Focusing on Extreme Examples…

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Press, January 22, 2011

Hey, if you guys need some fun reading material to help pick you up and get you through the winter blues season, may I suggest a book by Louis Sachar? Sachar is a brilliant author who is probably most famous for the book, “Holes.” What an awesome book — a tapestry of interweaving stories. Completely original. Sachar has also written a series of books called “Sideways Stories from Wayside School.” These are just plain fun and tap into your inner 8 year-old and the memory of just how ludicrous elementary school could be.

I was thinking about Sachar because of an interview I had once read with him. He spends an hour or two every day as “writing time.” During writing time, there are no interruptions. No phones, no emails, no texts, no visits, no nothin’. He sits in his office and is completely secluded. He writes. Or just thinks about writing. But nothing else. Otherwise, he’s an affable, approachable, communicative guy. But writing time is writing time.

I really like that notion and was thinking about it when I was trying to come up with this week’s comic (in between emails and phone calls and my own errant thoughts). We’re all so easily distracted (myself certainly included) that it seems counterproductive to allow ourselves to be so readily interrupted. And I think, at least for me, the consequence is that it’s the shinier distractions that grab my attention and my thought processes become much shallower. So it’s easier to be caught by the story of somebody abusing the welfare system and stay at the surface instead of going deeper to understand the context for why it happened.

We could all use some writing time….

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