Reading: "Warped" YA by Maurissa Guibord
Watching: "Zen" English/Italian TV crime show
Listening To: Baby Magpies' scratchy warbling
Making Me Smile: Our old dog getting used to her fabulous new ultra-padded bed
Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to make my first post as a genuine Love Cat. I suppose that means I should be talking about memorable firsts but what's on my mind are seconds. Second opinions, second looks, second time around.
It's struck me how much a creature of habit I am. I see familiar sights as I drive around town. I cook meals I know well so I don't have to spend too much time in the kitchen. Though I experiment, it's not as often as I'd like. I enjoy being comfortable with friends in places we all know and enjoy. I like to grab books similar to ones I've read before. There's comfort in the familiar, isn't there?
But I've been making a conscious attempt to break a few habits and shake things up a little. Along with that I've found myself taking a second look around me. It's interesting what you see when you take time to really look rather than see what you expect.
Take this. Isn't it the most amazing design? It stopped me in my tracks. Having visited Egypt a few times I noticed immediately the Egyptian influence. That column wouldn't look out of place somewhere on the Nile. Maybe in a recreation of a palace or temple. And as for the amazing tiered uplights - not ancient Egyptian but something else entirely. I'm betting Art Deco. When you take a wider view (below) including the rows of windows, it definitely takes on a new perspective.
And where is this elaborate architectural treat? In downtown Sydney. I recently spent a couple of days in central Sydney but instead of scurrying between appointments, or being caught up in serious shopping, as usually happens, I had time to stroll and actually take a second look at some of the places I thought I knew well.
This building is in Martin Place (ideally situated between Paspaley Pearls and the Lindt Cafe - need I say more?). I've walked past it so often and never bothered to peep inside because I was in a rush. But this is so gorgeous I'm tempted to use it in a book. What a shame I'm not writing a 1920s set mystery...
Then a little later that day I was crossing a road and looked up. This is what I saw - another elaborate Art Deco piece tucked away just above eyesight. To my shame I admit this was on a building just a block from the high rise office where I used to work. Did I mention I used to scurry a lot? I wonder how much I missed seeing by not taking time for a second look?
I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that I spent the rest of that holiday taking a whole new look at places and things I thought I knew well. Amazing what you see when you really look. Maybe it's the pace of life or maybe we just get lazy coping with everything we have on our 'to do' list to appreciate what's before our eyes and value the surprises just waiting to be found.
Now I think about it, that's what I do instinctively when I'm writing or planning a book. I look and then look again. I think a little and then try to delve deeper. That's how I come to know my characters. The more often I look the more they surprise me with details it seems my subconscious must have already known (since they fit perfectly into their motivation) but at first glance I hadn't recognised. The more I look the more I find - or, it seems, the more they tell me. For they have become real people, and just like the real people I meet every day, they have hidden depths I'd miss if I didn't take a second look.
How about you? Are you ever surprised by what you discover when you take a second look? Do you have a tendency to rush and maybe miss some of the wonderful things around you? Or are you someone who's trained themselves to look and look again? Have you discovered wonderful things? I'd be fascinated to know if taking another look has ever been particularly important to you (like the time my mother took a second look at the branch on a path and realised just in the nick of time it was a death adder). Some of those moments can change your life.
As I feel in party mode with my first post, I'll give away a signed copy of GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT to someone chosen at random from those who comment. It's a March release in North America and you can read all about it on my website.