General 8-8-2002

Making in Place

A Place to Write

I write in the mornings. I go to sleep thinking about a story and then I wake up with paragraphs hovering. I write until I encounter the first distraction. When the phone rings or the neighbor kids run through the garden, I’m done for the day.

I thought that was the entire process until I was awarded a two-week residency at a writers’ retreat.

At first, as I wrote, I felt the same as I did at home but on the third day of the retreat, something amazing happened. The clutter blew away from my mind and it left me with a smooth place, a lake where I could fly like a bird, just an inch above the water for a long, long time. In that place, I could write and edit my work without distraction. For 12 days, the work was cleaner, clearer, and stronger. I couldn’t believe how much I got done. I was astonished by the voice I found.

But the two weeks ended. My friend came to pick me up. At first I found I could hold that quiet place inside me. My sea of calm was encapsulated in an egg-shaped shell, and it stayed intact.

Driving home, I felt the thin membrane begin to erode as the clutter returned. The billboards, radio, and our conversation did damage. At home, it wasn’t long before the TV, newspapers, email, phone messages, and junk mail overpowered it.

So now, I write in the morning again. I wake at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and write. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I get my sea of calm back.

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