Saturday, April 08, 2006

Will Not Leak in Flight

Today I attended a wondeful little writing workshop. Because I haven't slept much lately from the steroid medication, I asked a friend who was teaching in the workshop if I could ride with her. Jill and I held a great salon on the meaning of life in her jeep driving to and from Montrose. I also got to tag along to dinner with the workshop organizers and teachers - we had a delicious meal at the Camp Robber Cafe, discussed ways to get more people to the workshop, and toasted a successful day.

Tonight, I returned home all inspired from the class, and decided to create that "special writing place" so often touted as a basic necessity. I cleared a space at one end of the dining room table which is a mountain of files and office supplies devoted to the bookkeeping of our business and now, my many medical records and bills.

I went on a scavenger hunt of several books mentioned in today's writing classes that I know are here somewhere in our Victorian home, a place that has grown to be more of a storage unit that we happen to reside in. (And yes, we do have a real storage unit as well - it's down by the river, but it's packed so tight I doubt the door will even open.) As a bookseller, as a packrat, and as she who flings herself into life, I have drug the printed page home , one box, one book bag at a time over the last ten years since marrying Mr. Stoufer. Tonight, I got to realize the efforts of undoing myself from so many volunteer commitments - I actually had time to sort through my own devine mess.

I searched for Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Pam Houston's Waltzing the Cat, pawing through those book bags, those boxes, checking the many piles of books that surround the bed. In the sitting room, I attacked the stacks in front of the bookcases - sorted through so many books obtained at author signings - both from bookseller conferences in Denver (American legend, Joyce Carol Oates) to our own modest offerings at our small town bookstore (local mystsery writer, Ray DeRouin, who owns the toy store down the street). Their novels will get equal weight in my stack of inspiration. I managed to reach the inner recesses of our bookshelves, covered in measurable amounts of dust. I fondled texts from sophomore literature classes I took when I was obtaining my degree in geology, remembering with pride the big red "A" I got on my paper about Walker Percy's The Moviegoer. I clutched to my chest Coming Into the Country by John McPhee which was the first hardback book I ever bought as an adult, a 23-year-old divorcee in Abilene, Texas who had been a flight attendant for Reeve Aleutian Airways two years earlier.

And so, I have constructed my ceremonious pile of literature and books on writing - there with the brand new eight-pack of rainbow-colored gel pens, guaranteed "not to leak in flight". We'll see what happens.

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