For Want of a Window Seat

6 Aug

story book come to life

I’ve been missing my window seat.

I haven’t sat on that glorified ledge in years. Not in earnest. Probably something to do with my being in California and its being back in Missouri…

Why am I so concerned about this window seat? I realized that I lack a proper writing environment. Have been lacking one, honestly, for the past four years, minus that brief stretch of San Diego that happened at the end of last year. While I was still in treatment, during my PHP and IOP phases, I had a beautiful glass table where I could sit with my steaming mug of coffee and stare out at the world while the sun rose at six in the morning  and the soft blue and yellow of the sky made the dark rooftop slats sharp against the horizon. Now that was a proper writing environment. And look what happened. Out popped a book.

What is a “proper writing environment” anyway? I mean somewhere I can sit and work, sit and dream and think and wonder and imagine characters and poetry and story lines. A place where life’s not so loud that the deep thoughts are scared away. They can startle at loud noises so easily, after all.

It’s difficult to find a writing home. Sure, there’s the desk in my room… surrounded by the clutter of classes and unopened mail and loose change and all the random crap I meant to put away a week or three ago. And that’s to say nothing of the laundry basket and annoyingly noticeable trash bin and those black garbage bags that I still haven’t finished unpacking from when I first moved in two months ago.

My room, I think we can agree, is not the best of writing environments. With so much life crammed and concentrated into the not-very-many-feet by even-fewer-feet space, my room basically breeds procrastination.

So what to do? The campus buildings are disgruntlingly short on window seats. Yes, I’m lucky enough to have a balcony – that overlooks the student-named “trash courtyard.” Dumpsters aren’t exactly the most pleasurable of writing companions.

Sure, there are coffee houses. But not all coffee houses are created equal. I’ve had great success in the past with Swork, what with their local art displays and cushioned bench by the windows and colorful clientele. But Swork is also a highway drive away… not exactly something available on regular basis for a full-time college student whose class schedule has decided that she’s going to have classes from morning until 10 pm at night. There are closer coffee shops… but none of them quite have the right vibe for me. There’s too much of a chaotic pulse in the bustle. Or for some reason I get all jittery and start surreptitiously peering at the other patrons over the top of my laptop screen because it just doesn’t feel private enough to really think my own thoughts, let alone write them down in a word processor. Irrational, I know, but it just comes down to too much distraction or discomfort.

My window seat was beautiful. It was nestled in the east-facing wall of my room and was brightly lit throughout most of the day. I could lock my bedroom door, plug in my CD player, and stare out at the world. That’s why my window seat was so beautiful, really. Through it, I could see more than my front yard and the neighbor’s houses and the lights of the suburban town beyond; I could see mountains in another world and seas that black magic almost froze over and gateways hidden among the urban grunge. That seat gave me a window into my own mind as much as it let me see outside. I could sit in that window seat for hours, breaking the flow of my pencil through innumerable pages only to give my dog, the only other one who shared my window seat, a scratch behind the ears. I eked out an entire manuscript in that window seat, lived a lifetime’s worth of dreams, met a world’s worth of places. I wrote my own story there more than I wrote any other.

Those kind of places are few and far between.

Yes, I need a new window seat. I need somewhere I can let my mind get lost.

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