I’m frequently asked how is it I find so many things to write about.
By paying attention to my surroundings.
Due to achy joints, I’ve been walking around the Park lately rather than running. The upside of this is you see more.
When I’m dashing like deer with tunnel vision, I miss a lot.
This morning a raccoon was crossing the road. It was light so his presence surprised me and another woman coming the opposite way. We both stopped allowing him to make it to the woods without incident. I said to the woman,”He must have missed his curfew.” People assume a raccoon is sick if he’s seen in daylight. I say, he’s just late…hit traffic or got stuck in a tricky trash bin. I enjoyed watching him scurry into the brush imagining his mother waiting for him by the door saying, “That’s it Rocky, you’re grounded till further notice.”
Then there are the sequoias, the palomino of trees, I never noticed before…so majestic lining the Park like speckled pillars. It wasn’t until taking a walk with a friend who told me their name did I begin to see them.
The Park itself, whose landscaping of yore is still so stately and beautiful doing Olmstead and Vaux, it’s creators, proud 157 years later, is a privilege to be in. How lucky am I that its five minutes from where I live.
A writer catalogs these things, placing them in memory like gifts to use at a later time.
I took a creative writing class with a teacher who made us write about fruit. What a stupid assignment this is, I remember thinking.
She said, “Tell me everything you feel about your specific fruit.”
Mine was a peach.
I can’t recall exactly what I wrote, but found myself with a 300 word essay. I remember the word succulent, how a ripe peach dripping down your chin is very sensual. It brought up a chef I dated who, rather than flowers, brought me bouquets of thyme and dill.
She made her point…one could write about anything if their memory comes along for the ride.
Believe it or not, I don’t write about everything that happens to me. It just seems as if I do. My goal is extreme candor I still tiptoe around. The day I can show up completely naked on the page not caring you see my imperfections, will be one helluva great day in my creative life.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep paying attention hoping for the best.