Winter window

Tucked into the corner of my bedroom is a small desk that sits sideways to a skylight. This is where I write. When I write, I take my glasses off. I do this partly  because I see things close up better without them. If paper were glass, I would fog up the page, that’s how close I get when I write.

I write first drafts using pen and paper and I rest my head in one hand, bent low over the page like a 10 year old writing a test in school protecting my answers from cheaters. This post was written using a green super-fine Sharpie which is a slow vehicle to write with compared to a good roller-ball but I like the colour. The notebook’s lines are also green so I have to get my face close to the page to keep the script from falling below the line or drifting over the one above. I like that my face nearly touches the page. Have you ever seen videos of Glen Gould playing the piano, hunched and muttering as he works over the keys? That’s kind of how I am over my notebook. I can smell the ink coming out of the pen and see  it absorbed into the paper. I smile when I write.

The other reason I take my glasses off is because when I look up from writing, everything is blurry. If I lift my head up and gaze out the window, I won’t notice distracting details like my neighbour’s kitchen window cranked open even though we’re in the midst of a freezing rain storm. If I happen to walk by when she’s cooking, I’m seduced by the aromas of garlic, chili, curry, or braising beef and onions that waft into the street. Often I stand there and just breathe letting my dog sniff the curb to his heart’s content. If I can’t see that her  window is open, I won’t be tempted to step outside and slurp the air.

Instead I listen to the ice pellets chatter against the window, watch them melt into tiny torrents. That’s all I can see because I’m not wearing my glasses. I curl my arm, rest my head in the bend and settle the words in the little green canyon of lines.





27 thoughts on “Winter window

  1. Bruce Goodman December 28, 2015 / 11:49 am

    The Glen Gould imagery does you no justice! For starters, he’s still wearing his glasses. I’ve never heard the expression “roller ball” before. We call them either biros or ballpoints!


    • Susanne December 28, 2015 / 12:10 pm

      It was more the hunched aspect I was going for than the bespectacled one. I love how he mumbles and hums as he plays. Do you know that his piano used to sit in a quiet alcove at the National Library and Archives of Canada and, if no security guard was hanging around, you could sit down at it and touch the keys.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bruce Goodman December 28, 2015 / 12:25 pm

        His Bach Preludes and Fugues – at least the first 8 I think of them – was one of two records I had as a kid!


      • Susanne December 28, 2015 / 12:46 pm

        He was a genius with Bach. An Ottawa boy, ya know. Another great local/international pianist is Angela Hewitt but she’s just a run of the mill brilliant sort. My first record was the Rolling Stones High Tide and Green Grass. I was 9 and my much older brother gave it to me. God knows why.


  2. jbbluesman December 28, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    I can relate to this Sue on the level of staying away from distractions. My room where I practice my guitar is my computer. Every morning when I’m having breakfast I plan my practice routine and in the back of my mind is a conversation I have with myself “are you going to stay of the internet not search Youtube videos get on Facebook keep checking your email” It is an ongoing battle especially this time of year when I’m not busking. ‘Good on you for not wearing your glasses’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne December 28, 2015 / 12:47 pm

      Oh my does that sound familiar! I put the laptop away when I’m writing and hide my Blackberry so they won’t distract me. Today, despite best intentions, I didn’t get any writing done this morning. Today’s post was written yesterday!


  3. hilarycustancegreen December 28, 2015 / 5:42 pm

    Your writing method sounds so vivid and seductive, yet I am the opposite. Although I like to have a pencil and scraps of paper near me wherever I go, I can only compose a sentence on the computer. My hands are too slow and clumsy and the writing so messy, that I am distracted by its appearance and cannot see the ideas. The invention of the computer has opened the window into my brain. I juggle, lenses and glasses and the glasses steam up… Thanks for the Gould, which I had not heard before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 9:11 am

      My writing definitely gets messier as I compose but I’m still able to decipher the thoughts. I’m just love the tactile experience of writing with a pen and am always on the hunt for better tools. Sometimes I rewrite a draft by hand a few times before getting to the computer. I find that switching the tools has an effect on the outcome, too, because I see different things once the thing is typed. I too love the ability the computer gives us to move things around with ease.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner December 28, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    If slurping the air is conducive to writing as beautifully as you do, I’m moving to Canada. And thanks for the Gould today too.


    • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 9:14 am

      Isn’t Gould a crazy genius? My neighbour’s kitchen window attracts many admirers, not just me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. kutukamus December 28, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    The wording is neat and the flow is smooth, I guess that must be doing you good. 🙂
    (PS: my loyal distraction is the ever attacking mosquitoes)


    • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 9:16 am

      Oooh, nasty mosquitoes. We have them thick and zesty here starting in the spring and going through to the first frost. I like to sit outside and write, especially in the summer, but I need to be surrounded by citronella candles to keep the beasts at bay.


  6. dawnkinster December 28, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    I understand the need to avoid distractions. But I don’t think I could write with a pen. I can’t read my own writing most of the time. Plus it’s slow. And I forget what I was going to say before I get there. The line I liked best from the post above was “step outside and slurp the air.” That was perfect!


    • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 9:27 am

      It seems you’re in good company, Dawn. Have a look at Hilary’s comment. My thoughts also come at me like a jet plane so as I write and something occurs to me I make a one word margin note to remember that thing. If you could smell my neighbour’s cooking you’d want a straw into her window – seriously!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. J.B. Whitmore December 28, 2015 / 10:12 pm

    Just started wearing glasses after years of contacts, and take mine off now to write, too. It’s kind of nice to look up and have things far away be fuzzy. Cheers! Now, back to your little green canyons.


    • Cynthia Jobin December 28, 2015 / 11:15 pm

      I guess most writers have their special quirks about the physical mechanics of writing. I must have a black gel pen and I work in those old fashioned mottled black and white composition books until a draft is ready for type. I always think my thoughts travel from my brain down my arm, my hand, and into the pen on paper. As long as it’s handwritten it is still in gestation. Once it goes on the computer and I can see it in type, I consider it more “public” though I still continue to revise and tweak it there. I edit on the computer, but I think and write with a pen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 9:23 am

        Gel pens – yes! I have those in a rainbow collection of colours, too. I haunt the pen aisle at our local stationery store always on the lookout for something new to play with. I believe there is some brain/body connection in writing by hand (pretty sure I read a smarty-pants research article about this somewhere).
        I remember those composition books! They remind me of primary school. My daughter gave me the most beautiful leather bound journal for Christmas and I’m afraid to write in it for fear I won’t live up to the binding. Thanks for sharing your writing quirks, Cynthia. Now I can picture you at work on your poetry.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Cynthia Jobin December 29, 2015 / 9:39 am

        Oooooo I have several times been gifted with beautiful journals and they are still all blank….I feel as if the writing should be momentous before I even start…..they are too beautiful. The only one I ever filled was in the year after my partner died. I wrote an off-the-cuff little poem in it every day, 365 little testaments to grief. I’ve only opened and re-read it once. Sometime I will do so again.


      • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 12:06 pm

        Hmm. You’ve given me some food for thought on the everyday poetry. You are always an inspiration.

        It’s is hard to revisit grief no matter how many years go by since the loss. Last summer when I looked at all the letters my mother wrote to me it brought back some of the pain of losing her. Although the intensity of the grief had passed I was surprised it was still there.


    • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 9:25 am

      Fuzziness is a state of mind, body, and spirit that I’ve grown to like as the years pile on. It goes with my hair!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. derrickjknight December 29, 2015 / 4:46 am

    I had a period in a life drawing group. Being short-sighted I needed specs to see the model, but not the paper. I bought some vari-focals with plain glass. Now I am at the age where I hardly need glasses at all.


    • Susanne December 29, 2015 / 4:32 pm

      I hope I get to the stage of not needing specs at all, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. exiledprospero January 7, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    Yes, I have seen Glenn Gould, but if you like hunched and muttering, you should try Keith Jarrett, who floats above and below the keyboard, unless he’s actually inside the piano, plucking the strings without intermediary.

    Wonderful self-portrait though.


    • Susanne January 7, 2016 / 9:03 pm

      I just watched a video performance. Mama! He’s all over the place!


      • exiledprospero January 8, 2016 / 8:09 am

        And he can play too!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. joey January 9, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    Fabulous imagery. What great green words you must scribble out with such intensity and a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Susanne January 9, 2016 / 9:10 pm

    Writing always makes me smile, even when it’s not very good. I bought a bright pink Flare pen the other day. Who know what effect that colour will have on the brain/hand connection.


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