After consuming Frito pie and drinking a few beers while tailgating at nearby University, my boyfriend and I sat down for a discussion about Pure Moments.
He referenced the scene from Northern Exposure, where they capitulate a piano instead of a cow in efforts to experience a pure moment. We both agreed that a pure moment can’t be planned or expected. It’s the surprise or the unexpectedness in the expectation that is pure.
Francine Prose in Reading Like a Writer writes that “We all begin as close readers. Even before we learn to read, the process of being read aloud to, and of listening, means that we are taking in one word after another, one phrase at a time that we are paying attention to whatever each word or phrase is transmitting.”
Listening is a pure moment. Sometimes my mind wanders to plan the future or replay scenarios of possible personal failures or success as other speak to me. But when I listen, which I am learning to do in Kansas with its propensity of storytelling as a cultural protocol, I don’t know what I am going to hear. It is pure because I have no idea how the story will end, or if I think I know it usually never ends that way.
Writing is similar. The pure moments in writing are when we get out of the way of ourselves. Drop the expectations of being published or even that what we write is going to be good. Instead, let the pure moment flow from somewhere inside of you through your fingers and onto the page.
That’s purity. That’s truth. That’s why we read and write and tell stories.