Getting Started

There is barely enough space to write here.  Just enough for the screen in front of me, my forearms resting on the edge of the desk in front of the keyboard,  a store-bought coffee cup full of a homemade latte, and a small stack of notes that are now a few days old.

Surrounding me are piles: books to read sit sandwiched between a few magazines and an empty ipad box. Papers to be filed, to be sent, and one–for Cam’s trip to Outdoor Lab next year–that just has to stay safely adrift the sea of sheets to make it to school with her in August.  Two crumpled dollar bills and a plastic bag full of beads from a broken bracelet block the mouse to the desktop computer.  A box of tea.  A leaning tower of notebooks and a binder balancing precariously atop a plastic Folger’s coffee tub that, if I remember correctly, houses a collection of rubber stamps long forgotten, but never discarded, now just sitting there.  Three bottles of nail polish, one tipped on its side.  A Duracell battery next to a Phillips-head driver bit.  A tall Starbucks coffee mug, dry but still smelling of spiced rum from yesterday.   An unopened box of contact lenses, a pack of gum, an ill-fitting cell phone case that needs to be sent back, but will more likely just be donated with the rubber stamps when I get around to sorting through the bin downstairs.   And that is not all; that’s just what catches my eye.

All this clutter and I could be cleaning it.  It’s tempting.  Instead, I look beyond each pile for an empty notebook.  How do I not have an empty composition book to pour my notes into, the ones that need to be captured by hand before they become paragraphs and plotlines?  How do I have just barely enough space to set myself in front of this screen?

Another monitor glares at me from above this one.  I silence it with the touch of a button, leaving only the light from the window behind me and the door on just the other side of this desk to light the notes that–for now–have carved out a space on the right side of the keyboard. A freshly sharpened Ticonderoga sits diagonally across the pages that are waiting for a home.

How do I write when there is barely enough space?  I turn to this page.  Here, there is plenty of room.  A space to get started.

And sometimes, that’s all I need.

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