Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goldilocks Gets a Desk

My Muse has been dying a slow death. Yes, I am dramatic. I feel like a little girl having a temper tantrum. But, months of trying to poke and prod my Muse into producing something coherent have proven futile. I've bought books and subscribed to emails and blogs, but nothing and no one can get Muse to come out for more than a minute or more before she goes back into hiding and leaving me alone and idea-less.

Yes, it's like the book "The Art of War for Writers" says, I am bloodied on the battlefield. But I must soldier on, if I am to conquer my Muse and make her mind me. So, on Saturday, I attended a three-hour writer gig in Orlando, hoping to spur on my Muse and jump start my next writing project (since my latest has crashed and burned several times). The event, "Show, Don't Tell" revolved around a discussion on how to make writing come alive.

The poet who facilitated the event, Emily Carr, was (and is) an incredibly centered writer. Just receiving her doctorate in her field of expertise, she seemed to instinctively know exactly what direction she was going with her writing, even if she wasn't sure where she would land. A refreshingly positive sort who made me wonder where my own 'playfulness' with my writing had up and disappeared to.

During the program, Emily had us writers do an exercise where each shared a tidbit of curious information. Then the simple question of "Where do you write?" came about. I nonchalantly mentioned that I had been in flux. That I had a big, wooden table set up in a front room next to my piano, but I didn't have a chair that fit. I didn't say much more, only that it would be changing soon...In time....When the Muse struck. Emily jumped on my comment like the jet black kitty cat of hers that leaped from place to place in the room we writers had converged upon.

"You need a space of your own."

The writing space comment gnawed at me all through the event and the entire car ride from Orlando, back to Gainesville. I became obsessed. I needed a chair, as simple as that. That would arouse my Muse. So, my dear husband (in an attempt to make his crazy, non-creative feeling wife happy) escorted me around Gainesville in search of the perfect writing chair.

Poor guy. He really had no idea what he'd signed up for. I felt like Goldilocks - "This one is too soft....This one is too hard..." But, of course, none were "Just right." My beloved simply nodded and moved on.

Then I saw a desk. A piece of crap - made of cheapo particle board - desk. It struck me hard, like a two-by-four to the forehead. I wanted a desk with drawers to stash all my stuff. A neat-o writing place just for me. One just like all the awesome grownup authors have. Instead of becoming exasperated (which I would not blame him for being), my husband shrugged his shoulders.

"Why don't you check Craig's List and local second hand stores?" (Did I mention that my husband is brilliant? And good looking, too? But, I digress....)

I practically ran all the way home and did exactly what my spouse suggested. (Shhhh. Don't tell. He'll get a big head realizing I am listening to him... Or, anyone else for that matter.)

I started pecking away at Craig's List and whittled away at the possibilities. In a college town, finding a desk is easy. Discovering one that's got all its digits is another thing entirely. The supposed "teak" desk was hideous, in a word. The "move out curb special" should've stayed at the curb, awaiting the garbage man; and the word "vintage" took on a whole new meaning.

Then I found it. A beautiful cherry stained antique desk with braided edges. A little battered and bruised, but it had character. It was "just right" for this Goldilocks. Of course, the desk was an hour away in Keystone Heights at a second hand store. Plus, it was Sunday and the store didn't open until Tuesday.

Less than 48 hours later I walked through the doors at Our Timeless Treasures and the small but tasteful desk spoke to me. I ignored the voice. Two 1920 leatherbound volumes of Kipling sat on the edge of the desk mocking me. "You know you want to take me home," it seemed to say. And I did (after 40 minutes of trying to talk myself out of it).

It's a miniature sort of piece and sitting behind it makes me feel like a kid playing grown up. What my sister, cousin and I used to spend hours doing when we were little girls wanting to be big, important people.

This is my first piece of writing at my sweet, little girl's desk. I am hoping it makes me childlike and free, like the days I played at being a grown up with my sister and favorite cousin. A time when I thought we three would always be the Trios Club and anything was possible.

Oh, yes. Goldilocks feels "just right" now. Are you listening, Muse?