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I have a friend who loves to take his laptop and sit in a bustling café to write or work. Well-known authors of books on writing recommend just that: Take yourself off to a place that will generate ideas or kick writer’s block to the curb. That could never work for me.
I write in my office in the basement of our home, alone and in silence. The desk I use is my son’s from his high school and college days. The base is a deep, forest green that matched the shade of green he had chosen for his room. He’d also picked out a wallpaper border that showed the majestic heads of a trio of wolves with the same green background. I’d gone along with his choices but hadn’t been convinced the result would be great. In the end, it turned out beautifully.
We bought him the desk after he was admitted to a high school he really wanted to attend. He had worked so hard to pass the entrance exam and the desk was recognition of that work. He didn’t want it when he left home so I claimed it. The light, faux-oak top is scuffed and well-used now but it reminds me of the days when he sat at this very desk, tapping his pen against it and daydreaming instead of doing homework.
The lamp perched on the desk is even older. It was a wedding gift from an aunt and is made of heavy bronze with a rigid, pleated shade. I have to turn it on, even in daytime, because my office has no windows or natural light. The lamp bathes my work area in a soft pool of golden light, leaving a dusky darkness all around. It reminds me of scribes working by candlelight, their quills scratching against the paper as they write.
The bookshelf on the wall behind me is more recent. My husband offered it to me after he sold his business and no longer needed it. It houses books on horses, writing, personal development and a small selection of favourite novels.
I am happy writing in this space I call my own that’s filled with little reminders of the people in my life.
Today’s post is written for Linda G. Hill’s SoC Saturday. This week’s prompt is the word “cheek”.
The snowballs came fast and furious, pelting the kitchen window with loud, ricocheting THUDS. “Those kids are cheeky,” said the husband. “They think we can’t see them, standing in our yard throwing snowballs at our window?” He lifted the curtain from the window and shook his finger at the kids before continuing to wash the breakfast dishes.
His wife reluctantly raised her eyes from the newspaper she was reading at the kitchen table. She didn’t like being disturbed while catching up on what was going on in the world. “Boys will be boys, Richard,” she answered, before quickly going back to reading.
“They’re not boys, Marilyn. It’s a pack of wild girls out there. Where are their parents, for goodness sakes!” he said, shaking his head in bewilderment while wiping his hands on the tea towel by the sink.
Exasperated, Marilyn sighed. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just turn the other cheek.” Then she picked up the section of the paper she was reading and went to her home office to finish reading in peace.
I was surprised how saddened I was to learn that Christie Blatchford, a well-known Canadian journalist, had died this week. Surprised because when I first started to read her columns, she irritated me to no end. Apparently, I was not alone. She was a “love her or hate her” kind of journalist. Despite that, I continued to read her as if I was looking to pick a fight. There’s no doubt that if that fight had ever happened, she would have been the clear victor. Her way with words, her smarts and in your face style of writing were not things to be reckoned with.
Then she started to grow on me. I found myself agreeing with her opinions more often. Other times, even if I disagreed, I respected her perspective and the way she presented it. In response to a comment calling her a nasty anti-feminist, she denied being an anti-feminist then added, “I might be nasty, though. That might be true.”
She wrote with passion and clarity, two things that don’t always go hand-in-hand. She was Canada’s first female sports columnist at the Globe & Mail in 1973. She did a stint with Canadian troops covering the war Afghanistan. Most recently, she spent her days in courtrooms covering high profile trials and writing with fervour about how the justice system often fails victims. One headline in an article about her death read that she was “unafraid and unapologetic” and that was certainly true. I am only sorry that I didn’t discover her earlier. RIP Christie Blatchford.
Dead at 68: Christie Blatchford was a tenacious voice for victims, a thorn to the smug