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Sit down, slow down y escribir.

posted May 9, 2017, 8:15 AM by Colleen Getty   [ updated May 9, 2017, 8:25 AM ]
It’s quiet—so quiet. I can actually hear the clock on the wall ticking. It is not so much a tick but a soft tap of something fragile, steady as it circles around and around and around. It’s calm. And this is not even in the “Quiet” room. This is the “Not-so-Quiet” room. Oh yes, I suppose it is “Not-so-Quiet” in here. There are grown men playing a game of basketball directly above my head in the Gymnasium upstairs. Some might mistake the sound for the running of the bulls in Spain as they are set free from their pens and allowed to thrash from one end of a city to the other in search of any old gap that will give way to their mass. However, I am not in Spain.

I am in a room and I barely register the trampling above. Those feet and legs and sounds are not my responsibility. They are not being made by eight little feet ages 9, 7, 6, or 3 and so poof—they don’t bother me. I do not need to walk upstairs and tell any of them to go back to bed—they have school tomorrow. No. I am in this room to write. And that is all I have to do. I focus on my words until slowly, slowly that mass of hooves turns into distant ocean waves that drift in and out, sometimes louder and sometimes barely retracing the damp silhouette licked into the sand just moments before. Who needs Spain and large animals chasing grown men when I have a room beneath grown men chasing a ball. It’s as if I’m in Spain.

People pay big money to get away from it all—some place like Spain, perhaps—but really we just need to harness a few hours a week for ourselves and our thoughts. Remember thoughts? I used to whittle away hours thinking. To find a room alone with my thoughts I don’t have to go to Spain. I can go a long way on much less. The last time I was in this room there were pens, markers, halves of pencils and paperclips on the floor along with tiny pieces of paper (probably the wrappings of crayons that were taken off and broken in to itsy bitsy pieces of confetti—because that is what kids do). And, yes, I looked around for a minute and thought I should go find a vacuum, but—no!  

In this room I am not “mom.” I am not a cookie, meatball, cake, sandwich or pasta maker. I am not drink-getter. I do not have to tell anybody to go to bed, again and again, or get ready for school, again, or to practice piano, again, or to brush their teeth, “for real this time, and floss—I’m gonna check them.” Do moms in Spain have to do this too?

In this room I am a writer. I sit and sip water. I look around and wait for a thought—wait for it. I sit. I sip. I type. I scribble. I just stare. I could be in Spain for all I know.

Nobody asks if they can sit in my lap and can I read a book too? Nobody asks what I am drinking or if they can have a sip of it—or actually, can I just get them their own drink? Nobody starts pressing buttons on my keyboard as I type or hovers so close that I have to save what I’m writing every five seconds because they are going to press something—I just know it. Nobody is taking my pen and scribbling on furniture or asking for a pen or writing in my notebook. Nobody is asking what I’m staring at or why I’m not talking or starting to laugh because this must be a game—“Staring contest starting . . . NOW!” Nobody is asking me anything in English or in Spanish. Quiet knows no language.

I listen to the clock tick and think of just how long a minute has the potential of being. At home minutes just do not exist—except in time-out, on the step at the bottom of the stairs.

Today, I told myself, “Going to a room to write is the last thing I have time or energy for.” The whole day was one of those never-ending task-to-task marathons where you do not have energy for the next task and there is no way you can do one more thing, but you tell yourself you can do one more thing and you do it. Then you doubt, then you do—one more thing. You go on like that, one task at a time, all day. I’m exhausted. How can I write? A drive down the street may as well be a flight to Spain. I’m that tired! 

But I decide to do one more thing. I pack up my bag. I get in my car. I go. I get here. I open the door. I sit down. I set up. I hear the clock tapping gently, setting the pace and slowing me down. I realize as I turn inward—I awaken. At home I would still be micromanaging, redirecting, feeling so much more exhausted than I do right now.

Write. Now.

Sit down, slow down and write.