Quote of the Week: “All is connected … no one thing can change by itself.” Paul Hawken
Writing Exercise of the Week: Two people who have never met before, a 70-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl, both claim ownership to a necklace that was found in Waimea Anuenue Park. Write for five minutes about each person and their connection to the necklace. Then write for five minutes about how these two people are connected.
One of the most beautiful things about life is the way in which we are connected with ourselves and those around us. If you think about it, that’s what books and movies are about. New links, broken links, links in the process of being formed. Some links are stronger than others, some are constantly under siege. There are links that we may be unaware of, but they can have a profound effect on our lives whether we realize it or not.
Have you ever heard the term, “six degrees of separation”? It morphed into a popular parlor game, the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, in which any Hollywood actor or actress can be linked to Kevin Bacon in six degrees or less.
The real challenge isn’t in making the connection within six steps, but in discovering the shortest path between the two. We already know we live in a small town (or, if you prefer the popular adage, “Big Island, small world”), but my bet is that we are even more connected with each other than we realize. Sometimes it’s crisscrossed family histories, where we find we’re related to someone who’s been our neighbor all these years. Or that a person interviewing you for a job used to live in San Diego in your old apartment. For years my husband and I told people that we didn’t have family in Hawaii, but guess what? Turns out my first cousin on my father’s side has a first cousin on their mother’s side who happens to live in Waikoloa (Hi, David and Theresa!). A story that we’ve told for years no longer applies because a new link was revealed. It’s always been there, I just didn’t know it.
I know you’ve experienced these so-called coincidences. It changes the way we look at ourselves and others, and thank goodness for that. I know I can get stuck in my own view of how things are or should be, but then a link reveals itself and my whole world changes.
Writing is the best way I know to activate these undiscovered links. Whether you’re journaling, writing a poem or novel, researching an article, or crafting a blog post, you’re creating the space for a link to reveal itself. Because they exist all the time, and for everyone, the only shame is when we miss them. Writing helps us pay attention, helps us sift through the evidence. It makes sure that important links don’t slip by unrecognized.
Next week I begin the first of three writing workshops this fall. Jump Start Your Novel is for aspiring and published authors, and if you’ve ever been bitten by the creative bug, I hope you’ll join me. I promise we’ll find lots of links—both in life and in writing—and have a lot of fun as well.
Darien’s workshop, Jump Start Your Novel begins Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. Private consults available as well. Visit waimeaeducation.com for more information and to register.
Darien Gee is a national bestselling author based in Waimea. Her most recent novel is The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. She also writes under the name Mia King. Visit her at dariengee.com and miaking.com.