Habit-keeping, SSW, and opportunities like quarters on the sidewalk

You realize that the chief reason I’ve not “had a blog” is the predictability, the routine of it all. To encourage someone from afar to make a date with you means you should honor them by showing up. And I haven’t felt like showing up. (Clearly.)
Interestingly enough, I -have- been burnishing a new habit lately. For Lent, I committed to daily (yes, seven each week) silent-sustained-writing for 15 minutes. Thank you, Ms. Lupinacci, for introducing me to the discipline of SSW in 7th grade. It makes a good analogue to Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, I’ve found. And in the strange alchemy noted in The Artist’s Way (affiliate link, but not for me personally), I’m writing more pieces. I couldn’t say if my writing-eyes were opening and that’s why I chose SSW, or the reverse, but ‘more’ gives me happiness regardless. 

Which brings me to today’s post, an artifact of my digital paranoia. Today’s batch of email hid a writing prompt: “What is the thing that inspires my productivity? What object of affection leads to reflection?” Smuggled into shopping, no less. But I brightened, said, “Ooh!” And was off to the races. 
The submission process mentioned in the link below says the piece goes into the comments section on the post, very reasonable. But what if I want to FIND it later? Or show it off to my dearests? I can’t offhand locate a “link to this specific comment” button >;) . So here’s my copy, for my ownself and for laters. 

I wasn’t expecting this to be my answer, either. Such is the adventure -!

April 08, 2013: Tell me what you hold dear

I wanted this to be about something beautiful. Something I hold in my hand, smooth or rough, that makes me smile. A treasure I glance at, anchoring me to a place, a time, a state of being.
Unfortunately, the first thing that popped in my head was: keyboard. A particular one, true. It’s orange, with white mod flat keys, and fits in my purse. But while that one makes me smile, it’s not the only one. It’s all of them.
See, I’m on the hinge, age-wise. My school life was predominantly pencil- and paper-based; I earned my bachelor’s degree in the age where computers were in centers, packed full of people at finals-time. For all that, I wrote my first stories at age three… on a typewriter. It seems that my hands have never been able to keep up with my ideas. 
Perhaps it’s my left-handedness; I could never master the odd hook on the top of the ‘r.’ Perhaps it’s the death-grip I’ve never quite loosened on my pens, wearing me out before I begin. It doesn’t matter. When I learned to touch-type at fourteen, I leaped into full-throttle composition. Multiple drafts? No problem. First to last, writing began, flowered, and ended at the keyboard.
Like most epiphanies, over time its gloss faded. I was amused by my children bringing friends to stand at my elbow, watching my fingers fly. But only recently did I again stop and consciously claim my keyboard.
I’d tried Julia Cameron’s discipline of “Morning Pages” more than once. I understood where their strength lay. But at three manuscript pages my hand cramped, my letters mangled beyond recognition. Sure, they’re not designed to be read again. But to be unable to decipher them at the outset? Depressing. I would walk away.
This spring I paused. I considered the barriers I threw up. Mornings with teens are not reflective spaces: fine, what about evenings? Or afternoons? My hand gets so tired. And when I lose the thread of my thoughts, I can’t retrieve it from the written page – so frustrating! What about using a computer instead? Not portable. Not nimble enough to grab a small slice of time. What about that little smartphone? In my pocket all the time, my excuses about access evaporate. Sure, texting-typing is tiring, too… but for every smartphone is a wireless keyboard.
Keyboard. Leads to reflection, and earns my affection. In orange, reminds me of my freedom. Freedom to claim writing, in any part of my day. Nothing touches me more deeply than that.

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