Daily Write 2

A porcelain horse stands on my bookshelf, Guardian of the Books. His coat is mossy gray, cold and slightly scuffed to the touch, like something that was once smooth as a round marble but has been roughened by the dust of years. I don’t actually know how old he is, but I could imagine that he is a hundred years old. His black eyes – satin black gems of some sort – seem to be quite ancient, in an introspective sort of way. If I look into them, I think of all the days they might have seen, of the fields and cities, of battles and celebrations, of rooms and people far beyond my own. But when I look into either of his, for I cannot stare deeply into both at once, being as they are placed on opposite sides of his head, I see nothing but a distorted reflection of myself, and thus his mystery deepens.

I wonder how many other admirers have touched his flowing black mane; it has a touch of green to it, as if someone painted his mane emerald before it was painted black. His bridle, too, is green, but a dusty, hazy bluish-green the same color as his saddle pad. And the saddle itself, as porcelain as the rest of the horse, is the color of the Grand Canyon walls, a dull brown with hints of red and purple.

Indeed, the seat of the saddle is the smoothest part of the entire figurine, much like a saddle on display in a museum, worn nearly through the seat from years of use. The rest of the saddle may be cut, scratched, patched or worn through, but that seat is smoother and shinier than the day it was made.

But nobody has ever ridden this porcelain horse, have they? He’s a figurine, a decoration, an item at a garage sale.

Ahhh…now this is when that glorious human ability comes into play – “imagination.” Because how many other fingers have rubbed over that same seat? How many horseless children have placed this figurine upon a chipped windowsill and ran their fingers across the saddle, squinting their eyes until the skyscrapers become mountains, the streetlights campfires in the valley below, the honking cars bleating sheep, the rushing traffic the roar of a waterfall, the smell of car exhaust the stench of an enemies’ fires…and suddenly the children are no longer in their bedroom but sitting astride a mossy gray horse, watching over a war-torn valley from a secret, private overlook. They hold the blue-green bridle reins – soft as twisted curtains in their hands – and feel the black mane whisk upon their cheeks like a gentle breeze.

You know the rest of the story, I’m sure, so I needn’t detail here how the children ride off on that imaginary horse.

 

Daily Write 1

So, I decided to start writing for twenty minutes every day. I need to get back in the habit. Or, at least maintain the habit. I didn’t go through five years of college just to forget all that I learned. And one of the fundamental practices of an author is writing every single day. Even if just for a little while. It’s desperately important….

I know that God has gifted me as I writer. I believe that He wants me to be an author, hopefully more than just Mounting Up. He has given me the opportunity to learn so much over the past five years of college education…more years than that if I count home-schooling and the correspondence course I took. But the past five years have truly finessed my skill.

Not that I can’t learn more. A person can always learn more. But how can I learn if I don’t keep writing? If I don’t make mistakes and correct them? If I don’t try new things? If I don’t find new editors.

Writing is a passion. One that I never want to give up. So many books touched and molded my life as a child – fiction and nonfiction books alike! I need to read War and Peace again. That was by far one of the greatest and most transforming books I ever read. My goal in writing – perhaps “my mission” is a better term – is to change lives, much as books have changed my life.

Twenty minutes. I’m currently giving myself twenty minutes a day to just write, to pour myself out on the page. But what do I want those twenty minutes to look like? I don’t necessarily want to free-write every single time as I’m doing now. Certainly, free writing can be very useful, especially for brainstorming, but it isn’t the most disciplined or productive form of writing, at least for me. So what should I write about? How should I write about it?

Maybe I should just answer those main reporter questions as I write….

What should I write about?

How should I write?

When should I write?

Where should I write?

Why should I write?

I think I already answered the “why,” so how about we start with “what” – what should I write about? And, of course, one of the key things I learned in class comes to mind – write what you know. (Was that Dr. Davis’s class? I believe so.) Write about God, faith, college, cooking, newlywed life, running, horses, goats, sheep, cattle, driving, riding, writing, hiking, running, eating disorders, dogs, settling into a new home, crafting, joy, friendship, Scripture, mountains, road trips, Wyoming, Montana…. Write what you know.

So how will I write about what I know? Not just freestyle, but with specifics. I’ll focus on character, setting, plot, and dialogue. (Aren’t those the key components?) Maybe one day I’ll create a character or two. Another I might describe something I know well – an old horse barn with cracks between the logs, allowing shafts of sunlight to illuminate the tiny specks of fragrant dust rising from the disturbed straw. (I love description…I’ll have to be careful to not spend all my time there!). Then I might combine the two with vibrant action!

When to write…right now I just finished my run/stretch routine and, for now, I think this might be a prime time to write. A good workout and stretch clears my mind of all the distracting pieces of life flittering about, allowing me to calm down, sit still, and focus on a task at hand. We’ll try that plan for a while. What about the days on which I don’t run? I’ll probably still have to do some sort of workout or stretching routine, just to calm my mind enough. That’ll be good incentive to workout on “off” days!

Where to write? That’s easy…at my writing desk! The beautiful little roll top desk that is just barely big enough for my laptop, a cup of tea, and some papers. But it’s big enough for the imagination and that, my friends, is all that matters. I’m in the brightly lit kitchen – one of my favorite places to be, with windows and doors right in front of me, letting in the fresh air and hilly, grassy, soon-to-be-snowy views. The door will be left open when possible, for the noise of birds is beautiful this afternoon. And when the winter months are too cold, I’ll shut the door and open the curtain in front of me, opening to a view of snow.