Select Page

Years ago I was driving between Glasgow and Edinburgh one evening. I’d only lived in Glasgow for a short time, wasn’t yet familiar with the perils of black ice – that thin ice on tarmac that makes a road perilous. As I took a turn, I felt the car skid away from me, the wheels spinning out of control. Ahead of me, a stone wall. Somehow, the words of a driving instructor came to me: look where you want to go. I turned my head away from the compelling, terrifying, stone wall and looked back to the road. Shaking with fear, I managed to steer back onto the road. (And then I pulled over and spent a good twenty minutes trying to calm myself down before I got back on the road). I’m pretty certain that if I’d kept my eyes on the brick wall I’d have ended up ploughing into it.

Your attention leads you. In other words, you travel to where your attention is. If your attention is on the impossibility of writing, you’ll get more of that. We’re going to work on refocusing your attention. Refocus on possibility. The possibility of your creative satisfaction. The possibility of discovery. The possibility of joy.

Today is about awakening your attention. What is it that you notice? Where is your focus?

Today, be present throughout the day. Attend to the moment.

That means attending to the inner and the outer. What is the precise nature of light on the wall when you wake up? The coffee on your tongue – is it bitter? Grainy? Does it linger?

Paying attention to each moment will make you be in the moment. Being present is the gift of art but also the challenge. This is mindfulness, of course, but it’s also art. Attending to the moment is what makes sportspeople successful (you can’t land a triple axel if you’re thinking about how your mother-in-law spoke rudely to you last week) and it’s what makes art alive. It’s what makes artists come to life. And you are an artist.

Today, carry your notebook with you through the day. Notice things: what is the light doing on the window? What is the air doing on your skin?

For now, begin with the senses. How do things taste? How do they smell? Attend to each of the five senses (I know, there are more – but right now we’re just going to focus on the Big Five – taste, smell, sight, sound, touch). Slow down and notice: when you drink a glass of water, notice the feel of it, the taste of it, the sound. When you eat, focus on the precise flavour, the precise crunch of the grain. What can you hear? Notice.

You’ll find that we’ll be using that word – attend – a lot over the next six weeks. Attend to the moment, attend to your own needs, to your own creativity. It’s a great word – because it implies both attention but also service. And you are, for this period of Immersion, in service to your own creativity.

So: attend. Notice. Slow down. Focus.


Today’s prompt is…

Write about a surprise visit