Writing through Experience: Put the Phone Down.
By Justin C. Miller
How many of you witnessed the lunar Eclipse (if you were in the correct part of the hemispheres.) just recently? How many of you just sat there and watched it? Listened to the crickets chirp, or the cars drive by, the wind blow rustling the trees? Who soaked in the feeling of something you may only get to see one or two more times in your life? Who did it without their phone?
Ah see that’s where that question gets tricky. We experience amazing things, and yes we capture them on our phones and share them with the world around us; and it’s one of the most foolish things as writers we can ever do. Of course we never want to forget this moment and so it’s best to record it… until your storage space is maxed and then it’s not that important anyway.
We rely so much on our technology to remember things for us and capture things for us that we miss out on a very important part of it all. The feelings, the emotion, the smells, the sounds, the life of it.
When 9/11 happened in American I remember the moment of the second crash vividly. I was in school, Journalism class. It was a pleasant day outside. The sun shining through the windows. It was a warm day too, we had the windows open and I remember smelling the fresh cut grass from the lawn being mowed earlier in the day. The teacher was teaching us to pay attention, not to him but to everything. Now he was teaching this as an important lesson to journalism telling us that news can happen anywhere, and not more than 30 seconds after he stated that the TV turned on and I witnessed the tragedy that almost all the word knows of. I remeber thinking it was a video he put into the player. I remember the announcement telling students to get to a classroom and wait for further instructions, I remember the panic that night the fear in my parents faces... the quiet of the streets... no one was anywhere but home. And I remember crying for all those poor people, none of them who I knew. ( I am sorry if this part of the article brings back bad memories by anyone affected by that horrible day. Not my intention, just one of the most vivid memories I have)
The life lesson learned there is that it’s important to look, not with just your eyes but your spirit or soul or whatever else you want to call you’re something that makes you who you are compared to the guy next to you. Those little details missed while worrying if the shot if centered in your phone or if the sound is right, can never be brought back and can never fully be appreciated later. your terror, joy, calm, peace, love, happiness. These feelings cannot be recorded. The acts of them can be, but the memory of them cannot be.
This article is obviously an opinion, but I feel it’s true. For any creative type. Instead of sharing x even y moment or z happenings with the world… Just put down the phone, be a little selfish, and soak it in.
We used to tell events by retelling them as stories, it was never about the accuracy of the story... just the telling of it. That is why we want to be writers after all.