Friday, October 24, 2014

Making Space

We're over halfway through with the semester. This is the time when shit gets crazy. Everything is due all at once, papers need to be graded, the reading load is as insane as always, and the weather is that perfect mix of sunshine and sweet breeze.  

But still, somehow, it's important to find time for quiet moments of introspection, moments where we make space for truth to seep in.

I had a breakthrough last weekend. A few, even. My roommate was out of town and the thought of being home alone all weekend was frightening at first. But something about the chill in the air got me to my senses. 

First, I drove over to Home Depot and bought the makings for a garden paradise: wood for a raised bed, a few seedlings, a shovel, and several plants with tags that read "low light." I had already spent way too much money at the USF Plant Sale the weekend prior, where I bought three different kinds of banana trees, a sweet almond bush, a variety of tomato seedlings, and salad seed packets for good measure. 

Now I had my shovel; I was ready to go. I got to work digging holes in the backyard and distributing horse manure from a local farm (my roommate has a horse so I have an compost connection!). When the trees were planted and the seedlings were watered, I got to work arranging my indoor plants. I’ve never really owned houseplants, or at least not since college when I needed something to perk up my dreary dorm room in the dead of winter. Although my life is not as dreary as it was then, my life is certainly not as plant-ful as it has been in the recent past. So I have conceded to the fact that I am just in a place in my life where I need a plant on my desk. And in the bathroom and on the kitchen counter. 

The next morning, a fellow writer and I headed to the beach for some sun and sea healing. While we sank our toes into the sand and soaked in the rays, we talked about – you guessed it – writing. She’s in her second year in the program so I picked her brain. I have basically been asking anyone who will speak to me about his or her writing process, mainly because I feel so at odds with my own. 

She told me that she has several writing spaces set up around her home, places that she has almost turned into sanctuaries, safe havens where she can do the hard work of facing the blank page. I thought about my own home, a safe haven in the making, and I realized my problem: there isn’t a single space where I want to sit down for a long time. I thought about my desk - a blank white closet door sitting on stools. My original intention was to use it as a writing table, but it had quickly turned into a receptacle for abandoned papers and random flotsam. Just thinking about it made me anxious. 

When I got home, I resolved to make my desk into a creative space – a space where I wanted to spend time. I hauled out the big computer that was dominating one side of the desk and moved my stack of magazines into the bathroom. I cleared away the wreckage and restored my desk to its original –blank- state.
I placed two potted plants on the windowsill in front of the desk, and sat down with nothing but a notebook, a pen, and a cup of tea. And I wrote. 

And I didn't get up.

Home sweet desk!

My roommate has her kitties... 

and I've got my plants!