A Writer’s Bubble

Shiny new apple

By Janine from Mililani, Hawaii, United States (shiny new apple Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A vinyl kitchen chair, circa 1972, peers across the cluttered table.  Uneven piles of books and skewed papers cascade toward the edge of the tabletop.  A laptop is anchored on a place mat opposite the spying chair, it’s screen open and blazing word shadows on the writer’s glasses.  A once rolled newspaper sits atop a down-facing open book, which straddles an off-kilter stack of other books – all of it off-center on a mismatched chair.

The bulletin board by the light switch dangles its captives: a book of stamps, several bills, business hours for the local library and a restaurant 20 miles away, and a visitor’s pass.  A phone sits below, on the floor – inches from the wall jack as the snaking cord attests. Its red battery charge light glares defiantly, as if daring any corner table that might one day arrive on a white horse.  In the corner, three rolls of Christmas wrapping paper are leaning like a tent over a forgotten roll of scotch tape.

The tick-tick-ticking of the gas heater, shutting off as it meets the thermostat’s goal, keeps time with the car engines tutting by outside.  The headspace crunching of crackers being chewed interrupts the otherwise pseudo-silence in the room.

She types all this sporadically, pausing only to slurp coffee or scratch, her left knee bouncing from time to time.  The other three quarters of the room are behind her, but she doesn’t turn around.  She doesn’t look or study what is not in her fan of head swivel.  She types; she reaches for her cell phone and checks the time; she types.

Her eyes fall from the screen to her hands and she continues pushing the words to the screen.  She notices the muscle memory of her fingers and thumbs and how they work in unison, almost separately from the rest of her body.  She doesn’t hold a favorable opinion of these pudgy extensions of her arms in the day to day.  But she notices their shape when positioned like this – doing this.  The right corner of her mouth lifts.  Her hands are sexy when she writes.


This piece was inspired by a writing exercise called “No Ideas, But in Things” in Brian Kiteley’s book The 3 A.M. Epiphany.  I highly recommend it to those of you who have a day job that rattles around in your head when you’re finally home and trying to write.


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