Space – The Stuff that Writing is Made Of
“Look at the space where you write,” says our writing coach. “Is it inviting? Does it promote creativity? How would you design a space for an honored guest?”
My classmates nod and jot down these questions dutifully while I wipe up the tea I just splurted all over my journal. At the moment, I’m pretty sure I don’t have “a writing space”. I have keyboards. I have screens. I have journals and pens. But a “space”?
I do have writing “time”. I have scheduled time in my calendar plus stolen time where I write in between work, vacuuming, child rearing, waving to my husband, and burning something for dinner. But this “space thing”…I just don’t know. That’s a whole different cartridge of ink.
I decide to investigate – here is my report:
WHERE I WRITE by BJ Belling
1. My Head. It’s not a bad head, as heads go. Inviting? Well, the ruffly outside is kind of fun. Promote creativity? Hmmmm….the imagination department seems to be coming online – much more activity than, say, 3 years ago. I notice, however, that the Fight-or-Flight area is on alert a bit often – something about lots of change and feeding on mac-‘n’-cheese. Made a mental note to sooth this area more often, but can’t seem to fit it in…oh! Wow…the Mental Note department is way overcrowded. Too many gangs of Cruddy Thoughts lurking about. Time for a purge and bit of redecorating. An Honored Guest might like a bit of violet chiffon with a touch of gold inlay – will get on that straight away.
2. On the Go. Includes driving, exercising, showering, and maybe grocery shopping if I have a list that I stick to and don’t have a child with me saying “can we try this? can we buy this?”. I find it curious that I do NOT write when I’m shopping for a new purse… but I’ll leave that addiction alone for now. If I have an idea worth writing down (and they are ALL brilliant ideas, aren’t they?), I locate any scrap of paper and writing instrument – which could mean I scratch with my nail at the back of a receipt. A little precarious when driving a car or grocery cart, perhaps. I tried fumbling with a digital recorder a couple of times but the sounds of “gak!” and “oh no!” and falling displays of all-natural dog food put a damper on my A-hah!-moments. Probably not Honored Guest friendly.
3. My Office. Where there are at least two sides to every story:
a. On the plus side there are two windows. One overlooks our front yard and street; the other, my neighbor’s house. Out of these windows I see my neighbor’s neat-as-can-be yard, a flowering bush, a bit of sky, and people ducking to avoid a concussion from the oak tree that leans over the sidewalk.
b. On the minus side, my office is the place where Papers come to retire, living out their golden years free from confined spaces. The Papers have been so comfortable here that word got around and now many Household Items have joined in, such as, The Old Computer, The Empty Vitamin Bottle, and The Paper Bowl which I’ve stepped over at least a dozen times because I just can’t bring myself to disturb its daily meditation.
I know the Honored Guest Remedy for this, but thinking about it requires more oxygen than is available in here. I move on.
4. Peet’s Coffee & Tea. A cosmopolitan atmosphere, Peet’s offers just enough din to both fuel inspiration and drown out people’s gall-bladder stories. Other than once in awhile needing to locate an open table by using my super-powers (i.e. I stare at the back of someone’s head until they think they’re being haunted and leave), it is the perfect place for me. I just make sure I purchase enough stuff to pay for my seat but not so much that I look like I’m paying for my seat, ifyouknowwhatImean. Oh, and the coffee here will knock your toe rings right off. Definitely an Honored Guest spot.
So, in retrospect, this is not TOO bad. I honestly didn’t think I had any writing space at all! Although I’m fairly certain an Honored Guest would pass on the window seat in my office (see “b” above) or a ride in a grocery cart, a trip to Peet’s could definitely work. And if not, there’s always a lovely spot in the center of my mind.
© Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, All Rights Reserved
All photographs & drawings are original and © Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, unless otherwise noted.