It's grey and dark here today—that temperature of light that makes you turn lights on, even during the day. Sleet, snow, rain, hail, and wind. Driving the carpool this morning in this weather, I found myself daydreaming about our February trip to
A fragment of Elizabeth Bishop's poem "Questions of Travel" came to mind: "and then a sudden golden silence in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes." Right there, in the car at the stoplight by the McDonald's where eight or ten school buses visit every morning, I decided to change today's writing challenge. First, a recap of the rules:
The writing exercise rules:
1.Write for at least ten minutes.
2.Let the topic be a starting point and see where it takes you—if you veer off in an entirely different direction, that's fabulous!
3.Keep writing. Don't let your fingers stop. If you run out of ideas, simply transcribe the thoughts in your head.
4.NO EDITING! Don't backspace or cross out or stop to look up how to spell a word. You can do that after your writing time is up.
5.If you want to publish what you wrote—on your blog, or on the Textuality website, you can edit. But only AFTER the writing, not during!
Today's writing prompt Write a vacation memory. It can be from a trip you took last week or one you took seventeen years ago; the time of the experience doesn't matter. Rather than writing a list of what you did on the trip, try to focus on exploring one small moment, some small experience (it can be good or bad) that has stuck in your memory. Write with the goal of getting your reader to feel what you felt.
As if some great wave had picked us all up and then randomly spread us out on the beach, we are scattered like seashells ourselves as we look for seashells. Kendell is near the pier, with its glimmering shadows and the teal underbelly of waves wrapped around the poles, ostensibly watching the pelicans, which stay always one step ahead of you, but only one, and seem to be tripled: their shadow, their reflection in the thin sheet of water they stand in, and their very bodies—a heavy machinework that seems too bulky for flight.
Really he is talking on his cell phone.
Jacob is racing the waves, trying not to get wet but not caring if he does. Nathan, halfway between his older brother and his dad, probes the sand with his toes. That blonde hair seems to make him the epitome of a
So I run.
My feet are bare. I'm wearing a swimsuit and a sweatshirt and goosebumps; the wind catches my hair up into Medusa swirls and maybe the light—which is so beautiful, glinting off the waves, bronzing the sand, tripling everything—catches it, too. I run for three minutes, and then for five, past Kaleb, past Haley. Not breathless, my heart barely seeming to pound even though I am sprinting. I'm running as hard and as fast as I can, not for the exercise or the conditioning but just for the sheer joy of running, of freedom, of being alive right at this very second. It is painless, effortless, joyful running, the way I run when I am dreaming, the way I wish running could always be—movement as a translation of joy. I sprint down the sand, everything (children and husband and obligations and sorrow and aches, those awkwardly beautiful pelicans) behind me, everything in front of me (time, distance, water, wind).