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.

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Virginia Rinkel
8 years ago

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.

Heather Montgomery
8 years ago

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

Genevieve Petrillo
8 years ago

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