I have not taken part in a flash fiction challenge in a long time. I have followed Kimberly Crawford since the beginning of my blog nearly two years ago. My first short story, The Last Piece,was from my first shot at one of her challenges. I am thankful that she continues to post these.
This week, we are challenged to write about our ideal work space. Deep in my heart this is where I want to be.
I write in the wee morning light. When everything slumbers. When the night animals tuck in their dark spaces to escape the day and the day animals roll sleepily where they had claimed as home the night before. When my children are snuggled so warm and peaceful and my husband’s feet are still warmed by the pup at the foot of our bed. The crickets have stopped and the birds have not started.
My wooden desk sits slightly shorter than most, but perfect for me. It’s old and worn and soft to the touch. The front ledge is rounded from generations of pen wielding arms pulled from left to right creating hand written letters, stories, poems. Parchment replaced by technology: a double screen, wireless keyboard and mouse. The sentiment remains the same.
My chair sometimes requires conscious balance. Leaning back is a guaranteed concussion, but the arm rests still serve their purpose. The cushion needed reupholstering when my grandmother was a child. The red, orange, yellow fibers are still vibrant nearest the wooden frame but the seat has a comfortable divot to accommodate my posture. Nothing comes close to this custom fit. I have purchased new chairs, but none offer the history and familiarity as this heirloom.
My coffee sits to the left of my keyboard. The steam carries the aroma of awakening and clarity. It brings me from the fog of sleep into the world that I have created on the screen. Sometimes the two intertwine in my dreams, other times I require the liquid motivation to bring back to the place where it started, like a conditional learning pattern. I keep a black pen near my journal on the right. The journal is made of recycled material and has rough, beige pages. My pen spills more ink than needed making my thoughts appear bold and important against the imperfect paper.
A picture frame proudly displays a collage of my family: two happy adults with their silly and adorable son and daughter. A fat beagle is never far from the subjects. I keep a calendar for literary reference and sometimes to remind me of where I am in time, if ever I get lost.
I do not keep a clock and hide one from my screens. My children are my alarm in this place. I have reached a state where they are no longer competing for my attention. My work is completed in the silence of the morning, not in the corporate bustle of obligation.
The nook of my writing space is an extension of the living room. Pushed against the wall underneath a wide window. It faces south, so the sun passes by as it makes its daily journey but never directly in. With them cracked even just an inch, the sound of the rushing creek engulfs the space. It is both strong and gentle. It ushers a breeze that carries the scent of the over-hanging cottonwoods and tall standing aspens. The smells of earth and coffee transport me to the place where my thoughts become someone else. Where primal fears fuel the adrenaline needed for survival. Where lust is mistaken for love. Where death is not the end that it was once perceived to be. The world is no longer confined to what is tangible, but is simply anything I am able to articulate.
Sometimes, I do not even right. Sometimes I hold my coffee with two hands, lean carefully back in my soft but unstable chair and I muse. I let my mind step out of the window and float amongst the leaves of the trees, fall to the water and chase the rapids between rocks. I think of other places and who I would find there. I put them in situations and create their reactions. I allow myself to feel emotions that belong to others and make note of their progression.
With sounds behind me, a giggle, a yawn, sometimes even a flush, bring me back to the world that I cherish above any other I could imagine. Where my calendar reminds me of how far I have come and the little people so excited for the day that they have woken up and are that much older. They look forward to the real adventure Mommy will take them on. For the journey that they will live and the emotions of situations that are their own.
Before leaving, I glance one more time at my space and thank God that it has given me the ability to give to my children what I had only dreamed of.