Here, I write. In the dining room, the heart of the house. The walls are the richest chocolate brown, but I’m thinking of repainting this summer. Maybe red. I love a red room. My office, the space I created for writing, is red. It’s upstairs on the very edge of the house. You get there by walking up a back staircase or walking through other bedrooms. It feels like a hidden room. I thought I was going to love working there, but I don’t. It’s too cold in winter and too hot in summer. It feels so far away from the rest of the house. I sit there and listen for my son’s voice, my husband’s voice, and wonder what I’m missing.
Here, I write. I try to ignore the clutter and the mess. Keeping the house neat is so important for my sanity, but something has happened in the last month, and I can’t seem to keep it neat. I know what has happened. My son has happened. He has been home from school recovering from his concussion; he has been sleeping downstairs in the living room; and now he’s being homeschooled. He has many more hours in the day at home to leave his things all over the place and not to pick them up. He has so many hours in the day when he’s projecting. Projects make clutter. And the time my husband and I used to spend cleaning and de-cluttering is now spent engaging and entertaining our son. I strategize new ways to manage the mess. I commit to ten minutes a day of de-cluttering. I wonder if I could let this one go.
Here, I write. There is a cat in my lap. There is always a cat. Usually it’s Frances, my morning cat, my afternoon cat, my all the time cat. She’s cat number six, and when my husband complains about six being too many, I always say, but what about Frances? Six is exactly the right number because Frances is number six and everyone loves Frances best. She is sweet but not cloying. Smart but not too clever for her own good. Interesting but not weird. She likes everyone but still has a way of making you feel special when she singles you out for attention.
Here, I write. I smell the last dregs of my coffee, and I think about making a second cup. I also smell dog, which is less pleasant. Roxy is my other constant morning companion. She curls up on the armchair, and I cover her with a blanket. It’s always a little bit too cold in this drafty old house. Roxy is an old dog now, eleven or twelve, and she smells like Doritos and bad breath, even when her mouth is closed. Her black face is now nearly white, her eyes are beginning to cloud. Her joints ache in the morning, and she walks stiffly outside and then comes back in for another nap.
Here, I write. I’m reading more than I write. I always do. It feels like a visit with dear friends. I bookmark several ideas I might return to later. I try to comment generously. So many new-to-me slicers. I remember how much comments meant to me when I was a new blogger. I think about how much they still mean to me. I remind myself to focus on the craft too, not just the content. It’s so easy to connect to the content. It takes more careful thought to attend to the craft.
Here, I write. It’s morning, and I’m the only one awake. I love my mornings, but I resist giving myself wholeheartedly to a piece of writing because I’ve got one ear out for interruptions. My son will wake and call me. Most mornings, he bellows. But sometimes, he calls softly, so softly his voice can’t be heard easily over the fans we use for white noise. As soon as he calls, I abandon the computer and race to the living room and throw the kind of fit I now specialize in, the kind of fit that starts his day off right. I’ve missed you so much! I will say. I don’t even know how I lived without you for these twelve hours! I’m so glad you’re awake! He will tell me to be quiet, tell me I’m weird, but there will be a smile on his lips. He will command me to read to him, and the rest of my day will start.
Here, I write.
Thanks to Michelle for inspiring the “Here, I write” repeating structure.