Phantasy Friday: When Writing Eludes You, Listen

It’s been a yucky week. Between a miserable earache and the resultant heavy-duty antibiotics, I feel dulled to near Zombie-ism. Even my thought processes are slow and stumbling. So I sat here I know for twenty minutes thinking “What to write? What to write? What to write?”

Then it dawned on me. I pulled out my grandmother’s cure-all I haven’t used in a while. Settle somewhere, chair or grass doesn’t matter, and ground yourself. Breathe deep, then exhale slowly and fully, allowing yourself to go limp, chin falling to your chest. “Thinning yourself” as she called it. With each exhalation allow a bit more of yourself to slip away and spread out. Three or maybe four breaths and you’ll be amazed at how relaxed you are . . . and how aware of your surroundings you’ve become.

The first thing I noticed were the coyotes howling in the distance. I hadn’t heard them over the television. Got up and opened the window a little to hear better.  The cold seeped in immediately, somehow one with the distant white face of the waxing moon. Settled again, legs stretched before me on the bed, inhaled, exhaled, thinned, and just connected. There had to be a dozen voices in the pack, discordant, yet strangely melodic; some prolonged and strong, some warbling, some yipping, yet together they created a night time chorus. The sound seemed to shiver in the cold, making me as acutely aware of the individuals as their combined effect.

Inhale, exhale, thin. I caught the sound of horse hooves moving at a slow loping gallop. I was attuned enough to smile as my mind followed Shamrock around the moonlit field, each stride lazy and stretching, not at all bothered by the coyote pack circling closer. I knew exactly when she rounded the far corner by the heavier staccato thuds as she spun in a new direction, driving hard to pick up speed for the sheer joy of running. Heard her snort in rhythm with her rolling gait as her hooves thudded in the grass; blow soft horsey grunts when she dug into the ground in a burst of power.

Inhale, exhale, thin. The sharp, trilling one-two-threee note of a night-bird. Probably the same one who kept me awake all night earlier in the week. An owl hooted ‘who-cooks-for-you’, somewhere closer to the pond. Caught myself hoping he missed the small bunnies come out nibble on damp grass.

Inhale, exhale, thin. The loud unexpected bray of the neighbor’s jackass a half mile up the road causes me to jump. Intrusive, carrying in the clear night, he overrides all the gentle sounds. He keeps up his brash sawing for an impossible length of time, sounding so much like a hoarse, harsh horn I start to laugh. His noise has broken my concentration.

Inhale, exhale, thin. I notice house sounds now. The soft slap of ceiling fan blades, set to spin slow. The dog sighing after a stretch, falling immediately into a puttering snore. The dulled pulsing rumble of the cat purring against my side. Another dog, at the other end of the house, settles in his crate, ready to sleep after an active day.

Inhale, exhale, thin. Cellophane crinkles. Hubby peeling and eating his hard candies–

Wait. Hubby’s watching TV in the living room. Jarred back to immediacy I hang over the edge of the bed just in time to see Spider Monkey dive head first into the industrial size bag of hard candies, snatch up a cinnamon disc and streak out of the room with it. Weird cat. The only ones she steals are the cinnamon ones.

I know there’ll be a few more sounds later tonight. The sharp ping, skid, pop-pop-pop, cr-rack of a candy ricocheting off the baseboards up and down the hall as the cats indulge in a midnight game of cat hockey. Maybe even a “Dammit!” or two if hubby steps on it barefoot.

And just like that my senses are stirred and I’m in the mood to write. Have to get up and close that window first though. I’m shivering and my fingers are so cold they’re stiff! Grandmother was right though; if a person want to find peace or inspiration, the first thing they need to do is to step away from themselves. It’s surprising how much can fill that extra bit of room.

Good writing everybody!


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