Last week I was finally able to live out a fantasy of mine! You see, when I write I am sitting on my sofa with a cup of coffee and my happy pants on. Mr. F has just left for work and little F (hold please while I laugh my ass off at “Little F”) is still in bed. The peace of the morning settles around me and I am able to catch all those thoughts that are constantly trying to be recognized. The fantasy came about through my belief that “real” writers write from a coffee shop. I picture laptops, dark roast, sensible shoes, and fashion glasses. (shout out to E.K.)
So, last week, while Little F was off in New Hampshire and I had not been busy trying to fill my day with distractions. (You do that when grief is your companion.) I took my laptop and my Panera card and headed over to work on the book. For those of you new to me, the book has been “in progress” for years and years, almost since my conception I would say. However, the “in progress” is more the thought process than the writing process. So, this year I set a deadline for myself.
I got my dark roast and settled into a half booth, half chair table. I hooked up the free wifi and I settled in to write. My focus lasted about 15 minutes before the conversations on either side of me prevented me from being able to focus on the four blank word documents I had open in front of me. Then I witnessed a woman answering her phone while her friend was in the middle of a story. The storyteller rolled her eyes. I wanted to invite her to my table. I immediately opened up a new blank document and wrote: “We miss very important things when we make our phones our constant companions.” I titled that document, Blog idea catcher. I have a lot of titled blank documents.
I focused again for another pure 15 minutes of writing. Then a young couple came in forlunch. The woman pulled out her ipad and the man his phone and they began to share and talk about their friend’s facebook statuses. I wasn’t sure if I was disgusted (lose the devices and TALK TO EACH OTHER) or fascinated that they could use the devices as topic starters to conversation.
I quickly realized, as is true with many fantasies, the way you see it in your head is so much better than the way it is in actuality. I cannot work on my book about sisters and grief in the middle of a coffee shop. I need to be able sit with those two ideas. Alone. Silently. With happy pants. The coffee shop becomes to my writing what the phone was to the first set of friends. It is a distraction that makes me miss very important information. I am not creating a story. The story is here inside of me. I am the listener and if I don’t listen carefully, the story will be lost. And so today, I will work again on the book. This time, though, I will not put up the wall that protects me from getting too close. I will give all of me. It is what good writers do for their readers. It is what people should be doing for each other.
Give all of yourself today. Enjoy making memories. Be Strong!