Living and Writing in the Present – Writing 101

Carol A. Hand

I awake but it seems too dark to be time to arise. My first thoughts, sadly, are doubts about writing only about my day. I lie in bed luxuriating in the warmth of the extra layers of blankets, feeling the cooler air on my cheeks. I lose track of time as my mind wanders, but finally I open my eyes and lift up my old fragile battery-powered plastic alarm clock. Squinting in the grey light, my glasses still on the nightstand by me bed, I see it’s a little after seven.

What an uneventful life I lead now, today!

Finally I kick back the extra covers to discover it’s not as chilly as I thought it’d be, but it’s still dark and damp. Fall is definitely here.

As I arise and head toward the stairs, I realize why it’s so hard to envision writing only in the present. As my gaze passes over the blond-finished dresser in the alcove, I think about how many memories it holds about its many moves and so many other times. Everything has memories. I can’t part with some of the things because of those memories, but my bedroom is the least cluttered room in my house.

I wind down the stairs to the living/dining area, the center of my daytime indoor world. Gripping the railing tightly, I climb over the child gate at the foot of the steps, careful not to slip and hurt the little dog sleeping on the rug below. My glasses now on, I can see the bright number gleaming on the electric digital clock, 7:19. I have many clocks, but it’s the only electric one. (I’m used to many years without electricity.)

See what I mean? Even the simplest things carry memories and connecting threads to other times, people and places. Perhaps that’s as it should be. I’m in the time of my life when I have time to make sense of memories and contemplate the tapestry of past and present.

Ok. Time for coffee. This writing thing is becoming obsessive.

I put on the tea kettle to boil water for my morning instant coffee – yes, that has stories, too, and I peer out the kitchen window. I watch the little girl and her father walking down the alley on their way to the grade school just across the street. Their matching striped umbrellas tell me I’ll need to greet the morning from my back stoop this morning. It’s the only door with a little protective roof – shelter from the rain.

As I sit on the stoop to greet the morning, I breathe in the fresh cool damp air and listen – the sounds of busy morning traffic on the avenue two blocks away, the sounds of leaves rusting in the wind, and the sound of water dripping from the eaves. A gentle steady rain falls. A neighbor’s large grey rabbit shelters under another neighbor’s truck. I watch as it flattens its ears on its back as it chews.

I check my blog before reading the news. The message center is working for a change, so I decide to reciprocate the kindness of those who have liked and commented on my previous posts. I know I will lose my own language as I read the words of others, but still, this is something I feel the need to do.

Although I value all of the comments and likes, I’m especially grateful for substantive comments from Diane and Hildegard about yesterday’s post. Yes, here I am switching time frames to link the past, present, and future. It’s a constant in my life, this temporal interweaving, not just in this present stage of my life. I did need to know if anyone would be able to rise above the emotions of reminders of a hurtful past that may expose the shame of privilege we often carry deep inside. Privilege that accrued from the suffering one’s ancestor’s inflicted, knowingly or not, on others, to leave a better legacy for their descendants while sowing destruction for others. Shame we carry for the privileges we enjoy today.

It’s what I try to minimize in my actions today by living simply. Yet the electricity and fuel that enables me to write and blog, and make my morning coffee, comes at the cost of others who are displaced by resource wars and climate change, by underpaid workers who harvest and produce the food and clothing I can take for granted.

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Photo: Notable Quotes

But it’s time to read the news and get on with my tasks for the day
Inside chores because of the steady, cold rain
Preserving food for the winter
Spackling inherited cracks in the kitchen ceiling
And other practical boring to-read-about things
But first let me wish you all a blessed day.

 Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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19 Responses to Living and Writing in the Present – Writing 101

  1. Hmmm – sometimes those “mundane” rainy-day things are therapeutic in themselves! 🙂
    Hope you have a lovely quiet day! And thank-you for the kind acknowledgement of our thought-exchanges and the link to my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol, I felt I was right there with you in your morning routine…lovely. Yes, our past, present and future sometimes get entwined but it is good to try to be in the present moment. Many Blessings to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like this, your writing in the present. It flowed rather nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cicorm says:

    Like Barbara said, there is empathy here for the downtrodden of the past, and even the present. Let’s take our blessings with gratitude, and not forget the mission that comes with it: to help shine a clear and positive path ahead. Collectively, with our little torches combined, we can make bright!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melissa Shaw-Smith says:

    You may find the daily tasks boring, but your recounting of them is most certainly not. You strike a lovely balance between description and musing. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rosemawrites says:

    It felt like I was with you because you have described your morning too well. Nice one, Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I loved your writing about your day here, Carol. I find it fascinating to see how others, especially I like and respect, live their day to day lives. I also like learning more about my followers. I feel as though many of you are dear friends and would love to be able to spend time in your worlds and writings like this help to that end. I felt like I was sitting right there with you.
    Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are such kind and lovely comments, Natalie. I would love to visit with you in your garden sipping tea and learning more about your life (although probably not in mid-summer 🙂 ). And please know you’re always welcome to share tea here, too (or instant coffee if you would prefer).

      Sending you deep gratitude for your kindness, and hugs. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh you would be welcome in my garden anytime, Carol! But you’re right, from July through even September is not the time to come. It’s just so nasty hot here. In fact it’s in August that I seriously start thinking about heading north and running away from home until it gets cooler. And I would love to come share so tea with you and listen to you tell me all about yourself and your life. I’m so glad and grateful to that we’ve met and are at least friends via WP. Have a wonderful weekend, dear Carol! Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Indira says:

    This writing thing is becoming obsessive indeed for me too. Nice enjoyable post.

    Liked by 1 person

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