A Writing Space

15 Jul

I’ve been surprised and delighted by the writers who’ve popped up in my friendship circles since starting this blog.

Where do you go, to write?  Do you have a sacred space, a ritual, a lucky pen?  Do you write notes, letters, shopping lists, ad copy, mathematical equations, stories?  Are you starting a blog of your own?

Throughout the years, I’ve mostly written alone in the bedroom – on my bed, with a drink of some kind on the bedside table, and the door closed.  Sometimes I’ve written in the library.  In college, it was on the cement floor of a dorm basement, with a web of colorful pipes overhead guiding the flow of water.  During our year in London, I wrote during my daughter’s naps, with her in the stroller alongside me at Starbucks, or in the middle of Hampstead Heath with green stretching in every direction, or once, I scribbled under an umbrella on a bus stop bench while my daughter leaned her head to the side, protected by a plastic rain flap attached with velcro to the roof of her stroller.  Lately, I’m trying out coffee shops in my neighborhood.

I don’t need quiet, but I do need focus.  I write with friends occasionally, when they are also motivated to write… when we can avoid the spiral into conversation, criticism, witticism, complaints.  When we can hold the space for one another, to write.

I require a beverage, pen, paper and purpose – an open mic, a blog post, a letter, a publication – a latte, lemonade, diet coke, Fat Tire (“yuppie beer” according to my partner’s father, who always stocks it for me when we visit.)

This week, still, the words wouldn’t come.  They don’t always.

But this week when I came home from the coffee shop, I asked my daughter to write with me.  This was a whole new kind of writing.  We agreed that each of us would write a page, draw a picture, and hand it back.  We have no timeline, no plans, no structure but this – each of us chooses what happens on the page that is ours – and we have a spiral notebook that we share.  So far, we’ve written about a young girl with beautiful hair, who likes to wear it in a long braid off to one side.  My daughter takes me in directions I’m unlikely to go on my own.

A high school friend has agreed to write with me, too – a sentence, a paragraph, or a page each day.  We’ve hardly been in touch for twenty years. She’s brilliantly creative, and she has sons.  There’s no telling what will happen.

The point is to write.  I know this because of a book lent to me by another friend – Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott – or because of Natalie Goldberg, or because I’ve been alive in this skin and spirit for forty-two years now and writing is like breath.

But I have questions for you today, and I hope you’ll respond: Where do you write (if you write)? And when?

And whether you write shopping lists, science fiction, math or music – I want to thank you for holding this space with me today.  I want to thank you for visiting my blog. For writing me back. For writing. Thank you.

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6 Responses to “A Writing Space”

  1. Barb July 15, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I write in my head a lot. Which, I know, doesn’t do much good unless I eventually get it down on paper. When I do actually sit down to write, I usually do so stretched out on our firm, comfy living room sofa with my laptop, preferably in low light. It relaxes me. My other favorite spot is on the big chair-and-a-half on our enclosed front porch, preferably in the morning before anyone else is up. I sit with the windows open, listen to the birds at work and play and a strong cup of coffee on the table next to me. I also love writing in quiet bars with a good, hoppy pint in front of me, although that happens much less frequently than it once did.

    So, until my laptop and I get a chance (hopefully this weekend) to stretch out on the couch, I will continue writing bits and pieces in my head. With any luck, the good stuff will stick and make it to paper.

    • rrp69 July 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      I feel grounded just reading this description of your writing mornings. Thank you for sharing.
      May all the best bits stick!

    • Joy July 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      I, too, write in my head a lot – then I never put it on paper. My intentions are always to write more than I do. I do well to go to the Buzz Cafe in Oak Park, or to a bagel shop, take my computer or a journal – then I write. If I make the space, something always comes out of it. Unfortunately, when I try to write at home, there’s always something else tugging at me – kids, dogs, cat, laundry, unswept floor, cans of paint lined-up in the dining room (that’s what I’m headed to right now).

      • rrp69 July 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

        Maybe you can write on the walls! With paint. Big splashes. Then cover it over with more paint. The layered approach.

  2. Anonymous July 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    How nice to find out that you are writers too. I write in my head and do get in down on paper because I belong to a weekly writers group with whom I share my work and am critiqued. I am very involved with some medical issues but hope to set up a daily schedule. I may need to go to the library to write or do it late at night. Alice

    • rrp69 July 21, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      It’s great to hear from you, Alice! Thank you for sharing. I belonged to a writers group, too, awhile ago and it was amazing motivation to get things down on the page. Also inspiring. Take care – good luck – and I hope you’ll stop by again. ~ RoiAnn

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