Hey, my friends.
If you aren’t in a hurry and happen to care, I’d like to tell you about my writing desk— the things on it and the things inside.
I’ve hung pressed flowers in the corner of my bedroom here, trying to bring a bit of the garden inside. One is a lilac from my friend who now lives far, far away, and I think it still smells behind the glass. On my desk below is a picture of Frog and Toad in a rowboat that my pal, Quinn, drew for me, and I swear it looks just like the book illustrations by Arnold Lobel. I tucked a Christmas card from Esther into a corner of the frame that has Anne Shirley’s words on it:
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.”
I also got a print from Mallory at Christmas that I pasted on the side of my bookshelf, displaying all the flora species of Middle-Earth: pipe weed and mushrooms and athelas (the healing herb). And then there’s the half-finished drawing Elsie left on my desk from yesterday, of four puffed clouds, two round fruit trees, and three flowers with spikey petals.
“I’m going to draw a garden,” she had said.
I heard about a writer who keeps pictures of her family on her desk to remind her she’s writing for them. I thought about doing that too, but then I realized I already am in my own way. The things on my desk fill my peripheral vision as I write, and when I get caught in a wind of far-off abstractions, these flowers, sketches, and cards bring me and my writing home again.
But a writing desk isn’t just for flowers and cards. It’s for writing, and lately, I’ve spent every morning in this corner.
For several months, I’ve been working on a non-fiction project as a student in the Author Conservatory. Even though I’m not ready to share all the details, it’s high time I told you good people that I’m waist-deep into the biggest writing project I’ve ever attempted— and it’s one I hope doesn’t stay locked inside the Conservatory.
In the meantime, I’ve been interviewing people, drafting a synopsis, and making outlines, all trying to put flesh on this billowy idea. Right now, it’s a vanilla folder running over with notebook paper, but I’m praying it will soon become incarnate enough to share with the world— and by that, of course, I mean you.
In another wing of the Conservatory, I’m honing my business skills. I’ve decided to take the writing coaching business I launched in winter and expand it into an Inklings-style summer group!
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to sit in the back room of the Oxford pub with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and to throw my writing ideas onto the table. I’m hoping this summer group will be a place where writers can do that across from one another.
We’ll spend eight weeks:
- Reading each other’s works
- Learning to critique AND receive critique effectively
- Applying high-level training to our writing
- Inspiring one another to take our skills to a new level
- (And likely drinking lots of tea in the process)
Currently, all six slots are filled for the summer group, but if this is something that interests you, please let know! I’d love to start a second group when I can.
Before I sign off, I want to mention that new, good projects sometimes mean sacrificing other good things (at least for awhile). This summer, I think I’ll take a break from writing long-form essays each month. There will still be Sketches and emails each Sunday, but I’m doing my best to steward and direct my energy toward the projects at hand, and essays take a whole lot of brainwork.
You can look for one, last essay this Thursday before my summer break.
I’d say that’s enough about me.
Where do you find yourself these days, and what are your hands full with? Writing is only one, small way to carry out Kingdom work. How are you doing it?
(And if you’re a writer like me, what’s on your desk?)