The blog of author Harper Alexander

Puffs of Fluff

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Sometimes the writing process is downright befuddling and hilarious. Forcing thousands of ‘THE PERFECT WORDS’ through the sieve of your mind in one sitting can leave you a little bit ‘picked clean’, so to speak, like a land scavenged for every ripe morsel until there’s nothing but scraps left (someone may have watched The Lion King last night and is shamelessly drawing on metaphors from its brilliance…).

Sometimes, this leaves you frustrated as you grasp for more words, coming up empty or lacking when you still have more to say. But other times, you brush the spectrum of the hysterical and tap into a much-needed moment of comic relief. Today, for example.

I was trying to write this elegant sentence about the beauty of these dandelion seeds being crushed beneath a regal stag’s hooves and billowing into the air around it in lovely snow-like clouds, and all I could come up with was ‘little puffs of fluff’, so I wrote that and then went ‘what, no no no, PUFFS OF FLUFF, come on’…. And then I laughed at myself because I literally scolded myself out loud like that.

That small moment of hilarity, allowing myself to stop for a second and laugh, cleared the frustration and helped me regroup. Keeping a sense of humor is a vital practice in many areas of life, and holds true on the writing front as well. Don’t take your work too seriously. This is a serious book I’m working on, but if I don’t pause to laugh and live and love, it will suck me dry.

We must always be consumed, just a bit (maybe more than a bit), by the stories we live to channel – but not to the point that they strip us of every fiber of spirit that we have, like so many puffs of fluff – er, I mean dandelion seeds – shredded to the wind.

It takes spirit to write; and our spirit needs nurturing. Breathing feeds the spirit. Stopping to smell the roses feeds the spirit. Laughing feeds the spirit.

So for goodness’ sake, feed it, just a little, and then you can get back to work.

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