Sunday, January 21, 2007

in its own right

"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value."

Claude Monet

If you're ever in doubt, ask your friends.

I have read much information about writing: the process, techniques, advice, opinions, marketing, publishing ... so much that it tends to blur in my brain. Sometimes, though, something I read stands out.

The other day I read a writer's blog that discussed certain niches that each fellow blogger used to pull in readers, consciously or not. It picked up a thread of something else I read earlier of the opinion that writers should pick one niche and stay with that. I wasn't so sure. I think it depends on the writer. There are those who can 'float' into different territories and those who are best staying with familiar territory, or possibly, they stay with familiar territory by choice only.

It made me wonder, though, if my blogs had a certain hook that pulls readers. My blog is the one full of daily rambles and is markedly eclectic. I pondered for two or three days about what my hook was and if I had one. I decided I wasn't sure. So ... I asked ... in my blog. I simply wanted to know what my hook was or if anyone else could find what I couldn't.

I haven't begun to reply to the responses because I was rather overwhelmed.

Doubt is a constant companion to writers, and artists in general. I found a definite cure for it Friday by asking friends/readers directly what they thought. I won't embarass myself by repeating answers but apparently, I do have a hook, or maybe two or three.

This is something not only artist-types should keep in mind as we trudge through the world sometimes wondering why we are, but that all of us should. We can feel we don't make a difference, that we're boring or ineffective or unimportant in the grand scheme of things. However, we are quite wrong. There is not one of us that doesn't have an affect on those around us. There are people who care even when we don't realize.

As January rolls through and winter (in this part of the world, anyway) takes a firmer grip with fewer hours of sunlight and longer cold spells, it is easy for us to see the blah of things. If you need an uplift, ask your friends. Ask them directly, either in person or in a blog or an email or however you prefer to communicate. If you are lacking in companionship, join a group and get involved. Most people want to help others. Most are kind souls. It's not really so hard to figure that out when we throw ourselves into the midst of things.

We have snow today; our first snowfall of the season. While I look out the window at the gray, I focus on the gentle gracefulness of water frozen into beautiful white crystals floating down to coat the still-green grass (and my already growing daffodils). It marks the upcoming new beginning when nature will come out of its slumber and revive us with a vigor we only feel in early spring and with rainbows of flowers and shrubs and blooming trees. Now that winter has truly begun, I can see its end and its end results.

Nature's hook is its being; its overwhelming ability to affect all of us without trying by simply doing what it does. We are all part of that.

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