You are lost in thought, have moved from gathering herbs to the opening scene of one of your stories (there are herbs in that too). You are no longer in your garden but in the kitchen of a home that only exists within the puddles of ink gathering onto your page.
Casual onlookers would see nothing out of the ordinary, nothing more than a woman pruning her garden. The fools. They do not see the story weaving itself before your eyes, made of rosemary, eggshells, and a spark of imagination. They do not know that what they just witness was nothing short of magic. (Perhaps one day they will, though, when they pick up that story with that opening scene in that kitchen built of words and paper. Then they will know how you spun stories out of stolen moments among your plants.)
Or take the hour you spent away from your writing desk because your body no longer wanted to sit still but dance the silent dance of yoga asana, freeing the words nesting at the bottom of your spine. Your prose came more fluidly after that as if your spine were a pen dipped into the ink of your day, ready to release the stories it has acted out on the mat and absorbed between sunrise and sunset.
Sometimes your writing is the evening you set aside for more words, but after a day of being saturated in them, you find that there is nothing more appealing that pajamas, a glass of wine, and whatever old movie is playing on the television. And if your hands must move--that twitch a phantom ache from not pressing your fingerpads on the keyboard--you will knit, stitching memories into the threads you loop together for your infinite blankets.
Then there are the words hastily scribbled on a crumpled tissue or old handout as your students pour over their marked up papers, trying to make sense of the narrative you wove into those tight margins. This is when the words come most of all: it the space between breaths, when you are not allowed to labor over this comma or that scene, but can only hastily spend a brief flash of insight onto the wilted edge of last month's essay prompt.
And yes, sometimes you even find yourself writing at your desk, as people so often suspect you do in order to lay sentences, like bricks, into the walls that make up the home of your craft. This comes with its own pull to wipe the excess mortar between those brick for the most elusive of miracles: a page without typos (if such a thing exists, you often wonder, when you run your fingers between your bricks, once again hoping to smooth out the pebbles in the thick cement you had already combed through).
More often than not, writing is in the moments you close your eyes and let sleep take you; where else would you find the worlds carved into the inside of a star or the memory that seems to come from nowhere except the amber-leafed shade tree you find only at the crossroads between wake and sleep? Other times you find yourself in similar dreamworlds, this time within the folds of book covers rather than your sheets. Yes, your writing is in feeding your soul, so that each story you devour becomes a future bone in the vertebra of your own.
You find your words, too, at the tip of a fountain pen waiting to spill its black seed onto your page. Sometimes you keep those seeds in the pen, for as eager as they are to make their mark in this world, you can tell they are not truly ready to commit themselves to paper. This moment, between holding your pen in your hand and pressing its tip to a blank page, is where the writing happens, not so much in what will be written as in what you ponder to possibly transcribe.
So you let your words come to you of their own accord. You let yourself feel your craft wrap around you like a cozy sweater, stocking up on all those images and feelings and memories (some your own, some pressed within the pages of books), until your pen is full to bursting, ready to let the abundance of your prose gush onto the page. In the meantime, you get lost in thought. You make a cup of tea. You take a long walk down a forgotten lane. You feed your senses until you feel as if you might burst with the pleasure in peeling and eating an apple. That is what writing looks like.
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational collection of musings touching on life’s simple pleasures, everyday enchantments, and delectable recipes that will guarantee to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe here.