This morning I lay sunken into my marshmallow of a bed. I felt like I’d been pressed in there by a giant thumb. I was up before six and got out of bed just long enough to make coffee: a double espresso topped with steamed almond coconut milk, sweetened with maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon, yummy.
Coffee cup on the windowsill, the bedside lamp illuminating dimly through its red silk shade, plush white pillows propped against the wall, and me in the midst of it all: coffee, comfort, and peace.
I’d started reading Brenda Ueland’s book: If You Want to Write: a Book about Art, Independence and Spirit, the night before and was keen to continue. My laptop in front of me, its screen open to a free pdf of the book, I sipped cinnamon-y sweet foam and I read, and the more I read the more excited I got. Ueland’s advice was engaging and I tucked away the advice that resonated most: Get outside and go for walk, she said. Walking inspires the imagination, she said, and you must do it every day. I knew she was right. It’s so simple, and yet it isn’t simple at all. Something holds me back from doing the ‘simple’. As Ueland points out, we all have the “same conviction of inner importance, fire, of the god within” yet for the past six months–since moving back to the city–I’d been sabotaging any inkling of progress.
My idleness is not necessarily laziness–although sometimes it is– it’s more of an ego thing, because not being good at something can be embarrassing when you really want to be good at it. My ego aside, as I read Ueland’s words it became clear that my imagination, or lack of one, was the real problem. I can’t sit down and expect to write without it. Where did my imagination go? The answer is simple: I’ve stopped walking for the sake of walking. At the cabin, I walked every day and after an hour or so in the forest my mind would be whirl of ideas. Back then, before I’d understood the importance of keeping a notebook and pen on me at all times, I’d rush back to the cabin to write down all I could remember. It is the act of walking, of going for a stroll, of taking the time to mosey and dally and do all those things your mother told you not to do before you headed off to school in the morning. The further you walk, the more mindful you become, and you stop listening to that inner chatter to focus on what’s happening around you. What’s that noise? Look at those trees? That one’s as big as seven trees! Oh my god, the sky! It’s so beautiful. And, No way! Two perfectly good coffee mugs!‘ Yes, on the first walk inspired by the book, I came across two cups perfectly suited for my kitchen. They sat outside a shed, a gift? I own only three mugs, two are turquoise vintage Fire King coffee cups, lovely but on the small side, and the other is a large white mug, which I drink my morning latte out of, but I chipped it a few days earlier and so I no longer like drinking out of it. So, anyway, buying mugs had been on my mind. I might also add, before happening on this find, I’d been walking through a cemetery and had taken a moment to pause by the Lest We Forget monument, I’d read aloud: Basel Rennie, died on February 11th 193someting — my way of showing a little respect. It was minutes later that I spotted the mugs. Coincidence? I wonder.
It began to rain. I continued along in the grey morning drizzle, dangling one cup from each icy cold forefinger. I hardly noticed the cold–my imagination was keeping me warm.