem to be abundant. I once saw many plants coming down, what we call the south mountain , although to may it would only be a hill. Wish I’d have had a camera then. They were lovely!

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  2. This is a first for me… I’ve only seen white ones. How beautiful! The mountains around here give me that “new every morning” feeling. Each time they come into view I’m in awe, loving the ever-changing shades of green, blue and purple, glimpsed through clouds and dappled light, the receding pattern of spring snow; the majestic yet accessible reminders of God’s creation. They’re always there, but draw my eyes with fresh appreciation. Hmm… I’m sensing a new blog post emerging. Thanks for the inspiration, Laura!

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    • It’s such a deep red. I know the first time I saw them I was totally taken up with their beauty. Your view sounds inspiring.We are so blessed to be surrounded by beauty. 🙂

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  3. I’m not familiar with white or red trilliums. They are lovely! How they gave substance and added beauty to your post!

    In the mornings when the weather permits, I walk outside, sit on a bench, and enjoy the early morning sunshine, the breeze, the mockingbird’s song, and the chatters of lots of other birds. I study all the flowers, the trees, small and great, and watch the clouds move in the sky. This is precious time to me, and it never gets old. Yes, it’s the same scenery everyday, yet, it seems exciting and new every morning to me.

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    • It sounds like a precious time, Carol Ann. I was seeing it all in my mind’s eyes as I read your comment. What I love, this time of the year, is the colours of gray and blue mixed where trees meet the sky, and the leaves have not yet emerged. But then, every season has beauty all of its own.

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  4. I didn’t know about red trilliums either, Laura…growing up in Ontario, white trilliums were the provincial flower, and it was forbidden to pick those in provincial parks or conservation areas…

    I’ve seen the white ones here in St. Martins on the Fundy Trail…gorgeous things!

    Wendy

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    • If you get in the right place Wendy, I’m sure New Brunswick has them as well. As I said, I’d never even heard of red trilliums, and the place they were growing wan’t that far from where I live. Who knows what wonders are hiding close to home!

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  5. Shari Green took a ferry trip, wrote about it on her blog, titled More Than a Picture. It’s a trip I’ve taken a dozen times, but her descriptions and sense of place were so unique and vivid. I felt as if I were there with her. It made me sad that I’d never written down my own experiences. But though it’s been years, I was back there again in an instant.

    Here’s the link: http://sharigreen.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/more-than-a-picture/

    Wonderful post, Laura.

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    • Love it when a writer can make us feel as though we are seeing something for the first time. Thanks for sharing the link Joylene!

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  6. Ericka

     /  May 4, 2011

    Wow…your trilliams are blooming before mine. I too love them. We have quite a few scattered around on our property…they seeem to like it near the brook and have bigger flowers. No white ones but have seen them. Funny how the red are more dominate here and the white in your neck of the woods! I know you are getting more into gardening now Laura and love nature as I do. A good book for wildflowers that I like is called “Atlantic Wildflowers” by Diane Griffin, Wayne Barrett & Anne Mackay (photographers). There are only 3 species in Atlantic Canada, the white one is called a Painted Trillium. You can eat them before they unfold as greens but avoid the roots. I hope people will not pick them as a flower because the plant no doubt will die because the leaves are what feed back the enregy to the roots for next spring’s growth. Glad you are getting to enjoy them now !

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    • It’s hard to believe that mine are in bloom before yours, Ericka. We always assume that everything in Dalhousie is far behind the rest of the province. Guess we just shot that theory down. Didn’t know you could eat them, although I do know that some flowers are edible. Interesting.. Thanks for dropping in Ericka. It’s always nice to have you come visit. 🙂

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  7. Who was the friend?? You must have known I’d ask!

    I used to get that weird feeling of everything being familiar yet different whenever I came to E Dalhousie to visit. I don’t really get the feeling anymore — I’ve been back and forth so many times now, I guess.

    I know what you mean about making something you’ve written seem fresh and new. I like the challenge of taking an every day subject (like Spiders!) and making it sound interesting. 🙂

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    • Yes, I should have guessed YOU’D ask. LOL! The friend was Beulah, of course!

      Challenges are always fun, and you’re right, the ability to take an everyday subject, such as spiders, and give it your own unique twist is something all writers need to perfect. It’s why people want to read what we’ve written. 🙂

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  8. I love Spring. The twigs on the maple tree outside my window started turning red a few weeks ago, and every day they look a little bit different. Today the tiny leaves are more green than red. The gradual changes occurring in nature emphasize how little changes in our lives can be the beginning of something bigger and, hopefully, better.

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    • Agreed, Carol. Spring is a wonderful time of the year. I also enjoy fall. It’s fun to watch the seasons unfolds, graciously and quietly. There’s never any hoopla. It just happens.

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