Earlier this week, we had a day where there was a pocket of time unaccounted for in the late afternoon. It was too many minutes not to do something, but not quiet enough to make it worth the trip home and back. We planned a trip to our local library which was renovated about ten years ago and the children’s area on the lower level is the perfect place to unwind, read, color and soak up the atmosphere. The kids love it there. They play dress-up, put on puppet shows, put together puzzles – it’s fabulous.
While there, we each checked out a few (more) books. I discovered they had a copy of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I’ve heard so many Writing Project colleagues recommend this book, but never had my hands on it…until now. And I too am loving it. It love the size, the heft, the little gold book mark affixed to the spine. I sat in the children’s library, the sun pouring through the wall of windows overlooking the river and creating a warmth I hadn’t felt in far too long. The kids quietly played and I read. I smiled. It was the perfect way to spend these extra minutes.
Today, on our way to the Girls Basketball State Finals, I read the chapter about creating a list of topics you can choose from quickly to jump right into the routine of writing.
#15. What kind of animal are you? Do you think you are really a cow, chipmunk, fox, horse underneath?
I smiled, recalling our lunch conversation earlier today wherein Calder told Garth about a lesson they were learning about cows.
C: You know how you tell me I shouldn’t crack my jaw? Well, the other day it was a good thing I could do it.
C: Yeah, because my teacher asked us how cows chew.
C: Yeah, and I just showed her.
He sat for a moment thinking, pulling the crust of his sandwich.
C: Ya know, I think it’s because I am part cow.
I’d say that participating in these Slice of Life Challenges has helped me be more aware of the little things that make up the bigger picture, but combining that knowledge with thoughts about the practice and habit of writing, has me even more inspired to keep watch for noteworthy moments. The squeal of excitement as we walk into the gym this afternoon, the huff of disappointment at being told to wait for snacks. My daughter’s dancing during time outs, which draws more attention than she typically enjoys, but tonight is relishing it. Maybe it’s the late night dinner where we talk and laugh, and the kids remember Mom getting silly wiping ranch on Sis’s face instead of bemoaning the fact that a little bit found its way onto her jacket.
Although this is a published piece on a public blog, it feels a lot more like part of the practice of writing. Because, as Goldberg says, “[w]riting practice embraces your whole life and doesn’t demand any logical form….It is undirected and has to do with all of you right in your present moment.”
This post was written as part of a monthly challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers, to encourage writing and community.
The goal is to write a Slice of Life entry each day throughout the month of March.