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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Melissa Stewart: A Different View

9_30BubblesRecently, I spent several weeks struggling with a work in progress. Day after day, the words just wouldn’t flow.

Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s no way to force a stubborn manuscript. I just have to focus on something else until my mind somehow sorts things out. Sometimes I begin work on a different book, but in this case, I decided to tackle a long-neglected task—organizing my digital photos.

As I sorted images, I stumbled upon this fun photo of my nieces when they were 6 and 8 years old. What are they doing? They’re discussing the rainbow patterns in the soap bubbles they just blew—a pursuit I approve of whole heartedly.


Seeing this photo reminded me of another experience I had with my nieces the same summer. We were out in the backyard doing somersaults and cartwheels (Well, they were doing the gymnastics. I was the delighted audience.) when my younger niece suddenly stopped mid-tumble—butt in the air, head between her legs.

“Wow,” she said. “I never looked at the sky like this before. It’s beautiful. Try it, Aunt Mis.”

Sure, I wanted to uphold my status as her favorite aunt, but I was also curious. So I walked out onto the grass and mimicked her position. And do you know what? She was right. The sky really was extraordinarily beautiful.

My other niece joined us, and all three of us stayed in that position, just gazing at the stunning  blue sky for quite a while—until the blood rushed to our heads.

Thinking about that day reminded me that looking at something from another point of view—turning it upside down or inside out—can help us appreciate it in a whole new way. Inspired by that memory, I decided to read portions of my troublesome manuscript while lying on my back with my head dangling upside down off the edge of the bed.

Sounds crazy, right?

But guess what. A few hours later I was suddenly struck by an idea, an insight. Something had shifted in my mind, and I was able to see my writing in a whole new way. Eureka!

For the last few days, I’ve been revising like mad. I’m still not sure if this new approach will work, but I’m feeling optimistic.

3 Responses to Melissa Stewart: A Different View

  1. Virginia Rinkel October 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    I love this approach. As an illustrator, I was totally stuck on a series of 8 banner visuals, I crumpled up all the 6 week idea work on the drawing table, and two days later in the shower with eyes closed, every visual became clear, and it worked- beautiful. But, I was getting nowhere sitting at the table.

  2. Heather Montgomery October 1, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    Love this technique! I’m going to go try it right now. Thanks!

  3. Genevieve Petrillo October 3, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    So….by “a different view” you really mean A DIFFERENT VIEW! Literally! So fun!

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