Purple Flower Morning: Slice of Life #sol18 10/31

purple flower

I’m reading Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Textbook and she’s writing about the purple flower moment in Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and the “grand things” and “wee things” that readers wrote to her in response and the pies she sent to Mr. Evans (pecan, hardcover edition) and Ms. Hamilton (paperback edition).

This moment.

I write and read in the mornings at the dining room table, which is still a table and still in the dining room, but it belongs to the cats now. It’s the cat dining table, the cat standing to look outside table, the cat knocking stacks of books over table. Their food bowls and canned cat food plates spread out–five in total for eight cats to share. Even though I try to keep it tidy, it’s always a disaster. They are messy eaters, dropping dry food sticky with saliva onto the table. Nosing chunks of canned food off the plate and then looking as if they have no idea what to do with that bite now that it’s on a table and not a plate.

My laptop is here, ready to open, ready for reading slices. There is coffee in the lucky mug that I know is somehow buying me the time to write this morning while my son sleeps in. There are the school notebooks and printouts from World History that the cats have used as a skating rink, now fanned across the table. Three stacks of library books, stacked for now but ready to be tipped over by cats later. Index cards with quotes from Ralph Fletcher’s The Writing Teacher’s Companion. Three paint chips (Pop of Poppy, Bonjour, Cajun Shrimp). There are scraps of paper with book titles scribbled down. Another scrap with the beginnings of a grocery list (popcorn, almond milk).

There is the snoring dog, wrapped like a burrito in a blanket behind me, taking up a full three-quarters of the chair so that I perch uncomfortably on the edge. There is the snip of Smudge’s claws as he scales the back of the chair, ready to stretch out and rest from his morning’s run-and-chase with Zorro. There is the thunder of cat as Zorro entices another kitten to run-and-chase. A couple of minutes of deep breathing and closed eyes and Smudge is ready to join in again. Three cats thunder from one end of the house to the other. The dog, deaf now, snores through it all, stirring only when I get up for more coffee.


16 thoughts on “Purple Flower Morning: Slice of Life #sol18 10/31

  1. I love all of her books. So powerful, so important. I am still sitting in my chair by candlelight at noon. Reading, writing and responding for 5 hours now. My dog by my side, nudging me to move. Coffee has been refilled a few times. Life beckons me — errands, kids, a run — this moment is where I would love to stay today, but life beckons. Enjoy.

  2. I love AKR and all the inspiration she offered the world. Thank you for sharing where you are.

    Hunkered down with my writing at a lakeside Vermont house, coffee brewing, dogs rustling, other writers’s fingers clicking on keyboards. It’s a good day. A good life.

  3. I savor every thought Amy penned, her words always make me step back and consider life. Your descriptions create quite a fun scene in my mind, especially Zorro and his antics.

  4. Love your description of the cats’ table. Is there any spot in the house that doesn’t belong to them? I love when they do something like knock over a pile or crazily run from room to room and then stop to look at you as if to say, “What? I didn’t do that.”

  5. What a beautiful, descriptive piece! I could see everything you described so clearly. One of my favorite lines is “There are the school notebooks and printouts from World History that the cats have used as a skating rink, now fanned across the table.” Such a fresh metaphor that gives the reader a vivid sense of movement.

  6. I love Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s work. They are filled with so many inspirations for writing! I enjoyed your exercise with her work!

  7. I love AKR’s work, but I haven’t broken down and bought this one yet. It prompted another beautiful slice from you. With all of those cats, it’s hard to imagine that there’s room for a dog too! Cats are bossy, so I imagine he’s probably pretty low on the animal pecking order!

  8. Today at the VSRA conference, Mr. Schu read us AKRs I Wish You More, so when I saw your post, I knew that I had to read it. He also mentioned reading Textbook. I’m not sure if I could make it through that book yet, but it sounds like a true heart print book.

    I loved the descriptions of the cats in your post:) Your description painted such a vivid picture!

  9. Oh, lovely. And so much going on in such a small moment. What an interesting home you must live in. Never a dull moment, I’m guessing.

  10. Thank you for sharing this moment with us. Your words bring your dining room vividly to life. I can imagine all those cats and books so easily because it’s so similar to the scene at my house, right down to the snoring dog! Happy writing!

  11. Your description of this moment is so real–honestly feel as though I am right there with you. I am also enjoying the magic of my coffee cup helping me have some all-by-myself-writing-time this morning.

  12. I read this when you posted it, but I was still getting the hang of things & didn’t know what to say in the comments. SO… I stayed silent but put the book on my hold list at the library. And then I got the book on Thursday and drank it in like lemonade on a hot day. So so wonderful. But I couldn’t quite remember who had “recommended” it. Still, I thought it might have been you… and it was. Thank you. Thank you for your blog and for your book recommendations and for your support. I know some of your posts are specifically about supporting others, but I have found that many of them fill me with ideas and questions and, well, stuff in the best of ways. And I’m buying Textbook because I kind of want everyone to read it. 🙂

    • This is such a wonderful comment. Thank you. My favorite kind of blog to read is the kind that fills me with “well, stuff” so I know exactly what you mean and I’m very honored that my blog has been that for you this month. I had bought Textbook when it first came out and then saved it for…. I wasn’t sure what. But I read it just when I needed it early this month. Here’s to more people reading it! Your comment reminds me that I should pass my copy along to someone else for them to savor and love too!

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