Art, Life, and Frederick the Mouse: Savoring Moments

Back when I still wore denim jumpers and frilly socks, back when I still drank chocolate milk every morning while sitting in my uncle’s lap at the kitchen table, my mother read to me of Frederick the artistic mouse.

As all the other mice worked to store enough grains for the encroaching winter, Frederick only wandered aimlessly, daydreaming through the busy days.  His friends grew resentful and called him lazy, but it wasn’t until the dreariest of winter days that Frederick’s worth finally became apparent to the rest of the mouse community.

Frederick had absorbed the colors of summer and autumn, the sounds of the wind and the bird, the warmth of the sun, and all the other sensations of the outside world.  In the cold, dark hibernation tunnels, Frederick used his words to bring those sensations to his fellow mice.  Even in a society so concerned with efficiency and survival, Frederick’s art fills each mouse with joy.

Writers are very much like Frederick.

We must live, storing up experiences and colors and sounds and tastes for our stories.  Stories are born out of vibrant experiences.  Stories take root when we live out risks, life changes, and even the smaller moments of life.  One small detail of the day can spark a complicated plot web or a focused article pitch.  You just have to be open and willing to walk around and store up the world until you can turn it into poetry on the keyboard, on the guitar, on the canvas later.

I spent the past weekend at home, swimming in the pool with my six-year-old sister, listening to my mother read her stories from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, going out for ice-cream cones after dinner.  With moments such as these, I’m storing up every memory, every smile, every sassy comment from her mouth.  In the upcoming months, I will most likely be seeing her less and less, and every detail I store away will stay with me when I’m states [and countries] away.

And it’s not only with her.  I’m learning to store away all sorts of memories of my family: the coffee trips and the late night British movie watching with my mama, the goofy comments from my dad, and the honest heart-to-heart conversations with my grandmother.

The rules of intentional living are not much different from the rules of writing.

We need to store away memories, experiences, every sensation.

Just like Frederick the mouse.

Do you find yourself storing up moments of the day?