I’m wrapped in the sunny shadow of an afternoon, the car windows tempering the wind and holding in the warm.  I stare out at the powerlines above, and I hear it . . . the whisper of a story. 4387746215

So I begin to sing.  A winding tale . . . of . . . of. . . I can’t remember.

But this was my experience as a child on road trips . . . the way the line of power brought story-song to mind.  These are my first memories of knowing I wanted to write.

I cannot remember at all what the stories were about. I can’t remember if I sang them outloud or to myself.  My parents never mentioned me singing if that’s any indication.

But that experience – of watching those electrified strings and using them to guide my thoughts on a story – that I remember.

***

On one family trip, we stayed at a hotel – one of those uniform rooms where the bathroom seems to be cut back into a cave of sheetrock.  I don’t know why we were at a hotel – most of our travels involved campgrounds or family living rooms. But this night, we were in a hotel.

Actually, I don’t remember the night – I just remember the next morning – 30 miles from the hotel – when I realized that my “boo banky,” the one with the satin on the top, was still rustled under the hotel blankets.  I told my parents, but we were too far along to go back.

I cried, and as I sat behind my dad in the driver’s seat, I looked out the window and watched the power lines . . .

Their shine, their ongoing line, the way they stilled my mind and cradled my sad heart so that I could write lines of my own.

***

Now, puzzles slow my thoughts, calm my racing heart when the list of “to do”s outpaces my will to take it slow.  In the soft curves of their tabs and slots, I find breath and words again.  Curved this time, like the slight slope of a cable tied between two poles.

Sometimes what I most need as a writer is the ability to focus the racing, loud part of myself on something else . . . so that the whisper of words can climb out from behind the raucous nature of doing.

Sometimes, I just need power lines or a thousand puzzles pieces. . . . to be able to hear.

What calms your mind so that you can hear the words?

In my February newsletter, which goes out Monday, I will be offering 25% off (a savings of $75) for one seat in each of my March writing workshops.  To be eligible, just sign up for the newsletter at the top right-hand corner of this page. Thanks.