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.