MORNING COFFEE 13 - poised

by Susan Weber

My cultured friend, a reader and a writer, met me for coffee at On The Rise, a sunny shop that smells like your grandma’s kitchen on a baking day. My friend asked how the writing was going. When I admitted to spending the bulk of my time reading lately, she tipped her lidded cup at me and smiled. “Research,” she said.

Random thoughts interfered with any kind of lucid reply. Wasn’t research a tame excuse for inertia? Weeks ago I’d retired from teaching, streamlined the morning routine, eager to hold court at my writing desk. Reading came willingly. Writing did not. The word research rang hollow, clanging away in the great hall of guilt I was working hard to ignore. But there, over coffee, in the leavening presence of a friend, I considered the meaning of chimes.

I'm not working on an MFA in Creative Writing. Calling what I do research is an awkward stretch. My syllabus is novels by writers passing through town and titles thrust at me by literary friends. Like phantom branches thrown about in non-existent thunderstorms, my imaginings include spirited professors who give me prompts and evaluate my progress. I see mad writers roving the encampments, implements swollen with full-bodied ink. I don't feel one with their worthy clan.

I’ve chosen a solitary incubation. My eyes move through published works, my mind is primed to pounce on inspiration. Research may be as good a word as any for this bell tower heralding the time.

Despite the guilt, I seem to have patience with the process. That’s not a bad thing, right? Write.

Photo by Лобачев Владимир Public Domain