Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Spin Seats

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I was sitting in a cafeteria last week that had an old-fashioned counter with the spin seats. A little boy was sitting a few seats away and he was having a great time spinning on the chair. His mother was sitting next to him and was a little distracted, but every time she looked up, she would say, “John, stop spinning. If you don’t stop spinning, we’re going to have to sit in the booth.” Then she would look down in her purse or talk to the clerk and he would spin again. The thing that caught my eye, however, was the sheer joy on his face every time he spun around. He had the biggest smile and his whole body seemed to just be in sync with how much fun he was having. The only time he stopped was when his mother would look at him and say, once again, “John, stop it. I mean it. Don’t do it again.”

Like most writers, I started writing because I loved it. I love creating something and it is exhilarating to “spin” a story. The characters come alive on the page and I can see the scenes in my head and it makes me smile when it all comes together. There’s a certain joy in just writing. There’s also joy when other people can appreciate what you’ve written. We’re like the child, enjoying the spinning chair, but we are spinning stories.

However, there is almost always a figure like John’s mother, who is telling us to stop. Sometimes it comes from within, with insecurities that we’re not good enough, that no one will like our stories, or that no one will publish our work. Sometimes those voices are enough to make us stop. We lose the joy we once had and we stop spinning. Or, perhaps we let a rejection letter or a bad review stop us from spinning our stories. Those things could drive anyone to drown their sorrows in an ice cream sundae in a booth. But they shouldn’t.

Sometimes we get so bogged down in every day life, with all its stresses, deadlines, and have-to do lists, that we forget the joy. We forget the joy we once had in just spinning a story. How the smiles were easy when a scene just flowed or if a plot finally thickened. How the spinning and the writing put a spring in your step and made you want to spin even more and faster this time. How much you loved life in that moment because of what you were able to bring to it and to create within yourself. Don’t ever forget the joy.

Eventually John’s mother took him by the hand and led him over to a booth. He looked longingly at that spinning seat for the rest of the time he was there. Don’t be the kind of person who is led to the booth where there’s no spinning of any kind. Don’t let the stories inside of you die while you stare longingly at the spinning seat. Get on that spinning seat. Spin your stories and feel the joy even on those days when you’ve got someone telling you to stop. Spin until you’re dizzy and then smile and spin some more. If nothing else, you may help the person next to you to remember what’s important as they watch you spin and smile and feel the joyful energy inside. It’s all about escaping the booth and loving the spin. It’s your moment in time. Make the ride last.


At 9/17/2009 1:19 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

This is totally being nominated for a Ribbit. LOVED this post on so many levels I can't begin to describe it. Spin on!

At 9/17/2009 4:56 PM, Blogger Tamara Hart Heiner said...

So. Was John's mom wrong to make him leave the spinning chair?

B/c as a mom, I'd love to let my child spin spin away. But I feel like everyone else would be in there thinking, "What a bad mom that is."

At 9/17/2009 5:01 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

L.T. Thanks! You're awesome.

Tamara I don't think she was a bad mom, I was just fascinated watching this little scene and related it to writing, that's all. I felt a little bad that his mom was an anti-spinner *wink* but to each his own. :)

At 9/17/2009 5:38 PM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...

But if you write so much that you throw up from motion sickness. It's time to stop spinning for a while. Just saying.

And as far as you snots who used me as an excuse for doing cheap posts (Rob, cough, Stephanie, cough) let me just say that I have no been without my computer for a week while people with names I can't pronounce keep telling me I will receive the part "at a very soon times."

At 9/17/2009 6:26 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

J. Scott, I've heard writing described as throwing up on a page, so maybe that's a good thing! Haha. Sorry about your computer.

And Tamara, I wanted to add that as a mom, I totally agree with you, and people would probably think the same thing about me letting my child spin. But in this instance it was early in the morning and we were the only ones in the cafeteria so it wasn't hurting anyone. I think I would have let my child spin if I'd been the mom. John's mom didn't. Not wrong, just a different choice. Does that make sense? I think I'm overthinking this now. :)


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