In spite of the deadline and all the pressure of being done on Friday, I am treating myself—I went to Coffee Studio in Andersonville. I haven’t been there in almost a year since I lived in Edgewater. I live in Andersonville now, which is right next door. Funny what a difference six blocks makes.
I needed this. Lately I’ve been plowing through these words and haven’t been treating myself very nicely, missing almost all of my week of Artist’s Way. Finishing a novel and going through creative recovery is not a good combo.
But this morning I said Fuck it. I walked to Coffee Studio. I’ll have less time to write but I don’t care. I’m listening to some Ben Howard, which always centers me creatively. I putter around writing about my mindset instead of my novel.
My eyes wander. I watch the way the old couple at the table in front of me share a breakfast and coffee—her downcast eyes and slight smile, his eyesight tracking out the window; her body is very still and slight and she is listening while his body is always moving as his conversation does the same. I study a pregnant woman with her arms crossed chewing her lip and waiting for her drink. I take in the earthy sweetness of my dolche latte, a favorite of mine, and smile at the swirling designs etched in its foam like smoke caught in a photograph. The sky from where I sit shows sunlight and rain clouds, and I forgot my umbrella and hope for the best.
All of this life comes at me, and I wish for nothing but to capture it with words and phrases, evoking the emotion and energy I feel when I witness it. (I think I’ll take up poetry next. This novel writing business feels too much like digging under the earth for eight years. I miss the sun, metaphorically and literally. I wish to sit on a chair somewhere on a continental isthmus, writing poetry all day like the old painters do in Virginia Woolf novels.)
I’m so glad I took the time to be gentle to myself, to do something lovely like this. I feel the verve and life of my creative self again. A being within my being, skin on skin, it touches me and moves me. I love so much this feeling, this creative creature, and I know it so much likes me when I do things like this. It’s amazing what happens when we stop treating ourselves like machines and let ourselves be amazed children again.
Most importantly, this little side trip will help me.
The old couple walk out, the wife smiles greatly to her husband as he comes back from the bathroom with his arms raised. I didn’t catch the joke. But I feel I don’t have to.
P.S. The very fact that I’ve written this little ditty while also writing out this novel just goes to show myself that I will always be creative if I allow myself to be. I need to treat myself more often. I deserve it. We all do.