With writing, and every other endeavor, you need a place to thrive. A nook suited to your temperament. Your mission control. My writing space includes pin-drop quiet, sunlight, and a garden. Otherwise, I can’t do my best.
My ears are amplifiers. Even little bits of noise crowd my mind like a traffic jam. Quiet time in the course of a day and quiet for writing means everything to me. Sometimes I wear noise cancelling headphones. If my husband tries to talk to me while I am writing, I flap my hands like a hatchling, cover my ears and say, “I love you, don’t speak!” In high school I used ear plugs. Studying for a Spanish final junior year, I shoved them too far into my ears and had to go to the ear, nose and throat hospital to get them removed.
I warm up for writing in our garden, sitting in silence with my loyal friend the sun and a thousand living things. My mind embraces their life and marries me to trees and flowers. Feathered neighbors, after time the feeder or taking a bath, have a turn on the lawn poking around for worms. The Eastern Towhee, that chirps like a bugle, is the only pest.
I am in love with a towering Loblolly pine tree that lives by the side of our house. If it dies, it will be a death in the family. At dawn, the pine is a breathtaking shadow puppet, a huge ebony cutout against a pale grey sky. In the afternoon the tree filters sun through hundreds of sprays of pine needles, offering a new way to feel the sun’s magic. A hawk’s nest rests on a heavy lower branch, one image of grandeur mirroring another.
The looking and listening, falling deeply in love with things that can’t talk. This is the nature of a writer’s life. It can be extremely painful, and it can separate you from the world. Last week I saw hundreds of cut pines lined up in rows at Lowe’s, ready for Christmas shoppers. It looked like a mass murder. I turned to my husband and said someone had committed a huge crime and that we needed a fake tree. I never thought I’d want an artificial tree. This is what writing can do to you, but it’s worth the pain because you find love where you’ve never felt it before.
I live in an urban forest where tall pines rule. It feels like love is everywhere.