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Gwen Tuinman

NOVELIST

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introspection

Dream Life, Creativity, Self-knowledge

Twelfth century philosopher, Ibn Khaldun wrote that, “God created man in such a way that the veil of the senses could be lifted through sleep, which is a natural function of man. When that veil is lifted, the soul is ready to learn the things it desires to know in the world of Truth.” What a beautiful and comforting thought.

His idea couples well with the commonly held wisdom of sleeping on it when faced with a critical dilemma. Instead of making an on-the-spot decision, we use the period of sleep to separate our emotion from the issue. Sleeping on it is more than allowing ourselves an overnight cooldown period. Science shows that during slumber, instead of powering down like a computer, our minds work to synthesize the information and scenarios we’re wrestling with.

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A Boy, a Toy Chainsaw, and a Buddhist

There’s a route I walk through my neighbourhood when I’m trying to think and sometimes when I’m trying not to think. More often than not, I circle the loop solo (if you don’t count the characters of my novel riding on my shoulders). When other humans cross my path, I nod and give the smile that says, “Way to go, you’re out in the world.” We’re mostly introverted, hence the early hour of our stroll. But once in a while, the sidewalk presents a bubbling extrovert. What can you do but take notice?

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On Curiosity, Delight and Writing

“Survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention (…) The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.”

Something about this quote from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has taken a hold of me and won’t let go. She’s written it by way of explaining her grandmother’s approach to enduring her husband’s years of careless living. The consequences of his actions inflicted much hardship, yet through it all, Grandmother focused on the positive, indulged her curiosities to stay sane, endure the bumpy ride.

Her approach to life is perfectly suited to a writer’s life. Our pursuits are sometimes put on hold due to life challenges, but for the most part, we push through difficult times and keep writing. To do this requires that we too pay attention and follow our curiosity. We infuse our imaginings with context, much like newly submerged tea leaves spreading their colour inside a cup.

Continue reading “On Curiosity, Delight and Writing”

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