Fine Just So

I am at the little writing nook in my new place. It’s not much at the moment. The desk has some potential, but, like everything else in this dingy, partially furnished, third floor apartment, it needs help. The chair is uncomfortable, and does not fit the desk in size or style. The lamp is hideous, an inexplicable combination of cheap blue ceramic with a purple velvety shade. It gives terrible light, but is fine for now.

In fact, it’s all fine for now. And in time, it will get better.

In the 18 months since The Big Breakup, I’ve lived with others in 3 different places, all wonderful, but none of which were my own. I am a slow healer, and I see now that the places I stayed were baby steps to this one. Last summer, after her husband left, my sister told me she couldn’t see a future without him. I knew exactly what she meant. We invest so much in the story that we’ll always be with the one we love that the shock of another reality can almost be too much to bear. Break ups and divorces happen every day. Still, this doesn’t make it any less painful when you are faced with the task of creating an entirely new story for your future.

My new story came into frame slowly, and being here is a welcome new chapter. Living with other people, (good friends, in fact), helped me ease into living alone again. If these friends lost patience with me for my slowness in turning the page, and for “squatting” in their homes for so long, they never showed it. And oh how I love them for that.

Moving has stirred some things up for me. There’s been some melancholy for things that I’ve lost, but mostly I feel a peaceful awe that I made it here. I’m re-learning things about myself that I forgot, like that I can be a bit messy when no one is watching. Or that I can’t settle into a place without completely transforming the kitchen first.

There are new things I’m finding out about myself too.

Like my willingness to climb down from bed each morning to meditate on the rug, my body in the direction of the east facing window so that I can feel the sun’s warmth while I sit. For some reason, I’m less hesitant about meditating in this apartment than I’ve been anywhere else. I think it’s because this space feels more sacred to me because it’s “mine”, and because there is no threat of interruption.

I’m also finding that I have patience about what this place is now, and confidence in what it will be eventually. I used to feel mortally embarrassed when things in my home weren’t just so, but I guess years of therapy cured me of that (thank you Elizabeth!). At the moment my apartment is dark and spare and in desperate need of some painting and decorating. It’s far from cozy, but my friends haven’t said boo about it. Instead, they’ve shared glasses of wine with me among the mess, and helped me figure out what should go where.

Once the kitchen is to my liking, I’ll tend to my little writing nook. I’ll get a better chair, make sure all the knobs on the desk match, and will replace the terrible lamp with an attractive one. My refuge under the eaves will be transformed into a comfortable, inviting place to write.

But for now, it’s fine just so. 

As am I.

More Food, Less Pain,


On Writing

February was a busy blur. The blog, as you can see, was neglected. Between working much more than usual, celebrating my birthday week, and searching for a new place to live, I barely had an extra minute to think, never mind write. My life was overbooked for 29 days, and I had to sacrifice some of the things I usually do daily to keep me balanced, like exercising, and writing. All of this left me exhausted, and with a cold that turned into what is now a painful sinus AND ear infection. Lovely.

Luckily, March is already slower and more manageable than February, and I have time tonight to write this post from a coffee shop that is a two minute walk from the apartment I found. Yes, I have a long list of projects, chores and things to buy to take my new place from grungy to cozy. But my priority is to get back to a place of balance, so these things will get done after I make time for the things that keep my healthy and happy, like walking, and writing.

One of my first goals for the apartment is to make a little nook for writing in the corner of my large living room, just as Stephen King suggests in his book On Writing. In it, he explains that for years he believed a writer’s desk should be a “massive oak slab that would dominate a room”. And so, when he could afford to, he bought the desk of his dreams and placed it in the middle of a large, sunny room. When he sobered up, and gained a better perspective on his writing and on life, he replaced the large desk with a smaller one, and placed it “in a corner under the eave.” He ends the chapter with these words:

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

I like this, not because I need to be reminded to not think too highly of my writing “talent” – I know my strengths and weaknesses. I like it because “art” being a support system for life is exactly how I feel about my writing. It enriches my life, and I’m grateful to have found something I love to do, even if it only remains a hobby for the rest of my life.

If you haven’t read On Writing, you should. It is half memoir, half instruction on how to write. I read it ages ago, but am so glad I picked it up again. King is opinionated for sure, and he throws in an f-bomb pretty often to get his point across. But his opinions are well informed by his years of trial, error, practice, failure, and, of course, great success. And, in that spirit, all I can really say is he is so fucking spot on about how to approach the craft.

It is not my dream to make a profession of this. But King’s advice and encouragement are giving me the motivation I need to keep up this hobby that I love. And now that stupid February is over, I can get back to it. It is fun for me, and keeps me happy. And with nearly 10,000 hits in 6 months, I think I finally realize that you guys enjoy it too.

Thanks for reading.

More food, less pain,