My Room and its View
When I sit on the couch with my Macbook or journal, I am usually absorbed in my work. My view is my computer screen or scribbly writing or messy edits. A few days ago, I’d been working for several hours without a break. (I recommend a brain break at least every hour, so I wasn’t following my own advice.) Anyway, I put away my edits, took my glass of tea, and moved to the other side of the couch for a slight change of scenery.
The house was silent. The streaming sunlight made the windows glow and the floors gleam.
After days of cold cloud cover, a tablespoon of sunlight uplifts, inspires, warms, tricks me into believing winter is over even when it isn’t.
I took a picture.
And then I studied the picture.
And I started thinking about what exactly made my room and its view calming to me.
A Peaceful Space
For me, creating a peaceful, comfortable environment involves balancing individual items that mean something personal while giving each item space to breathe. Plus, the more I can see the backdrop of nature, the better.
Do you remember those picture exercises in the back of Highlights Magazine? You know the ones— a black-and-white, sketched picture of kids crammed on a chaotic school bus or folks eating at the busy neighborhood diner? You had to search for a list of hidden items like a notebook, an eraser, a wooden spoon, etc.?
Keiser Elementary School Library had Highlights Magazines in the periodical section. They were scattered around in dentist and doctor’s offices, too. But we couldn’t write in those because they were for “everyone” to enjoy.
My version of “Hidden Picture”
As I studied the picture of my room, I made a list of things in the view that are special to me. If you want to re-live the Highlights game, you can play along and find them. And guess what? Today is National Puzzle Day so there’s that.
Here’s the picture again:
- Nana’s silver tea service.
- Charlie Brown-like Christmas tree (which is now winter decor).
- Suncatcher Tate made in pre-school.
- Cotton boll kissing ball purchased in Mississippi during my road trip to the Alabama Book Fest.
- Antique fan that belonged to my in-laws.
- Vintage spice jars.
- The Last Supper painting (also belonged to my in-laws).
- Small Arkansas clay ornament (made by an artisan in Mississippi).
- Original Paige Ray “corn” dishtowel.
- Succulents over-wintering in the sunshine.
- Original art by John Boerner.
When I was in high school, my English teacher, Mrs. Key, often asked us to choose one of the pictures on the classroom wall, stare at it until our eyes crossed, and then write a short story about the photograph. The image was a French countryside, a city market, a bullfight. I always loved those exercises because they took me away from the classroom, away from Mississippi County, away from myself.
I think she was on to something.
A simple change of perspective can be a restart button for your creative brain.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Paul McCartney, A Room With a View