What a relief. For a few weeks now, I’ve been diligently indulging my creative process, but writing just wasn’t happening. Only one or two days a week have ended up with me writing more than a paragraph or two of actual fiction since I moved here.
Not for lack of trying. I filled my head with the symbolism of Raven, Yew, and the lyrics of Poe. I listened to mountain wolves howling in a thunderstorm, imagined the setting around me back in Poe’s time, and kept my writer’s journal within quick reach.
When occasions to write did pop up, they were brief and distracting. Too many days of errands. Too many frustrations and complications settling in to a new home and routine. Too energetic of a toddler testing every tiny dangerous or irritating thing in her new environment.
I was writing, a little, but all my ideas seemed empty and none of them shined any more than the others. My focus just stuttered and fizzled, and nothing seemed to be developing into anything worthy.
I finally had one of those moments though; when something so obvious hits you that you feel embarrassed for missing it for so long.
I’ve already been wanting to go to cool places to write, to creatively express certain atmospheres. I’ve been thinking of it as a tourist activity, my family keeping an eye on her while I jot down some notes inspired by the location.
But why do I have to wait for them to be with me?
We take a lot of walks. When Princess Tomboy starts trying to see if the curtains will work as a swing, or what the loudest banging noise she can find might be, a long walk is just the thing to settle her down. We spend most of our morning on strolls with my Craig’s list freebie camera at the ready for interesting natural treasures.
So why on earth haven’t I been stopping places for a quick little picnic and some light writing? If I can find a way to keep her entertained while she’s safely strapped into the stroller, then I will have the ability to focus on something without worrying about her.
I mean duh, field work is basic routine exercise for art, photography, and writing. I enjoy them all, and have been doing different kinds of field work since I was a teen.
Right now, my monsterling will only stay quiet for a minute or two while I try to grab a quick bumblebee close up, but if I work with her enough we might find some ways to extend that to a few minutes to write, or even start doing some sketching on location.
I know several places I’d like to revisit, including numerous cemeteries that seem to be hidden all over the neighborhood.
One in particular has stones half hidden in the grass, stones so old the names faded away, a spot that dates back to the original Dutch settlers of the area.
But wait, there’s more.
Abandoned places eaten by vines and graffiti. Moss-covered stone walls flanked by polished stone lions. Homes that tell the story of decline over the generations as new homes rise up next to them bursting with prosperity.
Crumbling nooks and crannies full of moss and twisted trees pushing up patterns in the sidewalk with their roots, reminders this was once all old growth forest lush from the ocean air. Were there wolves still sometimes roaming the edges of the city back in the time of Poe?
Places that tell stories. Places where I might have to plop down on the sidewalk to spend a moment with my writing, but I certainly can do so, as long as the toddler is content with where we are.
Just knowing that I’ve found a way to protect my writing time was enough to get my inner muse talking smoothly. The realization happened in the morning and by the evening several shallow ideas clicked together into a shiny multifaceted idea quite worthy of illuminating Grim.
It reminded me of how all I had to do in Tulsa was set up a desk all of my own. The next thing I knew, everything started clicking into place and my notebooks filled quickly.
I finally hear the cracking of an egg as a young story is ready to emerge, and it will be nurtured as I explore the city. I will learn to take my protected writing space with me, adaptable and persistent.
I have totally got to get my hands on some native seedbombs for pollinators and wildlife to leave around me while I explore. I’d have a blast doing it slingshot style.
P.S. – On the top menu is a link to a new page, inspired by too many sessions of fumbling around for links to text curious relatives and neighbors that want to see my writing. The Guided Tour lists some of my favorite bits of my blog.