Being A Writer : Atmospheric Pressure

Tonight I write the saddest lines.

Wait. That’s been said. And, my, Pablo Neruda could say it, couldn’t he? (Shew!)

… but there is no atmosphere in this winter, and so I can’t write the saddest lines. I have trouble writing any lines at all. Rain has fallen for over a week. The ground is spongy, and the creek banks are littered with long grasses and driftwood brought downstream by gully-washers. Temperatures have been record high, but the sun hasn’t shone in … a very long time. The whimsy of the season is absent. The gloomy weather doesn’t even induce melancholy; it’s just dull.

At this time of year — when days are short, but nights still don’t seem long enough to rejuvenate the exhausted soul — a writer like me needs slow snow fall out the window, and the twinkle of white Christmas tree lights in the reflection of the window near the big writing desk. She needs steaming coffee and music – real music played by clever songwriters on real instruments.

A fireplace might be nice, too, but it’s not essential.

This winter, the precipitation is coming down in buckets, not in flakes, and the fireplace is waiting for me to switch the air-conditioning off again. Thus, the desired writing ambiance is lacking.

Sure, one could concoct a musey-mood elsewhere, I suppose. Sometimes it is easier to achieve an inspirational atmosphere by writing in a public place such as a coffee shop, bustling hotel lobby, or transit station. These places help the writer disappear, or to step outside of who he or she is. For me, I must step outside of who I am to others. The right atmosphere help me achieve that, to a point.

Perhaps that is why there is a restlessness inside of me – a gypsy undercurrent that sometimes tempts me to be absent from my workplace, out of the kitchen, away from the home, released to the highway. The writer in me wants to roam and see and listen and feel and think and roll. I don’t get to do that often, but it seems that when there are wheels under me, my writer heart is happiest.

… but roaming requires time, money, and opportunity. For me, it would be a selfish investment. I am a full-time professional with a family, and like many writers with day jobs, I find myself saying, “I can write when I take time off work/when the chores are finished/when the kids go to college/when I retire …” This is not realistic. Life will always be busy, and writers write, so we must prioritize. I must prioritize.

In an earlier issue of Relatively Random we discussed the things that writers need: invitation, community, and outlet. We reviewed resources that provide invitations for writers, but without community, the equation is incomplete. Writers write, but they don’t do it alone; it is not the solitary business some people imagine it is. Writers need other writers to hold them celebrate with them, inspire them, and hold them accountable.

For 2016, I plan to reimagine my writing community. Within a new community of writers, I will find the balance between life and the writing life. I invite you to join me.

(If you are interested in becoming a part of the Relatively Random writing community, please drop us a note at our Contact Us Page.)