Tuesday, January 15, 2013

And How Are You?

“How are you today?”

We hear that question often, and usually our response is automatic: “I’m fine. How are you?” A simple and courteous exchange of pleasantries that is forgotten almost as quickly as it began. Rarely do we really care how the other person is, and vice-versa. Even if we are truly not “fine” we shy away from voicing it. We don’t want to bother anyone with our problems. Of course, there are some who have no qualms about laying out their issues in graphic detail, but most of us just respond, smile, and move on.

But is this a good thing? Maybe not. Maybe we should stop and run an inventory of ourselves. Maybe we should take time to ensure that we are actually fine and be thankful that we are. We’re all so eager to complain about our aches and pains and how bad our day is going, but do we ever stop and realize that we are truly doing well?

Think back to the last problem you had with your body. Toothache? Sore joint? Cold sore? Constipation? Now, think about how you felt during that time. How many times did you wish the problem was gone? How many times did you promise yourself that, once the problem left, you’d be grateful that it was over?

We tend to forget things like that when we’re better. We got rid of the problem, that’s all we care about. What a shame. Why can’t we use those memories to make our lives better right now? Why is it so bad to be happy in our fineness? How strange would it be to look in the mirror, smile at yourself, and say, “Wow, no backache this morning!”? Or, “The old feet are feeling pumped and ready to go!” Or, “Wow, what a nice smile, no cold sores on these lips!” Or, how about, “I’m feeling fantastic! No sign of diarrhea, or constipation, or bladder issues. Everything is flowing along great.”

Try it. It may not be so strange after all.

The next time someone asks how you are doing, smile, say you’re fine, and move on. But as you walk away, run through the list of problems you COULD be having, and be truly grateful that you are NOT having them at the moment. It will bring a smile to your lips. And we can all use more smiles, can’t we?

Writing tip: When confronted with the dreaded Writer’s Block, don’t dwell on the fact. The more you think about your Writer’s Block, the easier it is to find excuses to not fight it. The best cure I have found is to talk to a fellow writer about the affliction. A writer who will challenge me to power on through the block, and check on me frequently to make sure I’m still avoiding it. Inspiration is the key.

Remember back to a time when you were pounding the keyboard, turning out hundreds of glorious words a minute, the stories and characters building themselves in a frenzy of creativity; and do the same thing now. Begin typing the old standby beginning: “It was a dark and stormy night…” and then start flinging words on the screen as fast as you can. Don’t worry about grammar or syntax, just type. The Backspace button is a no-no at this time. Even if you’re turning out incoherent drivel, at least you’re turning out something!