A Story: One Winter Day in the Life of a Writer

In our house, taking out the trash involves scooping cat litter and adding a week’s worth of poop to our trash. This is usually my husband’s chore. Today, I decide to help my stressed-out husband who is in back-to-back meetings at the office. He says he doesn’t have enough time to take sips of water and this is something I can’t relate to at all—I spend my days drinking gallons of water.

So, I haul the trash down the flight of steps to the can on wheels in the garage. I’m wearing my navy long winter coat and mittens. The snow is melting but I can still see my breath.

Things are rolling along just fine until the wheel of the can runs into my heel. The trash flips over, twisting my wrist and I’m instantly testing out new vocabulary words right there in the middle of our driveway.

Sure, the trash is a mess, but mostly nothing in my day has gone as expected. I’m a writer so this means I spend most of my day thinking about writing. I strategize about people who will pay me to write and make decisions every day about people who offer to not pay me to write.

Also, I spend my days learning about writing and you will hear every great writer say, “Sit your butt in the chair and write.” I’ve uncovered a flaw to this reasoning. When I sit my butt in the chair for extended periods of time, yes, I’m showing dedication to my craft, but I’m also flaring up my SI joint. “Sitting is the new smoking,” says every great chiropractor. I sit and I write and then what do you know, someone comes behind me and jabs a knife in my back and twists it around for good measure.

This is how I end up on the yoga mat looking up at the passing clouds, thinking about a dear friend who gave a talk once where the main point was, “Look up to find hope in the mess.” She says I contributed to the idea for this theme, but this couldn’t be true because when this phrase comes to me suddenly, it feels like news to me.

Flat on the floor, I look up at the skylight that’s a window back and forth in time, pleading, please, dear rolling clouds, this roof over our heads, someone has to hold up this roof. Give me the words to keep this roof from falling.

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