Hello and good morning to all of my fellow isolators! 

As I leisurely move about my house since the isolation, no longer rushing through tasks before running out of the door to work, I noticed that one of my rooms has begun to take on a life of its own.  There are items that appear to have taken up residence on the dresser, the shelves and within the containers hiding under the bed. I suppose I that I have seen them before. In fact, I am probably the one that stuck them there while rushing to put then in a temporary home and out of my everyday view.  As I looked into the room I realized that based on the number of new residents that have homesteaded in the room…I have been way to busy!

It has been shown that our external environments often reflect our internal environments. The chaos, strict order of things or the free-flowing nature of a space can reflect those similar spaces inside of us.  This week we will explore our writing from that place. I imagine that many of you have a special room in your house, a designated chair or a spot on the sofa that you’ve identified as yours. It could be the place you read, watch TV, do work or hide from the rest of the family.

Today, I decided to sit in the room that has become the recipient of homeless, unclaimed items and overflow from other rooms like the Island of Misfits in that wonderful Christmas show.  I sat in a red leather armless chair, placed in a corner to perfectly round out that odd space. A small black table stood beside it with a calming Buddha perched there – seemingly as a reminder today for me to be in the moment.

As I looked around the room from the red chair, I wonder if I even sat on this chair in the store before buying it.  Even though it looks attractive against the gray walls, the seat was, I believe, never meant for anything more than a decorative pillow to rest on it.  I also wonder why I allowed my sister to talk me into gray walls.  Surrounded by these walls I felt dull, I felt unmotivated to write or even to think.  My own internal gray walls felt triggered as I continued to sit here.  As I thought about how this external space was reflective of my internal space, I felt a strong urge to run from the discomfort, to paint over the paralysis with calming earth tones and to feel the comforting items of my chosen space.

I stay in this thorny place and wondered how often we all find our internal landscape so uncomfortable and want to run to escape them with busy-ness. How often do we try to paint over it with a brighter color or a new wallpaper to occupy our thoughts and escape the gray walls?  How often do we not allow these places to tell their story through the items they hold? I wondered about sitting with this unrest inside, this discomfort, as if I were one of the temporary items occupying this space. I thought about how often others may also feel alien to their internal landscapes.

This room was reflective of me during my transition from a place I loved to a place where I felt I needed to return to.  It represented an unsettled part of me and the uncertainty of a choice.  These walls hold the state of fear of a new beginning that felt like the shadow side of what I imagined. When I first moved here from out of state and I slept in this room.  It was the only room that wasn’t filled with unpacked boxes. I slept on a mattress placed up against an inside wall with some smaller boxes being used as a nightstand and a place to drape my clothes over.  It was the first room I knew in this strange new environment and the one I lived in for many months as my home underwent major renovations.  Perhaps, that is why I avoid this room now or that I feel a bit temporary in there.  It was a holding pattern for me until my new bedroom was constructed and I could spread out, relax and secure my special spot to read at night and write with my dogs at my side.

Recently, I cleared out this room after my daughter took some of her items – that had remained here in limbo for 2 years-back to her apartment.  It is her room when she comes to visit but in between it is a magnet for items that don’t quite fit in other places and where dust-bunnies joyfully abound.  This was the first time I sat there to write in 10 years. Pumpkin was also there at my side and curled up sleeping and content to be in any familiar space or just by my side.  Animals are content in the presence of their people and perhaps, space has less importance for them.  But as I sat there, I was very aware of how my surrounding environment impacted me and my inner environment. 

Today, I challenge you to write from a specific place.  Find that place in your home or outside in your yard that you do not spend much time in.  Maybe it is the kitchen, the basement or the island of misfits’ room that you may have in your home.  It could be a little corner in the yard that no one ever sits in.  You can even sit in your closet or someone else’s in your house or sit in the pantry and write from there. Write from a hallway or an entrance way.  Rather than sitting on a chair, sit on the floor and write from that perspective.  Write from a bed or a hammock.  Write from a place that you are less familiar with and start with what you see, hear, smell, taste or touch in that space.

Writing prompt week 2:

  • Write from your senses – always start with what is present and then move to the containers under the bed and stuff in the drawers. Expose everything.  Write about how that space is similar or different from your internal space.
  • Write about how it feels to be in that space. Allow past memories to arise and move into your writing – allow them to take up residence on the page. Don’t push away any thought or feeling that arises: think about it as cleaning the internal room and allow your thoughts and feeling to surface so you can give them a permanent place on the page.
  • Describe everything even if you believe it is not remarkable or interesting. If you are in someone else’s space write about what you see and how that describes that person and how that is similar or different from you.
  • Write to a find a way to be comfortable in that unfamiliar space. Find a way to make friends with it and to set-up a cozy corner just for yourself.

As always, keep your pen and pencil moving across the page.  Let your fingers stay with the keyboard even when your thoughts want to remove you from the gray walls.  Challenge yourself to stay and write through the discomfort and out to the other side.  Pull the curtains back or turn on a light so you can see more clearly into the internal space and clean out the dust bunnies of negative thoughts.

Enjoy and please just have fun!!

Dottie Kelly

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