Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Work-A-Day World

When a writer goes to work on any given day, nothing is ever the same as it was the day before.

To begin with, there is the sunrise outside the door waiting to be watched. I love to see each new watercolor day stretch out on the horizon. I do find myself enjoying it more in the country than I did in the city because I can see farther. Although, I have to tell you, watching the sun bounce off the buildings of downtown Minneapolis is pretty cool, too. Even on a grey day, there are nuances to the clouds that make me stop to consider their depth and purpose.

When we are at work doing the things that we must to pay the bills, we see things differently than you might, too. We hear our co-workers sighs and laughter and wonder what’s happening without us. We sing within ourselves as the hum of the day dances in our heads.

As a legal secretary, sometimes it’s very, very difficult to be a writer. Not the kind of business transactional law that I’m working with now, but the other stuff: medical malpractice. There were days that the human tragedy which immersed me pulled me deep into its sorrow and I could hardly breathe. I would have to find a place to pray so I could continue to face it. Useless, senseless, awful tragedy and bitter lives filled my screen day after day after day. I would awake at night fearful that some miniscule mistake I made would add to the sadness by losing the trial or undoing the settlement. Honestly. Writers feel entirely too much for that type of work.

Now is better. The files on my desk at the beginning of the day are put away, filed cleanly, settled in their spaces before I leave at the end of the day. Clean. Neat. Functional.

That’s the best kind of work for a writer.

Teaching was tough, too. I had to constantly concentrate on who was doing what and why. Each day presented a new set of needs. My heart hurt so badly for the young lives I was challenged to mold. What if I said the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person? What if my encouragement was ill received and tore down instead of built up? What if I failed? This was their education at stake! One can never re-live a slice of their educational life. You either get it or you get passed over. I fretted often that I didn’t know the most important lessons. I prayed a lot then, too.

Now is better. The files on my desk at the beginning of the day are put away, filed cleanly, settled in their spaces before I leave at the end of the day. Clean. Neat. Functional.

I can’t say I miss the challenge, although I did enjoy the other seasons. I like this one better. It allows my creative mind to wander and gives me impetus to write. This is the best kind of work for a writer.

I know that this is where I should be. I see the blessing of the moment and enjoy it as it tells today’s story.

Casual conversations participated in or overheard confirm my suspicions. My writer’s ear is always sensitive to hear beyond the obvious. Time will tell how and when my life will become meshed with theirs. I can wait.

When a writer leaves work, they see the setting sun, the decorative sparkles tossed across the sky, the strangers hurrying beside them and smile. Words walk through the writer’s car looking for a pen and paper. I liked the train commute in Minneapolis for its opportunity to write and read. I like the drive now to give space to the words as they germinate.

You might just go to work.

A writer experiences the day. Tomorrow, see if you don’t notice the sky. What words would you use to paint it?

Welcome to work through a writer’s eyes.

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