Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Oceans We've Never Seen

A native American shaman stands on the shore of an ocean some five hundred years ago. All his life he's lived in the high desert and never seen anything like this. He might have heard about big bodies of water but until this moment when he stands there seeing the ocean, it was not something he could have comprehended.

That was an image I had when I was doing a visualization exercise and it made me think and wonder about the oceans we've never seen—and can't comprehend unless and until we do.

As a writer, I'm used to thinking I can imagine anything. But my imagination tends to rely on photos. When I've relied solely on descriptions and then seen a place or object I've read about, so often it turns out to be very different. Even so, those descriptions expand my horizons.

I value expanded horizons, you see. I value discovering the oceans I've never seen and having my comprehension of what's possible expand. I hope that to some degree at least, it's something I do for readers and when I teach my online writing classes—bringing them oceans they've never seen before. It's why I try to have the unexpected in my books and ask the questions no one else asks in my class lessons.

I look forward always to discovering new oceans I've never seen. How about you?