I’m in an attic toned the sepia gray of memory and old. I walk, pushing aside with soft hands the chairs that need recaning, trunks bowed with space, those stand-alone ovular mirrors that seem to inhabit only attics. Stacks of framed photos and paintings that might be good if only we knew what “good” was in a painting. And dust lit to dance in the sun that comes through a hexagonal morning.
This is the space I wade through each morning when I sit down to the page. An attic of brain cells. Synapses of spent and resaved memory and observation and emotion. I wander through these things until I can focus. Zoom in, hone to that one thing – a photo of a woman in a black dress, her hair pulled back . . .
It is the act of writing that gets me here . . . not thinking. . . not even thinking about writing. In some way that a neuroscientist or guru might be able to explain, the physical act of writing pushes me through the collection of things that are me and lets me narrow the frenzy to one thing – the image, the story, the next word.
This morning I began a new practice – or really an old practice that I have taken on over and over again but was this time inspired by an article about the value of “keeping a notebook.” I decided yesterday that I was going to do this – write in a notebook for 15 minutes every day. I’m not going to try to be especially eloquent or produce a particular work (although the opening two paragraphs of this post came through that exercise today). I’m just going to write . . . help clear out the beautiful debris to find that one thing that is today’s work.
Some days, this 15 minutes will be all my writing, especially with my wedding gloriously approaching, but some days, this will be the tiny spark that gets me to more and more pages – to my 1,000 words five days a week.
I’d love to have you try it with me if you would. We can pretend like we are sitting in an attic . . . or maybe a treehouse together writing in our journals. If you’d like to give it a go, comment below, and I’ll check in from time to time here and on Facebook to see how we’re all doing.
15 minutes – mine ran from 7:49-8:04 am today. One writing goal accomplished for today. That’s not nothing.