Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Place to Begin

“My strength returns to me with my cup of coffee and the reading of the psalms.”
        ~Dorothy Day

Last week, I took a break from the discussion - counting on Jenna and Mr. Pond to forgive me. Though I was in town all day, with somewhat regular internet access, I ended up not having the time, focus, or quiet necessary to write. This week I wrote up the discussion post under the patter of late April rain, on Thursday while my family slept. This late-night, thoughtful drafting of posts is a habit I hope to continue, especially if the discussion take the slight - but not too concrete turn I hope to inspire in later posts.  Jenna reminded me last week that our discussion is reaching it’s anniversary. I honestly never expected it to go on so long. We’ve covered a lot of ground in that year, and I’m looking forward to reading over our oldest posts, to remind myself exactly how much ground. I don’t want to become repetitive. This week I want to focus a bit on beginnings, on where the stories start.

“I feel as if this tree knows everything I ever think of when I sit here. When I come back to it I never have to remind it of anything; I begin just where I left off.”
          ~Willa Cather

The writing desk I share with my husband is a good place for ideas to grow. On it are attractive things to encourage the mind, usually not too many, though it can become a place for seed packets, bills, and liquor bottles to collect. It looks out over what will be the goat pasture and into the woods. The desk nurtures ideas, but I don’t go there for inspiration, the trees themselves inspire, and sometimes all it takes is a walk among the birches, watching them sway, hearing the small sounds of the woods and letting them grow. Stories come best for me out of doors, or driving, with no way to record them. I think it’s because in the woods I am almost alone with my own mind, almost. In the woods I’m in near silence but with feeling, the energy of life all around. Like driving alone in the car, out on the road with hundreds of others, also alone.

I think the stories start in places like these because they like to be welcomed, but hate to be called. They aren’t muses exactly, but they are something; mindless hauntings that hang around in the back of my mind, waiting for a moment when I can really see them again. Beginnings can be awkward times, I'd rather start in the middle, with the opening done, but with the potential for change. I begin writing in spurts, with no commitment. It's only after a careless while I can move to relationship, to begin to love my words.

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