Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tips from Tops Thursdays - where's the juice?

As those who read my Tuesday writing post know - I'm stuck in query hell - trying to form a one-page synopsis that doesn't make the book sound like a bad soap opera (are there good soap operas). I decided, for today's tip, to not go the regular route. Sometimes we might just need more than technical advice or even the wonderful inspiration of writers like Anne Lamott or Stephen King.
I decided I would go to the first Buddhist teacher whose books I have devoured over the years - Chogyam Trungpa.  Trungpa was a meditation master, scholar, artist and founder of Shambhala. He died before I met him but I have been lucky to be very touched by his teachings and the world he created here in the west for Buddhists.
A book written by him that I tend to keep close by is Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior (no - not the worrier though that might work too).
Today I go to Chapter Four - Fear and Fearlessness to see what he has to say:

Tip -
Acknowledging fear is not a cause for depression or discouragement. Because we possess such fear, we also are potentially entitled to experience fearlessness. True fearlessness is not the reduction of fear; but going beyond fear.
Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath its veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness. Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating, all the time. When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely, and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the firs sign of real warriorship.  You might thing that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the opening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn't happen that way. In the Shambhala tradition, discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart.
Top - Choygam Trungpa

How I might work with the tip:

This reminds me of the speed at which aggression can overcome me and drive me. I think I am trying to just do what I said I was going to do - get my query packages out and enjoy the long summer of waiting for rejection and maybe acceptance - but instead I've made it hard and cruel. I hate my synopsis - I think it stinks. I'm a lousy writer - who ever thought I could write was stupid - and so on.  This weekend I am going to pull out all my synopses and have a gentle look at them. I'm going to sit with some folks that love me and tell them the story. I'm going to make lots of tea and take time for walks. I've had a very busy while lately - lots of clients - not much fun at home - worry about this and that. I'm going to gentle up and find my warrior's heart.


Liza said...

I'm guessing dear Jan, that like all writing, perhaps a synopsis would benefit from a quiet walk away. Adjust your deadlines and give it a break and I bet when you get back to it, the words flow. Take walks by the ocean, long hot showers and drink tea in the sunshine and before you know it, the right words will come.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - How wise you are to be aware of how much perception affects what we do. Good on you to step back, drink tea, be compassionate with yourself and love the writer you are. I'll be interested to hear how it goes.