I’d like to fall back in love with my city.
This used to be a hallmark of my life when I lived with my mother. Seeking escape, peace, quiet,
a moment to breathe before I committed matricide, I would spend my days wandering the city. An afternoon at a park. Summer sunsets at the lake. Sunday mornings at the museum or in a coffee shop with my laptop or notebook. My Instagram feed was one long love letter to the city of Cleveland (someone once told me I photographed it with the fascination of a lover).
That changed when I moved. For starters, I didn’t need to escape — I had 585 square feet of gorgeous hardwood floors, natural sunlight, and utter silence to retreat to. Then, COVID happened.
But I want that old thing back. I miss having favorite bars and neighborhood haunts and writing nooks. And if I’m honest, the lack of sensual stimulation is hurting my writing. I’m not experiencing enough of the world outside of my head
or my phone to bring life to the page.
So, Sunday, I set a date. Got out of bed at about 8:30 AM, threw on clothes, and headed to a coffee shop with my composition notebook and a copy of one of my writing Bibles, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg.
We never graduate from first grade. Over and over, we have to go back to the beginning. We should not be ashamed of this. It is good. It’s like drinking water; we don’t drink a glass once and never have to drink one again. We don’t finish one poem or novel and never have to write one again. Over and over, we begin. This is good. This is kindness.
– Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life.
With a vanilla bean latte and a pen, I got back to basics, tuning in to the world around me and capturing its details. The kind, bespectacled eyes of the twentysomething baristo who gave me a wet towel after I spilled my coffee. The scarlet and gray puff bobbing on the head of the overactive toddler in an Ohio State University hat.
It felt right. Like there’s one perfect fit, and sugar, this one is it right.