The room sits at low-tide. Eddies twirl sluggish through muddy gray waters. Slow eyelids blink, sleepy frogs gathered ‘round in a circle. We hope that gathering and moving pen across paper will stir enough energy in this morning’s free-association writing group to stir those eddies into rivulets of free-flowing inspiration.
We push through, and ideas grow like air bubbles on a frog’s nostrils, sticky domes that seep and fill and pop on to the empty pages of our journals. The few laptops present click like winter-fallen leaves in a desultory breeze. I am slogging along this morning, the pen clumsy in my hand.
Coffee, scalding hot and big as my head, would have been a good jump-start to this sleepy Saturday morning. The half cup I had before heading out to this tiny library, tucked among the newly-gentrified warehouse district in a Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood, was not enough to get the Muse rolling. She may well be still curled up at home with my cat, sleeping in.
Perhaps as we write together, elbow-to-elbow at this cluster of shiny wooden tables, we’ll loosen and share our energy flow. The room may warm up and create laughter and connection, the other reason we write together. But perhaps today, that doesn’t flow until we read?
Drawing a blank because I’ve stepped out of the moment. Too many externals and got-to-do’s intruding on this protected time. Can’t pop that mud bubble.
In the here and now, pages flip back and forth, journals slide over pale polished wood. Three corners of laptops tap, pause, backspace frantically, and run forward like mice discovering a broken bag of granola in a morning pantry.
Was that the cat’s bell we just heard? The clump of a cook’s clog stumping across the kitchen floor, her arms white with flour and her face already florid?
Cook wipes the back of a hand across her forehead as she considers; she’s been up for hours. Her fists rest on ample hips as she runs through the day’s meals to be prepared, the stern word she’ll have with the village grocer’s often-tardy delivery boy, and the arrival of her employer’s grandchildren for today’s Sunday dinner.
It’s miserable gray outside, and the ache in her bad knee promises heavy rainfall. Those kids will tumble into her kitchen, freckles twinkling and fair hair flying, seeking relief from adult gravitas, two generations of mothers and fathers still wrangling over who’s in charge, what can be said out loud (not much) and what can be alluded to (not much there either).
Cook snorts and mumbles “Not in my family, no way.” She rattles her pots and pans in satisfaction. “They’ll need to punch some dough, those rascally little mites, maybe stack some wood and move canned goods from one side of the pantry to the other.”
The mice tremble and step up their search and storage operations. It’s going to be a long day.
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2018)
Free Association Writer’s Circle Prompt: Energy