Thunk! 2 comments


tree full of bunches of coconuts

In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

[Excerpted from The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume 7: The Art of Calligraphy (excerpts)-Dharma Art-Visual Dharma (excerpts)-Selected Poems-Selected Writings]

What would it take to disrupt your current state of mind and wake you up to better, clearer, more insightful writing? If you were bombarded by “coconuts of wakefulness”, what would change about your writing? Okay, write that.

It’s easy to respond to this kind of quote in a facile way, but if you give yourself a moment to think about it, you might surprise yourself with what you discover.

Some of us may benefit from more coconuts than others…

Photo by Tony Hisgett, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


2 thoughts on “Thunk!

  • Mark Walker

    I don’t know if this is what you are getting at Shaula, but over the last few years the coconuts of wakefulness….or perhaps of insightfulness….have slowly chipped away at my reluctance to do much research. I always thought I could get away without doing any. But the slowly dawning realisation from the continual bumping on the head has helped me wake up to value of research when planning a new story. Perhaps it isn’t so important if writing a contemporary script that draws on your own life, but my latest story is set in China in the 1960s and there is no way I could have made it sounds authentic without doing the research.

    So that is something I have woken up to – the importance of research. Not only does it make you a better writer, but a more authentic one.

    Sometimes I just wish it didn’t take several coconuts to open my eyes!

  • Nicole M. Saad

    Honestly, lately I’ve realized that silence is the key for me… And that is hard because I don’t naturally gravitate towards it. Ever since I was a kid, silence, stillness, quiet are not something I grew up with. A background soundtrack was always present. And now, by force of habit, there’s always something on where I tend to write — low background noise, chatter, TV, music especially, but I’ve realized that (duh, of course) my thoughts are far more clear when it’s quiet. I can focus my mind and and allow the flow of ideas and access to them when my brain isn’t trying to focus on tuning out the distractions. One less layer to navigate.

    The other thing that’s also been effective when I’m stuck in the land of no coconuts is motion — particularly walks and cleaning, I.e. specific tasks — it tends to get easier to focus my mind on what I want it to resolve in my writing. I’m not sure that makes sense — walks and cleaning for me tend to be somewhat mindless, habit kicks in therefore when my body is engaged, my mind is free to create, solve problems, figure out how to write a particular scene. It takes specific intent. I find that my mind is far more awake when I gently push it towards a goal, tune out the distractions, and keep it focused there.
    I hope this makes sense.

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