One Page at a Time

One Page at a Time: Unexpected Places

Several times this week, I have encountered the theme of “space” and “place.” My post from January 3, 2014 focused on the space and place set aside for writing. These quotations help me consider my writing and how it affects the world outside my personal space and place. The imagery evoked by them excites me rather than frightens me. I hold tight with all my might to my
“corner” of this writing ride!

 

“…have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place but where, deep down, you knew you were supposed to be?” from A Year with Aslan

“The approach of a man’s life out of the past is history, and the approach out of the future is mystery. Their meeting is the present, and it is consciousness, the only time life is alive. The endless wonder of this meeting is what causes the mind, in its inward liberty of a frozen morning, to turn back and question and remember. The world is full of places. Why is it that I am here?” from The Long-Legged House by Wendell Berry, as quoted in Poem a Day

“I see the terrifying spaces of the universe that enclose me, and I find myself attached to a corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am more in this place than in the other, nor why this little time that is given me to live is assigned me at this point more than another out of all the eternity that has preceded me and out of all that will follow me.” from Thoughts on Religion by Blaise Pascal, as quoted in Poem a Day

“The essential question is, ‘Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?’ Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words your characters will speak, ideas–inspiration.” Doris Lessing, as quoted in A Year of Writing Dangerously

One Good Thing Every Day 2014

One Good Thing Every Day: January 10, 2014

“We’re following a guide we know nothing about. How do we know which side the bird is on?” From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, as quoted in A Year with Aslan

 

Edmund, following Robin with his siblings to find Mr. Tumnus, voices his doubts about their guide flitting from tree to tree in a frozen fantasy land. He is still trying to comprehend how a beaver can talk and has already tasted the Queen’s Turkish Delight. The familiar comfort of sweet indulgence and the promise of potential power have clouded his vision. He is suspicious of everyone, even his brother and sisters whom he knows so well. Why not doubt an unknown bird in a strange land?

I don’t blame Edmund for his doubt anymore than I admonish Lucy for her trust in Robin. Lucy already believes in the magic of Narnia, and Edmund has the furthest to go toward believing. Although neither have met Aslan, they sense Him. Lucy searches eagerly. Edmund clings to skepticism.

Perhaps Edmund’s concerns are not unfounded. It is important to watch for wolves among sheep. Robin is, after all, leading them to the wolves who guard the Queen’s statuary including a friendly, but fallen, Faun.

But, better to be Lucy–even courageous Peter and cautious Susan–who walks by faith, who enters wardrobes and discovers her destined purpose, who seeks the One guiding them from the beginning.

 

“The jungle is thick, and you cannot clearly see what is before you, behind you, or beside you. Cling to My hand as you follow this trail in shadowy darkness. Although you cannot see Me, My Presence with you is rock-solid reality. Find hope in Me, beloved, for I am taking care of you.” From Sarah Young’s Jesus Today

Isaiah 50:10 NASB

Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

Psalm 42:5 NASB

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.

Micah 7:7 NASB

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.

One Page at a Time

One Page at a Time: Space and Place

My readings–A Year with Aslan–and my writing prompts–The Daily Poet and A Year of Writing Dangerously–led me to consider the importance of space and place when writing. I am not referring to setting within a story or poem, although that is certainly a key element of good writing. I am referring to the space and place of actually writing.

Before going forward, I should define my terms. Space, in this case, is the time set aside for writing. Place is the destination where the writing begins. Although as a poet I am apt to use rhyme, these words appeared appropriately in my readings and prompts. A Year of Writing Dangerously prompted me to consider the “sacred space” of where and when writing happens. Place appeared as Edmund and Lucy entered “their own secret country.”

I admit, I have not protected my space and place for writing well these last few years. My initial intentions are zealous and confident at the reset of each year. They immediately wane if I fail in keeping the routine. Such is the case if I sleep in too late or make household duties a priority or surrender to the invasion of obligations. Recently, I laughed sardonically when my husband said I have been “hiding” more often. As if I could! Once I explained I was writing and not hiding, he understood. Even so, I realized my space and place need to make allowances for my husband and children, for maintaining our home, for getting enough sleep.

How to accomplish this balance? I moved my desk–my grandmother’s secretary where she wrote her own poems–from my dreary, cluttered basement to the front room of our home, lovingly dubbed the living room/library/office/schoolroom. I positioned the furniture so I can turn the chair around to face my desk or the school table depending on the moment’s given task. My children’s favorite chairs–my grandfather’s blue recliner and my glider-rocker once used for lullabies–provide company when all of us need to do our own thing in the same room. I sacrificed one bookcase to house their schoolbooks and personal supplies, giving them each a shelf of their own. My husband retains the basement for his office where he can conduct conference calls and play his music without constant interruption. I have added a weekly dusting and vacuuming of his space to my cleaning schedule for all our sakes.

Once the concrete rearranging was complete, I moved to the more abstract arranging. I created a schedule, dedicating specific hours to reading and writing. My writing becomes portable for coffeehouse escapes with laptop and book-tote in tow.  I add my writing prompts to my lesson plans to engage my kids in the process and keep myself on track. I allow myself to deviate if I oversleep or overschedule my day. At that point, the goal is to “make time.”

But, the ultimate desire is to maintain the space and place. Here, I enter with wandering musings and amused wondering of my “own secret country” while keeping the wardrobe door opened.