Because of that, it is not hard for me to journal. I like to write and use my office supplies. Every day, three pages, usually first thing the morning. A.) it clears my mind, helps me focus. I get a handle on my day. B.) I feel it’s important for me to be familiar with the act and idea of writing.
As an audiobook narrator and actor, I give life to characters that heretofore only live in the reader’s or writer’s imagination. Marks on a page, symbols on a computer screen, that are open for interpretation by any set of eyes that fall upon them. When I give them voice they are narrowed to a much more specific existence. I must have the notion of what it feels to write, to use language visually as well as aurally. This is my best shot to hit the bull’s eye of the writer’s intention.
Having the perfect pen then, becomes a mission. Any office supply store is my mecca.
My most recent favorite is the Papermate Profile. I prefer blue ink. I am also a fan of the Foray Pilot. The Foray I prefer in black. It brings me great pleasure to have the perfect pen in my hand; to float across the page on exactly the flow of ink I desire.
The feel of the pen, the balanced rhythm of its speed, the perfect thickness of line, the vibrant color of ink – these are the subtle details that give my journal-ing a buoyancy, an unexpected lift, a surprise and success, that launch me, better prepared, into my day. And much more creative.
Saturday, as I sojourned to Office Depot for new pens, I glimpsed a deeper meaning to these simple tools and their procurement; why this ritual is imperative, and how simply and easily it can be folded into daily life.
First of all, the very trip to Office Depot created an excitement and an importance, not only to my day, but to this act of creativity and self care in which I engage – my daily three pages. There was a sweetness to the simple errand that can be hard to come by in this busy world. It wasn’t a massage or a vacation, but it was a little fun excursion all for me. I can’t imagine a day when something like that would not be welcome. It made me and my writing feel special. And how nice not to wait or hope for someone else to do that!
Secondly, the pens themselves are little gifts. These simple useful tools give me great pleasure. My aforementioned office supply passion revealed, seeking out the exact brand and color is a treasure hunt. I couldn’t find the Papermate. I got to relish in an investigation of what I might prefer instead. I chose the Pilot G-2. I am not disappointed. I allowed myself a pack of colored ink pens – purple, pink, blue, and teal. What a splurge! All for a little over ten dollars. Not flowers or candy but hey, they won’t die for some time to come and they won’t make my jeans snug!
Finally, the pens are a symbol of a place of my own. I have always sought such a space – whether traveling away from home to work on a show or when space is scare or shared. A desk, a window sill, the wall beside my bed can become a treasure trove of memory and inspiration. It reflects my identity, reminds me who I am, whispers of what might be. It comforts me.
I have three specific areas in my home that are all mine, for the most part. I share them with no one. They are my refuge, my secret garden. They are where small things grow. Each space is dressed out exactly the way I want, in my own unique style, Architectural Digest be damned. They are adorned with things I love from my past, things that make me feel good, make me smile.
My office is the space where handle my business. The table on which my computer sits is Pennsylvania Dutch picked out from a flea market. My grad school diploma, a glowing review, my own amateur photos are on the wall, here to remind me of accomplishments when I need a lift. A special hutch has a special shelf with photos of my dearest girlfriends.
The out-of-doors I share with my family. But in the mornings, when I write, it is all mine. Well, mine and the dogs and the birds. My husband and I have worked hard to make this SoCal desertscape flourish in an environmentally-friendly way. Our neighbors think we’re nuts to eschew a landscaping crew. But we enjoy the work and can be particularly proud of the results. Sitting out there of a morning is a wonder almost indescribable. For me particularly, the garden has a healing capacity. I have learned to turn to Nature when I am restless and unsettled. All I have to do is walk out my back door.
Finally, I have a new space. An odd dog leg juts off my laundry room. We’ve lived here fifteen years. This space has never realized its potential. For a while the ironing board sat there. Then a wonderful secretary with a Spanish flair. Long but not terribly deep, the nature of the space never allowed room to move. Until a dear friend with a great interior design eye offered me a philosophy – take everything out of the room and re-imagine the space. She also suggested, to maximize utilization, a worktable running the length of the room. With the additional suggestion by my husband of reclaimed wood for the table’s surface, this funky little space has been transformed to a room of dreams and creativity. All my ‘stuff’ is back there – my stickers, my papers, my paints, my fabric. Yes, even my pens! A couple of trips to IKEA and not a lot of money later there is storage galore. And plenty of surface space to pull out the sewing machine, the wrapping paper, or whatever project and while away the hours bringing my imagination to life. All in secret, hidden away from the main flow of household traffic and interference.
It is hard to imagine a creative who would not benefit from these three gifts; an exciting little trip, a sweet little gift, a place of one’s own. It’s not hard, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Listening to one’s heart, thinking about what you love, is the key. This care of self and spirit is essential, joyous, and never too late to begin.