Writing and Coffee

Amy Carr and I started a writing support group on Monday nights. One of our members, the brilliant DeBorah Gray, (“MaMa Dee”) offered this assignment from a writing contest. Use the following words in a piece:

butter, music, coffee, constellation, illumination, window pane.

Here’s what I wrote during last week’s ten minute in-class writing exercise.

There is nothing I like better than coffee, no friend as dear or faithful. Every morning my coffee is there for me. Friends, lovers, or husbands may come and go, but my coffee will remain.

I sometimes whisper to myself, “First sip of the day,” right before I take the first sip of the day.

I feel illuminated, lit from within. I take my pen to paper. I begin to write. I write about three pages long-hand every morning, a la Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way. Sometimes I stop writing to stare out the windowpane at the empty, abandoned courtyard outside my kitchen.

I lose my flow. I long for a constellation of meaning. I begin to dread the next task, having to wake the kids. I hate, hate, hate having to rustle the kids out of bed. It is my lowest part of the day. When I have to set down my notebook and pen and take up the harpy role.

I have to shift from writer to mother. Ugh. All I want to do is write. I feel irritated that I have to do anything else, like butter my children’s toast or pay the bills.

I turn the radio up loud, alerting the kids that life is happening.English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

I detest the move from solitude to sharing space. I feel ill prepared to assume the responsibility of motherhood.I love my children, but honestly, first thing in the morning, I love my coffee and writing more.

Can Cleaning Be Exercise?

broom by creative commons

I have updated one of my four blogs (about faithcreative writingNew York, or this one, fitness) at least every other day during 2011. When I began in January 2011, I posted every day for 66 days, because I’d heard that’s how long it takes to make a habit.

When I traveled or wrote my NaNoWriMo (November’s National Novel Writing month), I slacked a bit. But mostly I’ve been consistent with my blogging.

I need to retire a couple of my blogs and this one, Running Aground, is the lead candidate for retirement. This has been my least popular and least updated blog. Reading about my attempt to run a 5K may not have mass appeal. And I don’t write on this one because I think that if I haven’t exercised by swimming, running, or going to Pilates class, I haven’t worked out. (Although, yes, I’ve written about sleep and diet, as well.)

But wait — I clean a lot and, living in New York City, I walk a lot! So let’s remember — Cleaning is a good work out. In an hour, you burn:

  • Sweeping: 240
  • Packing/Unpacking: 220
  • Scrubbing floors on hands and knees: 325 (Who does this?)
  • Cleaning, light (dusting, wiping down counters, picking up clothes): 100
  • Cleaning, general (washing dishes, doing laundry): 200

according to a post by Divine Caroline (Brie Cadman).

This post is an attempt to encourage myself to believe in the power of the clean-up work out! Now, Mary Beth, get out there and clean! I have about an hour to unpack from our Chicago trip and pack for our Adirondacks trip, take down the Christmas tree, and generally tidy up this apartment where I’ve hosted four parties in one month!

There’s been a lot of stash and dash over the holidays. Now let’s burn some calories by cleaning. But wait, first, I have to update my Facebook status and check my friends’ news.

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