Natalie Goldberg says, “having a topic to plow into can give your mind direction.” A topic evades me this morning. Today, rather than scrambling to come up with something, I have committed to it. This is no-topic Tuesday. With nothing to provide direction, let’s see where this keyboard will take me.
I’m reading Transcription, the newest book by Kate Atkinson. After reading – and falling in love with the writing in – Life After Life, I’ve made a point to watch for her books. They don’t all move me the way that first one did, but she’s a good solid writer, anyway. Other authors I seek out are Laurie R. King, Barbara Kingsolver, and Louise Erdrich. I’ve been putting off getting Kingsolver’s latest book, though. One bad review reminded me of other recent works of hers that have disappointed. I seem to have so little time to read these days, I try not to commit to a book that isn’t worth it.
Other titles on my nightstand include Fear by Bob Woodward, Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald, and Consolations by David Whyte. Some, I have started, then saved until I’m more in the mood for that particular writing style; others are on-going. Some nights, I’m too tired to follow a plot line. Then, a short essay or a few paragraphs of creative writing suits me.
My dining room table needs to be cleared this morning. It’s the first item on my “to-do” list. It is especially over-burdened today, as I cleared my desk yesterday. All the excess just got shifted over to the table. So, facing south, I’m quite pleased with my newly cleared work space. Turn to the north, however, and I’m face-to-face with the results of the half-finished job.
One tablecloth, one small houseplant and two candles: that’s what belongs on the dining room table. This morning, in addition to those items, there is:
- a small stack of stationery, notepads and stamps, formerly Aunt Katie’s belongings, found by my sisters in a drawer at the farmhouse, and sent home with me;
- a large stack of books purchased as Christmas gifts for my grandchildren;
- installation instructions for my new smoke alarm;
- one bag of Damar resin and one butane torch for encaustic painting, both brand new and not yet put away;
- a hammer and nail, for hanging the new smoke alarm;
- a pile of writing books, exercise manuals, receipts, and miscellaneous other papers that used to take up space on the desk;
- a pair of scissors (used to cut open the clam shell package that the smoke alarm came in);
- an empty bowl that, two weeks ago, held Halloween candy;
- my purse;
- my daily journal, with the directive, “CLEAR TABLE” in plain view at the top left under “Tuesday.”
On the same page, at the bottom of the right-hand column, the reminder says “BLOG POST.” Which just goes to show where my priorities lie, even when I have nothing in particular to write about!