Focus and Windowpanes…

In art, there is a technique called “Windowpane-ing” used to help the artist focus on the details of his/her painting.  The artist creates a windowpane – an actual square or rectangular cutout.  This windowpane is placed on the canvas and only the part seen inside the pane is worked on to bring out the color, shadows, light, accents, etc. of the picture.  Working within the pane intensifies the focus of the artist.  As the pane is moved across the canvas, it is overlapped to create uniformity in the changes made until the entire canvas is completed.  Finally, the last portion of the canvas is done resulting in a finished picture that is well balanced and well expressed.

I use this technique as I write not only for the sake of what is on the page but because there have been several times when the world around me – the one I live in – is in a whirlwind.  In that sense, I use this technique to help me tune out the extras.  I don’t get writer’s block but I do have to work on focus in the middle of tornados.  Being from the Midwest, tornados hit pretty often during my childhood.  We spent many days and nights in the basement waiting out the storms.  I remember the sirens would go off letting us know to get to safety.  Because we had to stay away from windows during the storms, we didn’t move much – there was a lot of sitting still.  While the storm was raging, my mother and father would have us do other things like read books, tell stories, or sing songs to get our minds off the weather. 

Writing through a storm requires one to sit down and to focus.  So, for me, as long as I can calm myself enough to sit down (at the computer or a tablet) and not move, I can get something in written form.  And, since physically writing also calms me; it is to my benefit to focus and get at it.  Writing is an excellent way to express what one is feeling and getting it out is good for the soul.  A nurse I know once told me that what she tells her patients regarding gas is that “it’s better out than in.”  There’s not much difference between gas and stress; they’re both upsetting to the stomach.  Thus, stress-related trauma/drama is to gas as burping is to writing “the end.”  Better to get that story out than to suppress it.  There is always going to be a reason to not write but a little focus and some work on the windows can fix that…

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