Thinking Thoughts

By Julie, hoping spring will spring soon in Somerville

Crime thoughtsEarlier this year I went to a book event for The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout, a terrific book by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman. In my day job, I run a small in size but large in scope nonprofit, so the topic was (is) of great interest to me. One of the steps I have taken since is to meditate for a few minutes every day, a practice that had been recommended for years. Thanks to the Calm app, it has been a very interesting process. I am much more aware–of my feelings, of the weather, of the taste of food, of whether or not I am hungry, of my thoughts in general.

I am a bit alarmed by how often my mind wanders to crime.

I am working on two books this year, and need to keep characters, settings, and crimes separate. I am committed to the cozy genre, so I am looking for crimes off the page, but that leave an impression. I’ve also subscribed to Acorn TV, and am inspired by  British, Australian, and New Zealand “cozy” characters and mysteries. Midsomer Murders, while fitting the genre, is over the top in the crimes (and the acting). I love the heightened reality of that show, Rosemary and Thyme, Mr. & Mrs. Murder, Agatha Raisin, and The Brokenwood Mysteries and other series in that vein.

The wonderful characters, inventive murders, and close knit community settings are my go to these days. But all of these are set in small villages, and I live in a city. I am very much a city girl. But meditation has cleared some of the muddle of my mind, and helped me look at my city with fresh eyes. It has also, as I mentioned, made me aware of where my mind drifts.  I see the small pockets of village life in Somerville, and my imagination kicks in gear. A block of eclectic shops in Union Square, some of which have been there for years, many of which are undergoing facelifts. What stories will those walls tell?  gather here, a place that encourages knitting, sewing, and other crafts. Crafters, as we all know, are a treasure trove of instruments that can be employed in devious ways,  and strong personalities.  Davis Square, the the movie/concert hall in the center of a bastion of wonderful restaurants. Date night gone wrong? The bike path, a lovely place to walk, run, or ride your bike all the way to Bedford. So many mysterious places to explore.

My imagination has been in overdrive. My mind wanders to crime, no matter who I am with. It does make it a bit dicey when folks don’t know I am a mystery writer, and likely puts some folks off. Granted, meditation probably shouldn’t heighten awareness of mysterious pursuits, but it has been a side effect of my new practice. I’m sure I’m not the only person constantly plotting dastardly deeds.

Am I?

24 Thoughts

  1. I think there are no “shoulds” in meditation practice, Julie. Let the thought come in, watch it go away. I think imagining new crime possibilities is an excellent side effect of your new awareness! Like, Liz, I wouldn’t trade it, either. I don’t meditate regularly (except on Sunday mornings, but that’s different), but when I did, I remember it just put the rest of my day (well, me IN my day) on a more even keel. I handled things better. Have fun with it!

  2. Just as long as you keep yourself and the implement far away from one who might become the victim…

  3. I so know what you mean! I look around wherever I am and see places to conceal a body without leaving evidence.

    When I was in college, we were required to take phys ed, including one course called Fundamentals of Relaxation, shortened to Fundies. We all treated it as a joke then, but I find myself returning to one idea again and again. What the class emphasized was paying attention to your body and relaxing it part by part until everything was loosened up. When I stop to do it now, I realize how much tension I hold in my body all the time, and how different it feels to let go of it. Try it–it’s easy!

  4. My mind rarely shuts off the whole that could be a crime/place to hide a body/clue cycle. I really need to check into Acorn TV and your Calm app! Great post!

  5. I think that is a side effect of writing mysteries period. It’s often a side effect of reading them.

  6. Very impressed that you are fitting meditation in around your busy life–and if it gives you ideas for plots, or prevents you from actually killing someone, so much the better!

  7. Thanks, Julie. Your comments remind me of my time in school when I lived over the P&K Deli in Somerville. It was great for meeting people and getting the best coffee and tuna sandwich ever which kept me alive, moving, and connecting with other people and helped me form the dreams that keep me going, still.

    1. And I love the Calm app! It helps steady my mind and focus on the day ahead while remaining in the present.

  8. Julie, thank you so much for introducing me to the Calm app! I love it. It’s just what I’ve been looking for.

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