It’s not a day to be outside. Wind and cold rain. Grey sky. The birds are hiding out in the snuggest places they can find. Even the neighbour’s Irish Setter has not been through our yard on his usual patrol of the neighbourhood.
Like the birds, today I am in the snuggest place I can find. In my studio, on the couch, Doctor Who blanket laid over my legs. Vivaldi concertos playing on my laptop, and the heating turned up two degrees warmer than usual.
So much of what I do in my life is a search for major and minor comforts.
Today my big comfort is writing by hand.
I always write my first drafts by hand. Moving a pencil across the lines of loose leaf paper is soothing to me. There is a sweet, slow rhythm in this movement, a connection of mind and body that grounds me as I go.
Writing by hand is a waltz. The sway and turn of my pencil forming patterns of words feels like the shift and slide of my feet on a dance floor. Here is something created by my body and mind in partnered movement. Each completed pattern of 1-2-3 is another thought, another sentence.
Of course I write on my laptop, too, but that is a different kind of dance. The rhythm is staccato, my fingers hopping from key to key, my thoughts hopping as well. I don’t feel partnered. No, this is me at a high school Friday night dance, with the coloured lights flashing, the music at a full volume bounce off the walls, my feet pounding invented rhythms, loads of energy tearing through.
If I want a lyrical piece of writing, I begin with pencil and paper and hand. If I want an in-your-face piece of writing, I go straight to the laptop.
If I had to choose only one set of writing tools, it would be pencil and paper. My writing moves deepest by hand, and that is what I am always reaching for. I want the place that touches the heart. For me, that is pencil in hand and a waltz across the page.
dance with me it says.
We bow, step and turn,
my life marked out in breath and beat.
A path of love
a walk of light,
and when I reach your door
my heart to yours
Dance with me.