I write at my dining room table, sitting too low in an armchair that’s big enough for me, the dog, and several cats. Frances curls in my lap for her morning nap. The back of the chair features a rotating selection of cat: maybe Zorro, maybe Panda, probably Smudge, often Toast. Roxy is wedged uncomfortably in the space behind me, taking up more than her fair share of the chair, concrete block head digging into my back, snuffling and snorting in her sleep. She is fourteen and failing a little more every day. I know this will be our last Slicing season together.
I write at a table facing the window at my favorite coffee shop. I get there in the early morning, sometimes before 7, and I am the only person there. I open my laptop and turn to a fresh page in my notebook and go back and forth as I craft my slice, sketching out ideas and writing key words by hand that then get turned into polished paragraphs on the screen.
I write at a desk in my classroom, chair pulled around to face my students as they write. I used to sit somewhere among them, wherever there was an empty seat, but now I prefer sitting at the front of the room where I can watch them pick up pens, reread the last few lines they wrote, and settle into their writing. I like to see that moment when the piece they’re working on clicks and suddenly they’re in the zone, writing as fast as they can, unaware of everything around them. I need to see the one who never finds her piece so that I can be sure to conference with her and ask how it’s going. The silence of so many pens scrawling across paper seems a little louder at the front of the room.
I write in my car, miles to drive with few other cars on the road. I look out for deer, turkeys, hawks, antelope in between glancing down at my notebook. I make notes on the podcasts I’m listening to, collect words that will later become a slice, list ideas for lesson plans.
I write in my office, texts and emails and reports and feedback letters and recommendations and lesson plans. I have to push the books and papers aside to make room for my laptop. Sometimes I close the door, and still there are interruptions.
I write on the bleachers, watching my son shoot hoops, kick soccer balls, catch footballs, hit baseballs. There is no sports practice I can’t write my way through.
I write in my head when I have no paper handy, when I’m walking or taking a shower or running errands. When I think of a line I like, I repeat it to myself again and again, trying to catch it and keep it before it’s gone.
I write in bed with the lights out, before I fall asleep, when I wake up. The line I need to keep a piece moving, the line I couldn’t find, the line that had brought the whole piece to a standstill, suddenly appears in my head, and the whole piece makes sense.
Where do you write?