The Places I Write: Slice of Life #sol18 21/31

bean broker room

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.

I write.

Where do you write?


13 responses to “The Places I Write: Slice of Life #sol18 21/31”

  1. I love your list! As I read through your slice, I realized I write in all of these places too. My car is a favorite and thank goodness for writing… my ideas in the dark shorten the wide awake hours in the middle of the night. Thanks for sharing this valuable slice!

  2. Much of your list looks like my own. I remember writing and grading papers while watching soccer practice from my car, and I remember writing in bars while having drinks w/ friends. Most of the time I write from a corner of the couch, which is where I am as I comment on this post, but I also have a lovely office in my home where I like to hide and read and write. At school I write from my desk and from student desks when I write w/ students.

    Elisabeth, I love this post and am now thinking about the ways and places we can write w/out ceasing.

  3. What a great window into your life! Locations offer us a lot of information and can signal emotions in unique ways. I like the way this slice takes these every day elements and gives them the attention and curtain calls they deserve. I may want to consider this for a slice later on. Thanks!

  4. There is so much I love about this slice. The structure, the precise word choice, the images you create. But what I love most is what it says about living life as a writer. When students struggle, to find ideas or the right word or a structure that works, what they are often really struggling with is the unrealistic expectations they’ve set for themselves. You reveal what is often difficult for young or inexperienced writers to imagine: writing emerges in fits and starts over time. It rarely springs out fully formed like Athena out of Zeus’ head, which is what I suspect many expect when they sit down with pen in hand.

  5. I am realizing just how much I like writing in a list. I have many places that I COULD write and WANT to write, but I typically find myself in front of my computer for professional writing at the kitchen table. Personally, I write in a handwritten journal in my bedroom, which are certainly striking opposites! This was a beautiful piece by a writer who lives and breathes writing.

  6. I read every bit of this post, so I caught the sentence about your 14 year old cat sleeping at your back, sad that this will be her last SOLC. I like thinking of you in all these places. The life of a writer-artist is flexible. It must be to accommodate for all those words piling up.

  7. I write some of those same places and had a last slicing season a few years ago with my dear friend, Ms. Hadley. I still miss having Ms. Hadley curled up and purring beside me.My favorite spot to write is on the bed with my laptop in my lap and notebook by my side.

  8. I love your list of writing places, all of which where inspiring. I wish I could claim as many slicing locations and as many cats! For now, I primarily write in a Barcelona chair late at night when all my other responsibilities have been met.

  9. Love this slice! I am reminded how flexible a writer’s life is! I am touched at your 14 year old cat who keeps you company (and so sad to read that this will be the last SOLC).

  10. I loved the flow of this piece. The repetition of “I write” I think of my places too…lately I only write in my bed, late, right before I fall asleep, but this is a very busy time. Thanks for slicing.

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