At the beginning of each year I have my students draw and discuss their favorite place to write. They sketch a comfy chair in a sunny window, a shady hammock in their garden, they draw snacks and pets and squiggly notes to represent music. One girl drew her pink laptop. Pink! I want one – sorry, Huey, if I could trade you in for a pink version of you, you’d be history.
And every year I feel like a bit of a monster as I do this. Because I don’t have comfy chairs or shady hammocks. And while I can sometimes play music to inspire those that like writing to music, and sometimes have silence for those that like that, I’m not allowed to bring in the puggle pair (I’ve asked), and I don’t have pink laptops to give to each of them. (Pink! I wonder if I could paint Huey…)
So essentially I have my students draw their ideal and then respond with a “Too bad. Enjoy your wobbly desk and clicky pencil that ran out of lead.”
But isn’t the world like this as well?
I have an ideal writing place: a desk made out of refurbished antique door that’s situated in a giant picture window with an amazing view. It’s got wireless speakers and a printer, and a laptop that could only be more fabulous if it was PINK. There’s a window seat where the puggles wriggle in sunbeams, a wall that’s painted with whiteboard and even a inspirational sign that reads: “And they lived happily ever after” so that I remember how stories should end on the days I want to throw my not-pink laptop through the picture window.
But how often do I have time to take advantage of this writing space? Um, never. My writing is slotted in during fits and spurts. Insomniac attacks and while cooking dinner. Composed while running and typed while trying to watch the weather, carry on a phone conversation, and figure out what Biscotti’s sneaking off to do.
Writing happens while waiting at the doctor’s office, I type ideas on Petunia (my Blackberry – she’s pink), while on the elliptical trainer (you’d be impressed by my elliptical handwriting, it’s definitely improving!), writing happens while I’m showering, driving, teaching, reading… living.
So why do I teach this lesson year after year if I can’t match their drawings of the ideal? For the same reason that I keep writing even when I can’t get to my writing nook to do so. Writing is a part of life – it’s not something that occurs only during a designated timeslot or the magical forces of the universe combine to create perfect conditions.
And one of these days I’ll find the time to clear the laundry and dusty post-its off my writing nook and use it as it’s intended . . . Can’t complain though, because as I type this, watch the Oscars, answer parent e-mails, Twitter, and plan dinners for the week, I’ve also got a warm dozy puggle in my lap, a computer that’s great (even if it’s not pink), and a great soundtrack on I-tunes. Ideal? No. But absolutely satisfying all the same.