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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