“Said the Tree To the Writer…”

Last week as I was reviewing some of my earlier postings, one in particular caught my attention. There was a resonance between it and Sibyl’s recent descent into the arboreal realms. I suddenly realized how much writers/artists have in common with the trees. (It seems that a seed planted in the Murmuring Woods last January is ready for new growth.)

Image credits are posted at bottom. Also, all the small images are thumbnails. Just click for larger views.

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It’s important to have roots.

Roots provide nourishment and stability. Read, read, read–the works of those who came before you. Let them be your teachers and mentors. Reach out one hand to your literary/artistic ancestors and your other hand to your literary/artistic descendants. Root yourself in the past and the future.

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In today’s complex world, it pays to branch out.

Ideas, like children, come in all different sizes and shapes. Some grow up to be poems, while others become articles, short stories, song lyrics, memoirs, plays, essays, novels, etc. So don’t try to force yourself or your story ideas into one form only. Use the form that best suits the idea. (While remembering that ideas are flexible too and can evolve.) Versatility will keep your skills sharp and will encourage opportunities.

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If you really believe in something, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb.

Most creative ideas are not life-threatening, criminal, or likely to cause mass public humiliation. So if the idea is worth doing–then do it! Go out to the end of that limb and leap.

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Become a flying squirrel!

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Be flexible so you don’t break when a harsh wind blows.

If caught in a storm, keep your head down and your options open. Be tactful and patient. Be resilient, not resistant.

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Sometimes you have to shed your old bark in order to grow.

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Habits and routines may need to change. Be willing to learn something new. Allow curiosity to lead you. Rediscover the meaning of wonder.

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If you want to see your progress, keep a log.

Date your writings. Photograph your art and/or make a portfolio. Have a safe place to store your work. Periodically re-read or review it. In this way, a tender sapling becomes a sturdy tree.

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It’s okay to be a late bloomer.

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Age does not have to an obstacle. Many people do not begin to express their creative natures until their 50s or 60s. And many writers/artists continue well into their 80s. Agatha Christie, Mark Chagall, Eric Jong, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and May Sarton are examples that come to mind immediately. There are many others. It’s never too late to be a writer or an artist.

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Avoid people who would cut you down.

Especially those who do so with a smile on their faces. This is a good suggestion for anyone, not just writers/artists. For a more detailed discussion, read chapter two of THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron.

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As you approach the autumn of your life, you can show your true colors.

Although experience does not guarantee wisdom, genuine wisdom requires experience. Creative or thoughtful insights can happen at any age. But the ability to turn insight or imagination into reality develops through time and experience. So show the colors of your experience–it’s natural!

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Bloom where you are planted.

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City or country.

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It doesn’t matter.

A beautiful geography can be inspirational for writers/artists. Many great works were influenced by place. But it’s not the place which creates, it’s the person. And now–your present moment–is the time to create. Not “when I am…” or “if I had…” Make a little time for writing or art in your everyday life. Use the materials you have now. Notice what is unique about your current location and include that in your work. Concrete (i.e. sensory) details will bring life to your art/writing. Even if you are living in Atlanta, Georgia and writing about 16th century Japan.

If you enjoyed this post, please visit http://pjentoft.com/tree.html
I first read the “Lessons from Trees” here and Peggy has posted her own poem and comments about trees.

Photo Credits: (in descending order)

The titles given to images are mine. Many images did not have a title.

“Tree Roots” (#49785) from seneca77 at http://www.morguefile.com
“Branching Out” (#854439) from myttley at Stock.xchng (www.sxc.hu/)
“Squirrel on Limb” (#857343) from BreAnn at Stock.xchng
“Flying Squirrel” scan of a John James Audubon (1785-1851) print
“Palm Tree in Wind” (#432689) from fgreen at Stock.xchng
“Tree Bark” by Cheshire
“Tree Log” (#889618) from andrewatla at Stock.xchng
“Cherry Blossoms” by Cheshire
“Cut logs” (#145856) from irish_eyes at http://www.morguefile.com
“Autumn Trees 1 & 2” by Cheshire
“City Tree” from spotrick at flickr
“Country Tree” from schreini99 at flickr

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~ by cheshire7 on November 24, 2007.

10 Responses to ““Said the Tree To the Writer…””

  1. Excellent and inspiring post.

    Regarding late bloomers: I used to worry about not having produced a novel by a certain age, which was more about comparing myself to other writers than anything else. I’m trying to step away from that and focus more on how to become more productive and keep trying, regardless. Thanks for providing some reinforcement!

  2. Oh, this is so good, so true. We all need to pay heed and unleash our creativity. To do so is to become whole.

    Vi

  3. These are such practical words of wisdom. I’m going to print these and paste them in my journal for motivation.

  4. I am with you Lori. This is well worth pasting in to a journal. The trees offer are so much wisdom. Can I get you to post this in Sibyl’s Scrapbook in the house Dawn? Then we will have a lovely collection of printables there too.

  5. Lovely and wise, Dawn. Great to see you here again. There is so much inspiration and beauty in Nature, I do love the trees and the Woods.

  6. Contemplative and inspiring! Thank you for the lovely reminder that nature awakens our imagination and can lead us to deeper wisdom.

  7. Wonderful, Dawn. So much is to be learned from nature, and this is a lovely compilation of wisdom and beauty together. Something to be returned to often and cherished.

  8. This is a wonderful post, Dawn. There is so very much in it to remember, think over, savor.

  9. Rich, inviting, inspiring. Fran

  10. lots of words of wisdom in this piece – thanks so much for posting it – and your choice of images is excellent. Love the flying squirrel!

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