Archive for February 7th, 2011

You Have Mattered in my Life

Writer Intersection – where my buddy teaches me balance
My Writing Desk

I have two places I connect and work with my creative writing. The second place is this computer where I work long hours on both writing and workshop projects and neatly catagorize plans, writings and photo creations into files and folders and then back them up on another drive, hoping that if needed I will remember them and where I’ve put them.

Writing on the computer is a different sensation and method than where I write in my first place — which is my writing desk. It may also be called a writing altar. I’ve had one of these places in my home where ever I lived since I came back from my first IWWG (International Womens Writers Guild) summer week-long conferences at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY almost twenty years ago.

My writer’s desk-altar is the place where I sit down and write long-hand, usually early in the morning, but also anytime during the day when I feel particularly in touch with my Source. There is an open journal that awaits me on this table. There are spiritual inspirations placed on it like a holy card, always a candle which is lighted when I arrive, sometimes a flower, a meaningful quote from scripture, or from something that has caught my inner attention and has lingered long enough for me to either listen to or dialogue with for awhile.

I don’t care about correct grammar in this open book. I only care about getting the “download” that is coming to me. This writing table is a teaching place for me, a listening place, a settling place, a place for my own questions to go out into the universe, a place for answers that find their way back to my heart.

This writing desk-altar is why I have so many heavy boxes to transport this week to our new place to live. I have spent many, many hours at my writing tables I have created in the homes I have had. These pages do not read like complete, finished pieces, but they all contain clues, seeds and treasures uncovered in the conscious and unconscious mind of my spiritual and writer’s life.

They are not a one-time read. They need to be cultivated and harvested in time. They speak deeply to me when the season is right. It is amazing that I can randomly pick one up and find something written five years ago that helps me immensely with what I am trying to express at the present time.

I love these journals and I really hate feeling apologetic for the volume of them and the heavy weight of them. Yet I do. So I am trying to do all the lugging of them until I get them in their new place, with the sincere hope that we don’t have to move again for a long, long while this time.

This writing table-altar isn’t a fancy piece of furniture. When I first returned from the writer’s convention, with the emphasis to make “my space” set apart from the rest of my home and activity, it was suggested it is best to as Jesus said of prayer, “Go into a room and shut the door”… so my first writing table-altar was in my daughter gone-to-college room.

We brought up an old desk my father-in-law had made for my husband from the basement, and it had a top compartment I could put lots of inspirational figurines in. It was there, I became used to the discipline of “going apart and being in privacy” so I could listen and begin the practice of writing. Prayer is a natural companion to my writing time.

The surprising thing is I was just on the other side of the door from the living room, yet in a small amount of time, I came to feel that the space I was in while I was writing was the only space that there was.  I think it was Erma Bombeck who told her family that unless someone was dying, they were not to open the door to her room when she had the sign hung on the doorknob, “Mother is writing.”

The whole space around this table takes on a special “aire”. It is not the same as being at the computer. I feel invited into it by a nurturing presence; if I come to it troubled, I feel comforted and encouraged to tell my story — spill it out in words, and then the most amazing thing happens….words that don’t seem my own, and have a wisdom voice about them start spilling back on the paper to me….sometimes, the writing even looks different.

This is what is in my twenty years of heavy journals. These are my writer-intersections, the dialogues that influence something later that becomes a written assignment. I realize I am sitting frequently for shorter periods of time at this table-altar now because I will be moving away from it.

I even have a window view of an intersection below — a high horizon view of the roads below, a fitting metaphor for my life.  Roads I have traveled. From the intersection I watch as I am at my table-altar. One direction goes to my daughter’s home, family; one to my church and retreat center, spirituality; one to the highway to places of business, work and earning a living; the fourth road heads to the big box food & merchandise stores, dentist, doctor, and pharmacy, fitness center, the nuts and bolts of physical life.

The four directions of a life I live.

I will miss this western hilly view of the intersection with the surrounding trees that brought me much information about myself and also stunning views of the sunsets over the Kalamazoo valley horizon without even going to the beach. 

This same table will not even be my writer’s altar in our next place. It will be used for something else. I will create “my space” in the second upstairs bedroom and my writing table-altar will be formed on a longer mahagony table placed by a window that looks out on our new townhome community street.

It’s not Sesame Street. It’s not Mr. Rogers neighborhood, but it is my new sacred space for writing and I look forward to laying my open journal on the table under the window, and setting some fresh flowers and a new candle near it.

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