Monday, December 9, 2013

Celebrate This - Jenny O'Connell

Hmmm... celebrations. Seems like a logical blog topic given the season, and I am definitely one to love a good celebration. But this month I have a hard time thinking about what to write about. The every day celebrations (I got a parking space! There's no line at the post office!), the special occasion celebration (my book sold! My best friend is in town!), and the annual celebrations that we know will always arrive (Birthday! Christmas!).

Well, the other day I was cleaning out a drawer and I found a little notebook I started keeping when my kids were little. It wasn't a journal, I'm a horrible journaler, but rather just sentences labeled 1, 2 and 3, along with a date. So, back in October of 2000 I apparently started writing down three things I was grateful for every day. And as I read them they jogged my memory of amazing things that made me happy - soft flannel sheets, a really good tuna sandwich, how my infant son loved to put my nose in his toothless mouth, that my parents' lost cat found her way home, ant spray, egg nog, a burst of creativity, watching the Sound of Music.

All of things that made me grateful were small, free, and yet worth celebrating just because without them there would be fewer smiles in my life (building a fort out of sofa cushions, chocolate chip cookie dough).

As I think about those little things I wanted to celebrate, even if just by being grateful for them in a journal, I think about characters and what makes them come to life. I truly believe it's the little things about our characters - how they curl up in bed, the way they sneak a fingertip into a bowl of cake batter - that bring them to life. Finding my journal was a reminder to look for the things my characters celebrate, no matter how small, and let the reader see those celebrations. It gives them a dimension and texture with a simple action, a fleeting thought and can speak louder and clearer than all the grand gestures and dialog put together.

And when I realized that I celebrated - with a nice glass of egg nog.

5 comments:

  1. So true! The little things make our characters come to life...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think much of the world underestimates the power of a really good tuna fish sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so true and such a good realization. Those little celebrations and moments of joy give characters real dimension and they make real life worth living!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great idea to keep a log of the little things that make us happy! Such a good reminder of what's important and it's so easy to lose sight of those special moments. Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete