Dig Deep

There are five days left of this term. Just five! It’s time now to dig deep and finish up my work for these two classes. In the next five days, I have to:

- Write my final explication initial post and respond to two others (Medieval Lit).

- Finish writing my term paper for Medieval Lit.

- Write my final discussion posts for Studies in Place and Setting.

- Revise two stories for Studies in Place and Setting.

Once that work is complete, I will be halfway through my MA program, which feels a bit surreal. I’ve forgotten what it feels like not to have homework, but while I am enjoying my studies, I also look forward to the absence of homework in my weekly schedule. I do, technically, have a week off between terms but I will likely start some homework for my next classes next week.

My Writing Space

A few weeks ago, my classmates and I were asked to describe our writing space. Mine is different now because we’ve settled more in the new house, but this is what I wrote: 

At present, my writing corner is surrounded by two twin mattresses–one blue, one cream, leaning up against the wall. They’re covered in plastic sheaths that rustle when the wind blows in through the screen slider at the other end of the room. At present, I sit on the bench for my 88-key keyboard. Without a back or arms, I fidget, which produces a soft creaking sound from the left side of the bench. Behind me, the refridgerator hums, but otherwise, the space is silent, unless I play music. The only music I listen to while I write is of the Baroque style, since it has been scientifically proven to unlock the creative centers of the brain.

Between the fridge and my desk, a disassembled daybed rests in pieces on the floor. The rest of the room is occupied by a sofa and loveseat that are perfect for sinking into with a good book, a recliner, and a television perched upon a set of shelves. My workspace is in the basement, but it’s a walkout so between the five windows, double door, and lights, it’s pretty bright. At present, the aroma–or odor, I should say–is of the storage facility, where the furniture spent the last few weeks. The smell is stale–not damp or mildew, but even the spritz from a Febreeze bottle doesn’t completely eradicate it.

Soon, hopefully, the daybed will be assembled. The mattresses will be on its frame, and no longer blocking the light from the windows to my right. The furniture won’t have a smell, or if it does, it won’t be a stale one. Eventually, the far right wall, where the television is, will be filled with built-in bookshelves, and books. Perhaps then the air will smell of books, that delightful scent of the inside of the spine. Outside the windows there is a covered brick patio, with a chimanea. Beyond the outdoor chimney, I can see a bird house with a brown star and a brown moon painted on the front. Past that are trees–a deciduous forest that, in the summer, is filled with the deep green of leafy vegetation, and in the winter, will look like a collection of twigs, stuck into the ground.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll write a description of my writing space now, for comparison.

Ritual Shave

Today’s writing exercise also comes from my school work. I had to write a 100-word story this week (exactly 100 words), incorporating the following words:

  • orange
  • beard
  • empty
  • dreamt
  • suit

At least one of these words had to be symbolic. There were some other stipulations as well, but this is the basic gist of the exercise. Here was my result:

The prior recited the benedicto ad barbum, crossed himself, adding, “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” 

“Amen.” Denis clutched the Abbey psalter to his heart. The wet blade scraped along his jaw as the sun dipped below the orange-banded horizon. “I feel the Lord’s heavenly light. Like St. Peter, I commend myself into His service, by my vows.” He gathered the remnants of his shorn beard and placed them reverently in an empty box upon the altar.

“Piety does suit you, Brother Denis.”

“Thank you, Prior Bouchard. Long have I dreamt of serving God here in this abbey.”

Exercises like this are great because not only do they force one to work with an economy of words, but because the 100-word story had to be considered a complete story (in other words it cannot be simply an excerpt that relies on more to make it conclusive), it can easily be built out into a larger story without needing to be. This was a fun exercise and one I would happily do again with different words or even the same words.