grown ups are like that....

Friday, January 6, 2012

45 Minutes

This is a writing exercise that I learned about from Sarah at copyright1982. It is a bit different from most of the pieces I write here, but I thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit.

Here is the prompt (Originally from an article by John Smolens in The Writer) taken directly from Sarah's post which you can find here:

1. Focus on where you write (45 minutes).

Write for a minimum of 45 minutes, describing where you are as you write, how you are writing (using pencil and paper, computer, etc.) and why you have chosen this particular time of day to write, Simply describe your physical location, what about it makes you comfortable–or uncomfortable.


Start, 9:25 am, January 6th, 2011.

Here I go. I'm a little nervous that I don't have the complete details of the prompt, but I'm too eager (always a problem for me) to get started. I don't have a subscription to The Writer, so I'm going on just what she posted at her blog.

In any case, I suppose I'll start by describing where I am and any random thoughts that enter my mind as I go.

I'm in my study with orange walls, three aloe vera plants, a conch shell, a jade plant, and some other succulent plant that I have no name for. I'm listening to "Falling Slowly" on my ipod which is making me feel melancholy.

There is a plate in front of me with LOTS of crumbs from the early morning tortilla chip snack I just had. Who does this? Who eats chips at nine am? I do, I suppose.

Right now I'm fighting the urge to clean up the mess on my desk. Notepads, a pea green binder, and some advil (kept close in case this week's migraine makes a return), some mini-wallet size pictures of the kids that I need to send out, and a hand out from the speech therapist.

Ok, ok, I'm moving on with the exercise. . . in the little cubby hole right above my computer screen is a collection of little crystals and gem stones. My favorite is a flat, transparent opal. It isn't sparkly like most opals you see in jewelry. Instead the color is luminous and liquid, and I often hold it in my hand when I am day dreaming. It has a particular name, this type of opal, but if I look it up now I'll just get distracted.

The room is cold. The heater just kicked on, so I'm hopeful it will warm up a bit. Besides, the sun is shining brightly, and that will help warm things up, too.

Here's another favorite nick-knack that sits in one of my many little desk top cubby holes: It is a candle shaped like a cupcake. The "frosting" is pink and sparkly, and there is a fake candy mint on top and fake little gumdrops around the edge. I seriously love this candle. I've never burned it, because it would break my heart to watch it melt.

It still smells like incense in here. Santa left some incense in my stocking, so I've been burning it in the morning when I meditate. I'm still not sure if I like it or not. The scent is heavy and reminds me of my college days and dorm rooms and late nights and stale cigarettes.

Van Morrison has come on the ipod now: "Into the Mystic." I think Van is the only artist that I can listen to over and over and over and never get sick of his songs. I used to think this about my beloved Cowboy Junkies, but after a while I do get a little bored with them. Unless, of course, I'm listening to the Trinity Session. Should I post some videos with this blog later when I spell check? We'll see.

Twenty minutes left. I'm starting to think that this will end up being a really, really boring post.

There are two desks is in my study. The one I sit at now is a computer desk. It's "Mission Style" with a dark chocolate stain. I pretty much love it. The other desk, behind me and to the left, is a large teacher's desk a friend's father gave to me. I use it for my crafts and projects. Well, I am not actually very crafty, but I like to pretend I am. I have a large box from Big Lots that contains hundreds of pieces of scrap paper, though I don't use it for scrap books. I use it to make homemade cards and little hand sewn books. I usually don't make time to cultivate this craft.

The phone is sitting here, just in case. I'm expecting an important call, and I have the feeling that the phone will ring right in the middle of this exercise or when I get in the shower. Oops, I guess that means that I've just admitted to not having taken a shower yet. I'll get to it.

I keep looking over at the peach wing backed chair just to my left by the open closet door. It is covered with a piano blanket that I bought about sixteen years ago now. It looks old fashioned and eclectic, all reds and golds and muted greens with fringe rimming the edges. It would be great to say that I picked it up at an antique store and that the owner told me a wildly romantic story about the famous pianist who once owned it. But I can't. It would also be cool if I could tell you that I found it in my grandma's attic buried under dusty quilts and old photos in an ancient steamer truck. But neither of these stories are true. I bought it at J.C. Penny. I thought it would add some flair to my boring grad school apartment. And you know what? It did add flair. It really is pretty.

Ten more minutes.

It is still freezing in here, and I would love a cup of tea to warm my bones. I suppose I can wait ten more minutes.

On the wall above my computer is a framed collage of pictures that my mother made for my grandmother in the 1970s. There are lots of great pictures of my family. My two favorites: 1) A head shot, from the side, of me at about three years old. I'm wearing a simple, white Easter bonnet, and my face is raised to the sun. My eyes are closed and I have a little, gentle smile on my face. 2) A picture of my childhood dog, Prince, as a puppy. He is a white puff ball (he's a Samoyed) under our Christmas tree. A disembodied hand (probably my father's) holds a ball in front of him. The hand is sightly blurry as if the person holding it was waving it up and down just as the picture was snapped.

I just realized that I have five candles in this room. I am an obsessive candle burner. Except, of course, the cupcake. I pick it up and sniff it. It really does smell like vanilla cake! It is even sitting in a little foil cupcake tin that one could easily pull away if you wanted to take a bite. I'm now thinking that I want to spend some time on-line shopping for more cupcake candles. Maybe they make them in other scents and colors. Chocolate with peanut butter frosting, perhaps? Red velvet with cream cheese frosting, maybe?

Now I'm hungry.

Stop, 10:10 am, January 6, 2011.


Sarah said...

I love Cowboy Junkies.

I like the exercise, but if I were assigning it, for a class, say, I'd give the students no more than ten or fifteen minutes in which to complete it.

How do you think it would have gone differently if you'd had a much shorter amount of time? Curious...

Anne Panning said...

Where did you get the candle? I found this fascinating--to get a glimpse into the desk life of a person as she writes. It's such a cool little window that reveals a lot.

Anonymous said...

i like your writing spot better than mine! what a fun exercise :)

carrie said...

I give you credit--I wanted to read this. I'm not sure I could craft a piece about my writing area and make the reader want to read it! :)

De said...

I think the extended time period is useful for uncovering the unexpected. Despite knowing Christine online for years, i learned a lot about her. I also got a lot of ideas reading this, so maybe 45 minutes is worth investing if you're blocked.