June 15, 2015

Suspended - Tracy Krauss

A girl of about ten hunches over a pad of paper, pencil in hand. The summer sun warms her back and neck. An incessant insect buzzes by, only momentarily breaking her concentration. Her face is too close to the page, perhaps, and there is a determined set to her mouth. One leg swings under the picnic table in time to the bubble of the nearby creek, its music a backdrop for songbirds that barely register in her subconscious mind. While other children are amusing themselves with games of tag or skipping rocks in the stream, she is working. There is a story waiting to find release on the pad of paper - a story told mostly through drawings, but a story none the less.

This is a snapshot from my childhood, set against the backdrop of our family's annual trek to Waterton Park. My family and I travelled there from the flatness of the prairie for at least a week almost every summer until I moved away from home. The grandeur of the mountains to my flatlander's psyche was frightening at times. Despite the magnificence of the natural surroundings, the landscape had little to do with the story I was writing. When you're in 'the zone', location doesn't much matter. Time and surroundings fade away, replaced by a zen-like suspension as the creative mode takes over.

This particular scene played over and over during my growing up years. Give me a pad of paper and a pencil and I was as content at my own kitchen table as I was by a pristine mountain stream. Sitting on the grass on a golf course fairway (my father was an avid golfer and sometimes we kids got to tag along) or enjoying a visit to Auntie Mavis's farm - it didn't matter where I was or even who I was with. If I wasn't actually drawing in one of my many sketchpads, I was aching to do so. I never understood the kids who got 'bored'. When I got tired of playing a game or watching TV, I found some paper. Problem solved.

This month we've been challenged to write about the times we've felt God's pleasure, especially through writing. I can honestly say that most of the time, I feel an indescribable feeling of satisfaction when I'm writing creatively. (Not that there isn't a fair bit of gruelling hard work, too!) Hours can literally go by with very little sense of their passing. We've all experienced this while doing something we particularly enjoy but I was first introduced to the science behind it back in the 80s through Betty Edwards iconic book Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain.

What fascinates me the most is the simplicity of God's plan. We seem to connect with Him most - feel His pleasure - while doing something that skips the analysis part of our brain and goes straight to the intuitive. I suppose we could go one step further and equate 'intuition' to 'freedom' and freedom to creativity. 'Creativity', of course, is a very broad category. What is a creative activity for me (writing, drawing, painting) may be excruciating for someone else. I have several friends who are dedicated long distance runners and they all report a sense of euphoria while running not unlike that of famous runner Eric Liddell. I hate running. (Did I say 'hate'? I meant HATE.) It gives me a headache. But God made each one of us unique. This makes perfect sense when you consider that we are made in His image and He is the ultimate creator.

Think about what makes you lose track of time. You just might find God waiting there.

Tracy Krauss happily sits in her office in Tumbler Ridge, BC. pounding away at the keys while many of her fit friends run past. She might not be able to run a marathon, but check out her many published novels, plays, and short stories. http://tracykrauss.com    


  1. "Think about what makes you lose track of time." What a pure, simple, measure of discovering what God placed in a person to link to him on a creative level. We could apply that to our children, our spouses, as well, to know them better, to understand where to encourage them. (Except not being lost in video games. Unless they're designing them!)

    1. Oh those video games...

    2. Enjoyed this post Tracy....I also have to respond to the video game comment! Our son played war games on the computer while in high school and definitely lost track of time...one of his arguments was that he was actually learning good eye/hand (thumb) coordination LOL...he may not have been far off since he is now in the military and always scores high on his shooting skills...not sure why I am sharing this...different strokes for different folks I guess??? (Although we did work hard at curbing that video time and he did participate and hockey/football so not all was thumb coordination lol) Bobbi I agree with what you said about applying that thought to our children and spouses and others to get to know them better and encourage them...I always learn so much from these posts. Thanks Tracy :)

  2. Your closing remark, "Think about what makes you lose track of time" is the lead to many stories. Thanks for sharing some childhood memories.

  3. Also completely agree that the something that makes us loose track of time is where we often the place where we find God waiting for us. Getting out of our own way, using the talent He uniquely gave us, leads to Him.

  4. Thanks for this great post, Tracy. I like the title, "Suspended." You follow through with that theme, showing us how even as a child, you could suspend time and follow through on your love of writing.
    When time is suspended during the creative use of our minds, work turns into pleasure and boredom seems impossible. And, yes, may we find God during these suspended, ethereal moments.

  5. Two things you said grabbed my attention. Firstly, the book by Betty Edwards. I'm not familiar with that book so I'll have to check it out. Secondly, your last two lines and finding God waiting at what I do that makes me to lose track of time. I like that thought. Thanks.


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