All Hands Poem (or short chapter book) Winter/Spring Institute 2015
1. …is the flagship Beanery on Second in Cow-town--amid all the soothing white noise of espresso steamers and assorted coffee klatch conversations I get lost in my own thinking on paper.
2. …driving in my car. Tail lights ahead. Speed unknown. Slightly aware of honking horns. Thoughts of unfulfilled obligations and daily reflections swirling in my head. My voice the pen and phone the paper.
3. …will be (I’m sure) on the terrace in Sorrento, with the shadows just shy of noon, and the air a whirl of lemons blossoms and sea air, my siblings’ dear sun shaded faces nearby.
4. …is the small, creaky beach cottage. I curl up with a steaming cup of coffee and a knitted blanket on the worn-in comfy couch. I listen to the crackle of the fireplace as the wind and pouring rain softly spray against the large picture window behind me. I get lost in the thoughts and memories while staring at the fire.
5. …where-ever. Sometimes it’s in a composition book and I write what I notice. I recently flew to Washington, D.C. and was able to write about the people I saw. I don’t know that airports are my favorite places to be, but it does provide some interesting people to see.
6. …allows me to go inside myself and drown out all the peripheral noises, and painlessly concentrate.
7. …is the reason I fell in love with this house—the old-fashioned front porch. Coffee in hand, I sway in my hammock chair on a still, cool summer morning. I can close my eyes and hear the quiet voice that will easily be drowned out when the rest of the house wakes. I am eager to capture that voice and turn to my notebook to scribble out what feels like a conversation with myself.
8. …is the woods by the Nestucca River, not winter roaring, but bubbling summer, soft breeze and birds calling, warm, soft trees leaning past, only sounds are water, birds and my scratching pen.
9. I write best with water rushing on both sides, where I am perched on a rock in the middle of a burbling creek. Trees wave their arms across the sun, throwing shadows and light across my page. And I write.
10. I wonder why it is so soothing and relaxing to watch the frenetic beating of hummingbird wings while I write in the sunroom off my kitchen. I sit. I think. They flutter.
11. …sitting on the over-stuffed deck chair in the swaying cruise ship, my eyes drift out to sea, remembering an eventful day that must be documented so one day I can reminisce about the adventures I had.
12. …under the eave of the roof, grainy tiles. My mom chased my naked brother in the yard. My brother chased the chickens which splattered the large yard with their shit, chickens too smart for their coop. Thorny brambles of blackberries. To the right, under the old oak tree was where Vanilla and Chocolate were buried, our bunnies, next to the nameless dead hamsters and nameless dead corpses, corpses my dad speculated were likely exhumed by raccoons. I sat on the roof when I wanted to hide and hear the cackle of voices, but to feel safe enough to know they wouldn’t find me.
13. The silence of my home office is an illusion. One door over I hear the gentle swoosh of the dryer. My dog, sound asleep across my feet, snores the delicate sniffs of a 15 pound wonder. The biggest distraction is actually my garden—which is so in need of weeding that even in January I’m embarrassed to note it in these private pages.
14. …was in the buzz of new love on the veranda of a Clearwater, Minnesota bed and breakfast. Journal warm across my lap, sun-drenched, accompanied by squirrel chatter and fresh-baked cookies.
15. The smell of freshly brewed coffee energies and inspires me to complete a task, even the one of writing. Even though it can be crowed and full of chatter, laughter, and sliding chairs, there is something about Coffee Cottage.
16. Home, it’s where the heart is—and the serenity to let my thoughts flow as I sift through piles of sticky notes or scraps of paper with phrases and writing ideas that are shoved in drawers or piled on my desk.
17. …is outside in the woods. I have penned my thoughts next to Opal Creek in May, and hope to return some day.
18. …would be a beach house, a small white one with the sea grass blowing on all sides and the perpetual sound of the waves on the shore. There I would go for long wandering on the beach. I would curl up on the couch by the fire.
19. My absolutely favorite place to write is the quiet corner of a tropical pool at the Marriott on Poi Pu Beach in Kauai. I’ve been writing since early in the morning, resting in a chair in the western corner of the pool, under an umbrella that keeps me cool from the hot sun that beats down on me each day.
20. My favorite place to write is, of course, on the deck of my boat christened “Just This,” anchored among the Greek Isles. This works best at sunset.
Except when I prefer to write at Sir Walter Scott’s castle, Abbotsford, in the Scotland borders. I prefer the sitting room, as it faces west, and I can watch the sun sink behind the heath and hill.
That is, obviously, unless I am home. Then, late at night—preferably after 10 o’clock, but after 11 PM is better—I kneel beside the bed in the guest room and wrestle hard with my thoughts, sometimes pinning them down, but mostly just grappling.