My fantasy when I’m feeling my best: That I’ll come down with a cold so that I have to remain in bed, allowing me write to my heart’s content.
The reality is that when I do get a cold, my head is so stuffed that I can’t think straight. My eyes are puffed to slits, my ears are stopped and my brain floats inert in a dead calm sea of snot.
I also can’t lie in bed because the dogs want to be up there with me, which wouldn’t be so bad except that Mo, the 6 month-old Goldendoodle, wants to lie on top of me. As in: on top of my face. Sniffing my nostrils. Taking a lick of them to see what delectable delights are hidden up in there.
Bed is not the place for fiction writing, anyway. Not for me. The only good writing I’ve done in bed has been radio ads for marketing clients. In a prone position, I seem unable to daydream ways to extricate my protagonist from his latest conundrum, but I can always summon a turn of phrase that will aid my clients in hawking diamond rings, aluminum siding, or farm fertilizer.
I think it’s time for a new fantasy, wherein a writer’s garret replaces the bed. I like the garret part. But please, no Victorian illness like consumption. I simply can’t write when I’m sick.
I’ve been reading up on several authors worth their salt and find that a number of them don’t keep a journal.
What a relief.
I think it means I can finally stop putting pressure on myself to write in a journal. At this point in my life, I seem to relate better to a keyboard. It could be that I’m just lazy because my handwriting isn’t as good as it used to be; my hands ache when I write.
I have so many journals sitting in the top cupboard of my desk, lovely handcrafted tapestries of paper that remain blank. I have good intentions when I buy them but can’t bring myself to sully their purity. I don’t want these things of beauty subjected to my railings against injustices or my self-absorbed searches for meaning and purpose.
In the end, maybe I’m just not a pretty-paper kind of writer. I’m more of a scrapper, nimble with sheets of lined notebook paper and a cadre of Post-It Notes. There’s not as much pressure to produce, but rather motivation and propulsion to get that one idea down before it dissolves into the ether.
Maybe one of these days I’ll start storing the scraps of paper and Post-Its in a journal. It’s a start.
More than turkey with gravy, chestnut stuffing, or pumpkin pie, the thing I most look forward to at Thanksgiving dinner is the “The Ten Second Miracle;” that moment when the person carving the turkey says, “Let’s go around the table and say what each of us is grateful for this year.”
You’ll hear groans, and someone will mutter, “This is so corny.” Then, you’ll take ten seconds to stop and think about what you’re going to say.
The room becomes quiet as each person relates the one thing that keeps them getting out of bed each morning. It’s guaranteed that the closer you are to being at the end of the group, the more emotional and heartfelt your gratitude statement will be.
Why don’t we give ourselves the small, precious gift of ten seconds every day to be thankful for something specific? Gratitude is a powerful force, capable of mending fences and harvesting hope. Gratitude has saved more lives than we’ll ever know.
My wish for you this Thanksgiving is the gift of freedom to share your gratitude with the ones you love, and an open mind to receive the ideas of others, even when they seem foreign to you.
May you carry the gratitude of the Thanksgiving holiday with you every day of your life.
Last evening, as the puppies played in the backyard, I pulled my hoodie up over my head and lay back on the small expanse of grass near the master bedroom. The sun was setting, sending the last bright light of evening upward.
As I looked up, my eye caught what I first thought to be some kind of sky writing. Was that a crooked smiley face I was seeing? I suddenly realized it was a flock of white birds, flying in a loose, curved formation. They were so high up that I could barely make them out; but they had to have been large birds because I could see wing movement as they flew. The sun caught them from underneath, tinging their wings with a shimmering coat of silver.
I thought they might be pelicans, but now know they must have been Great White Egrets on their way south, to winter near Tucson. They migrate from Canada, and have been noted in record numbers throughout southern Arizona over the last couple of years.
The moment filled me with a rare sense of peace of joy; I stared after them until the sun no longer held them.
If I hadn’t been on my back looking straight up, I’d never have seen them.
What else, besides satellites and meteors, flies so silently overhead, undetected?