Fall is upon us. The chill in the air signals all things comfy cozy and perhaps a few more moments to muse. Birds are patterning their flights south, and squirrels are scurrying about packing nuts. Yarn balls and needles are surfacing on sofas and the lure of soup making is beckoning once again.
When I was a little girl, I would spin in the sunshine of my backyard until I fell in a patch of dandelions enough to make my pretend soup. I’d add the flowers to a pail of water and stir my mixture, dashing in imaginary spices. During these moments I was at totally at ease and my mind was free to wander. I never tried to eat my backyard soup (thank goodness). It was the act of creating that I delighted in.
As I grew into a young girl, alphabet soup became my favorite. The tiny pasta letters were the ultimate game of scrabble and I loved the wordplay. My mother made an assortment of nourishing hearty soups.
I’m all grown up now and like most busy people, I don’t have hours to swirl in the sunshine. But as writers, we still need moments to muse. Moments that give our minds the space to pause, notice, fixate, and meditate on the shape of a cloud or the hue of a sunset. Time spent in contemplation is often what prompt us to write. The moments can become the seeds of stories.
Time has always stood still for me during activities that involve my hands and stimulate my senses. Activities like crocheting or making soup channel my creative energy, ultimately seasoning my writing.
Life is hectic now with family, kids, work and writing. But I still cook soup from scratch a few times a season. I want to feed my family healthy meals, and I need to feed my muse. Making soup takes me back to my childhood backyard where there was no time, just space to imagine.
This season, treat yourself. Try to finds some time for activities that allow you to mull momentarily. The evenings are getting longer and story time can be extended a few minutes. Cozy up with a bowl of soup. Make it from scratch if you can. If you’re short on time, these picture books may do the trick. Pause for a few minutes… long enough to imagine… your next story.
Carol Higgins-Lawrence wrote her first story at the age of five. Her father paid her a quarter for it and she's been writing ever since. She's taken a variety of courses in writing for children. Multicultural perspectives are of particular interest to her. Carol is of Jamaican descent and was born and raised in Canada. She has a BA in Communications and Sociology and she has completed coursework towards a MA in TESOL. She has worked as a literacy educator for the past 15 years. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two young children.
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