Many writing articles advise getting away from your computer to write.
I even watched a movie recently (“I Capture the Castle” – which I loved, by the way) that suggested writing needed to take place away from the computer screen.
I do this, sometimes. In journals, notebooks, scraps of paper or corners of napkins. But I also write at my computer, and I am enormously grateful for the ability to neatly wipe away words, to cut and paste without scissors or glue, and to save in multiple places so that I don’t lose my notes.
My computer also allows me to post this, here.
I can’t imagine not writing on it.
You would think, that since I am so focused on moments and little details, that the idea for my journal would have come easier.
But it took me three months.
This beautiful custom journal that my husband had made for me for my fortieth birthday has waited for words for three months.
I made my first entry today, finally. It occurred to me that instead of rewriting my poems and stories (I already have books for those), and instead of using it as a journal (have that, too), I would use it to describe random moments.
And, since the moments are random, so to will be the order.
For my first entry, I opened to the middle of the book and began to write.
(I even got brave and wrote in pen.)
A pretty new journal, its crisp pages ready for words and ideas, is the promise of possibility.
It is a book that has yet to be written, a story that has yet to be shared.
There is no tension or drama; there is only hope.
I love to make lists. Apparently, I always have, because I found this in that old binder, too.
It organizes my day, my life in tasks. Motivates me to get things done. Inspires me to create. It is a visual reminder of what I would like to do and what I have done.
Finding this childhood list brought a smile to my face.
I still make those little boxes to check off, sometimes. I just don’t colour them in.
Blue typewriter, found at a yard sale by my mother-in-law many years past. How many stories were tapped out on its keys?
I love its retro colour and its potential for fun photo compositions.
I just snapped this photo for this week’s photo challenge…
Every morning, before the kids are up, I sit at my computer with my coffee. It is my quiet way to start the day. I check the weather, my emails, and yes, Facebook. It is also when I write my blog, and work on other writing.
This is where my stories and poems live.
I create them on the computer, but I keep them in a notebook. In black ink, I hand-write each one, then place the journal on my shelf with all my other books.
This way, I can’t lose them with a computer breakdown or a lost USB. They are organized and (sort of) published. This way, I make them a part of my book collection and I give them value.
I love to write. And I love books.
This way, I get both.
September is here. And with it, new activities, schedules, homework, packing lunches, and hectic mornings. In a small attempt to take the quiet moments of summer with me, I have compiled a list of things I have learned about appreciating the small details. With any luck, I will remember a few in the midst of rushing the kids from one commitment to the next. Here’s what I came up with:
Ten Ways to Enjoy the Little Things
1. Look for small details. There is beauty everywhere. The daisy poking through the sidewalk, the peeling paint on a door, the reflection of light in the teapot.
2. Close your eyes. Listen to every sound.
3. Pick up your pen. Write about everything, including the dust on the bookshelf and the dishes in the sink. There is a story there.
4. Go out with your camera. It helps to focus and be in the moment.
5. Be still. Stop rushing and notice the surroundings.
6. Go for a walk. Breathe deeply. Look and listen.
7. Read poetry. It celebrates the little things.
8. See the world through a child’s eyes. Everything is delightful to a toddler discovering the world.
9. Get up earlier than everyone else in the house. Listen to the quiet. Watch the sun come up. Savour the taste of coffee.
10. Turn off the computer, the tablets, the phones. What have you been missing?
Sometimes, it is the words on a page that give me pause.
I love to learn from books, to gather ideas from books. At the moment, I am reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I am slowly beginning to think of myself as a writer, aiming to have published work. But here is always that tiny inner voice, that is cause for hesitation.
This book makes me believe that I can, that I am.
It is the definition of inspiration.
I am at my Nanna’s and I am four years old.
My grandmother is a comfortable and loving presence. Other people are there, but they exist in my memory as shadows. Logically, I know who they are, but I cannot see them.
We are waiting.
My younger sister is with me. She is two and torments me. (Now, this is a joke among us, how she used to pick on me.) My parents are not there.
I can feel excitement and anticipation and a little uncertainty. We are in the kitchen, linoleum floor and metal table and wood cabinets lining the walls. The shadows are there, too. It is the gathering place in my Nanna and Pappy’s house.
The door opens and I am there, waiting. My father comes in.
“It’s a girl,” he says proudly.
I am happy.