The Wedding Gift 1991, Desert Rose Franciscan place setting and teapot, blue linocut print © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
There’s a tree outside the window near where I sit. I don’t know what kind of tree it is; it’s almost winter and the branches are bare. But I notice it has what look like buds on the thinnest limbs — although, how could that be? Maybe these are bud placeholders, dormant points where new life will come in spring.
I worry as a writer whether my mind can capture and hold the names of trees. Here, I’ll list the ones I know: Cottonwood, Catalpa, Oak, Maple, Plum, Red Bud, Blue Spruce, Apricot, Apple, Peach, Cherry, Russian Olive, Ponderosa Pine, Juniper, Globe Willow.
Growing up we had a Sycamore tree that grew in a round-topped formation. The seeds of the Sycamore hung like itch-bomb ornaments, which we plucked and threw at each other or exploded on the sidewalk for fun.
When you go to a restaurant, do you notice the color of the plate on which your meal is served? Is it red, and if it is red, is it brick red or candy apple red? I sometimes check my fork to make sure there’s no dried food in between the prongs, but I usually miss whether the handle has a beaded edge or a plain one.
I can tell you that right now I’m drinking coffee and steamed milk out of a Starbucks to-go cup, the medium size (although I don’t remember, is that tall or grande?, because grande makes more sense to me, yet it seems Starbucks considers it a tall).
The point I’m trying to make is, you’ve got to have detail when you write. You’ve got to be awake to what is around you.
Do this. Sit down, take out your pen and notebook, and do a ten-minute writing practice on “What’s in front of me.” If you need something more, empty out your pockets and write about what you see.
And if you’re ever at a loss for a writing topic, use “What’s in front of me.” It will remind you to be present to your surroundings. The more you wake up, the more detail you can call on when you write.
Pieces Of Becoming A Missus 1991, black linocut print © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.