At the risk of running an ode, I’m starting with the contentment of being at my little writing desk in the corner of my room, where eight windows meet. The Chinese Lantern plant my neighbor gave me for a birthday has grown up over the frame of the window in front of my desk. A hummingbird just tucked in under the broad-fingered leaves and got a sip from the red-veined, orange globes hanging in the foliage.
It is soft and satisfying to see the sunlight start over the garage and tree lines to the east, lighting up some wispy clouds, then getting greyed over by more clouds. Yes, welcome clouds. Welcome, any kind of moisture in our drought time. Not a promise of rain but a stay from the later day heating up to summer temperatures. It is, after all, almost Thanksgiving.
An old Corona typewriter sits on the corner of my desk, like an over-sized paper weight, but a proper reminder to me — a visual invitation. An old Alphasmart that belonged to a dear friend who was a writer leans against the window sill as a marker for the daily free write. Robert would do his ten minute free writes on the portable device with an easy keyboard. I’m still adjusting to the compactness of my Chromebook keyboard.
Only a few other objects grace the gold painted top of this old vanity turned writing desk. It amuses me that the furniture was once a vanity. Now the mirror is my window out into the lanterns and back yard foliage. The drawers have pencils and odd journals and things that have nothing to do with hair styling or makeup. A box of pencils and pens with sharp scissors leans by the typewriter. I have a jar, a squareish glass jar with a wide lide that contains pink sticky notes. The blank pad sits atop the jar. At the beginning of the year I wrote down good things, things that gave me joy, moments of gratitude and layered them into the jar. I haven’t been attending to it — which is a usual style. Start something energetically, work at it over-the-top and lose interest.
I’m interested in gratitude and looking at the layers of my year will be engaging. In fact, I’ll stop and write a few recent notes since the pink jar has made it to my writing desk from the kitchen counter. I’ll record what a treat it was to go out to dinner with a girl friend last night, on short notice. I’ll say how mysterious the 5 foot box that contains my new porch rail and how grateful I am it arrived the day the contractor is installing it. And another note will be simple thanks for Veterans…and a day off from my usual labors to attend to more interesting ones.
But this little corner with a desk where I do not do anything except write [no bill paying or homework here] is a picture of carving out some creative space in my life.
Saturday morning I gave a workshop for teachers on narrative writing. Sunday I went to Crema to meet with a teacher friend. We call ourselves “PD partners in crime.” We were planning another series — after school sessions and debriefing about our experience presenting on Saturday.
There is a tremendously drained, emptied out, need to recharge the batteries we both experienced. Asking ourselves why, especially L. since she is young and works out, we came upon this. Introversion. And we have given, given, given…It helped me know what my introvert daughter must feel after an hour at a family gathering.
The other pull on the energy is the critique that is already going on before the presentation is already done. The mental revision and the self-evaluation that is always a teensy bit critical. So, we’re writers! Introverts and tuned in to both creativity and critique!
At my stage of life, I often wonder why I do these extra things at all. I realized that designing and delivering presentations on writing instruction is writing. It’s a genre. It’s a sport. And as I reflected on our plans for the next pd with my partner in crime we realized that our Sunday morning meetings at Crema is our writing group. I’d been feeling so badly that the other teacher consultants who meet monthly after school on a Wednesday hadn’t worked out for me. But I have my writing group! [Besides my summer group with co-directors at SJAWP].
That’s worthy of a pink sticky note.
So the sun is pushing out under gray cloud and the softness of the backyard is slipping away. I can feel the projects and demands of the day looming. My cat still sleeps on the crocheted blanket on the couch. I linger a few moments feeling the keyboard.
I want to be here everyday, pushing into whatever thoughts or ideas meet me. I meditate every morning. How early, how dark and and how cold would it be to sit here on a workday? Ugh. Just enjoy the lack of time crunch, the unfolding of thought and light. The click of keyboard and a second cup of Earl Grey.
And someday I’ll stop posting first drafts to my blog.