And on this note, the exercise of Erin's cup pattern was not random, pointless fun - though that in itself would be worthy activity for the over stressed writers out there. Instead it was meant to represent the power of a totem or self image. We are quick to list things that can help our writing get better and that's good, we should work on our skills. But improving our own self esteem is certainly going to make all our endeavors more successful. So go on a spirit quest through the mists of your own work - find out from your own work what animal just won't leave you alone or what place you can't escape. Do you often write of the forest or the river? Do you return again and again to the lion in your stories? Do eagles fly near the sun or do fish spin in the bowl on the desk of your antagonist? What can't your subconscious avoid creating over and over again? If you find those repeating themes, maybe you've found your totem.
"Bzdbldelbluk," Erin burbled in response to Laura's curse.
"Hmm," Laura said, stalling while she thought of something to say. "Well, a burble of nonsense is an improvement." She tried to sound encouraging as she reached down and took the shoe from Erin's hand. She placed it on the bed and then used her whole arms and chest to roll Erin onto her side and then stand her up on her feet. Puffing from the effort, she said, "There... you are... At least... you are standing... up now."
"Grglethrstbif" Erin managed.
"Here lets take a look at you in the mirror," Laura guided Erin's extremely top heavy body over to the full length mirror and the two of them looked sadly into the reflection. "I'd like to pretend I've seen this before but... I haven't.
"And, my GOD, that pattern is just... well, you need something better than that. Those little roses are... something my grandma would just adore. So... I have an idea and I know it will work." Laura faked confidence so Erin could calm down.
Erin tried to nod her cup rim encouragingly back at Laura but it destabalized her so much she fell on her base again and Laura had to stand her back up. "Careful now, Erin, it looks like you are very top heavy."
"Rlllrutingrrro!" Erin growled.
"Right. Moving along then. Here's what you need to do. Close your eyes. You can close your eyes can't you? Ah, good, you can. Okay, so, close your eyes and think back to what you were writing last night. You might also ask yourself the following questions about your story:
- What has brought my main character to this place in her/his journey, this moment in her/his life?
- Whose life has she / he been living?
- Does my main character feel like things in his/her life are out of sink? If so, how?"
"You know we got a mystery to solve
So Scooby Doo get ready for your act
Don't hold back
'Cause Scooby Doo when you come thru
You're gonna have your self a scooby snack
That's a fact"
Finally Erin squeezed Laura's hand. Laura said, "What you need to do is search for an element of power from your story. Something, anything, that makes you feel safe. And then when you find that, focus on it fully. Every detail in perfect, precise clarity. As though you had it right in front of you."
Again, they stood there in silence. Laura shifted on her feed uncomfortably and worried Erin's legs had to be getting tired from holding up her heavy cup.
It took so long that the next program started downstairs. Laura could here the song again:
"I will travel across the land
Searching far and wide
Each Pokemon to understand
The power that's inside"
Then ever so slowly Laura noticed Erin's cup was changing right in front of her eyes. Where silly pink roses used to be, faded, barely visible imprints remained and giant blue eyes became visible. The fading and the dawning of a new image continued until finally the roses were completely gone and Laura could see clearly what Erin had chosen.
"Okay, Erin, you can open your eyes now."