Writing in corners

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Austin Kleon talks about Bliss Station as perhaps both ideal place, but also ideal time to get the very independent work of doing done.

Even he believes this is the best solution in an ideal world and as I struggle to actually take advantage of my own carved out time on my calendar, and as I see deadlines start to pass me by for my “on the side writing,” I realize that I need to stop looking for my own bliss station and start writing in corners and in the car as I am sitting in traffic. Perhaps my ideal time that I carved out – Wednesdays, 7-10 am – really only works if I stop looking for the ideal chair, the perfect light, the best inspirational quote and I really just write.

So this is me, just writing after one whole month and a half of having my every Wednesday morning carved out for writing on my Google calendar as well as my paper calendar. This is me writing for the first Wednesday instead of wishing that I was writing or feeling guilty that I was not writing. I am not at home on my uncomfortable, cheap office chair, nor am I at the university in my comfy chair but always with the risk of a distractions from students, colleagues, email and fast wi fi.

I am sitting at a Honda service center on a little round table with plastic chairs waiting for my car to get looked at. I am here with a television blasting the morning news and a view of the men’s bathroom. Perhaps this is the bliss station because hey, at least I am writing.

I sat in on a student writing group the other day and one of my students was supposed to be reading his poem that he had just written as a way for me to model Elbow groups based on Peter Elbow’s work Writing Without Teachers. He is a science teacher candidate, not used to being forced to write poetry from a couple of mentor texts so in the 10 minutes I gave him to write, I gave him this technique: write “I don’t know what to write” until your pen is so used to moving that you will start to write with fluency.

When “J” shared his piece to our small Elbow group, he read “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I carry my father’s last name, but I wish I carried my mother’s. I don’t know what to write. . .”

The way he read it. The way after a series of the same sentence he would throw us some pearl of insight and then close up again was so powerful that as I think back to that now, I realize that I have absolutely no excuse for not having anything to write. I just have to build up my stamina for writing by writing.

What I need to/want to write about:

  • The cosmogenic relationship to Kuahuokalā (the dirt that smells like my grandfather’s yard and the dirt below the mango trees)
  • and how this relationship has created a hale that is my Room of Requirement (walk past three times with your intention in mind and the room, like magic, provides what is necessary)
  • Abstract for our work in community partnerships – pilina, pilina, pilina
  • The lessons of Hiʻiaka in Honouliuli and how that is the foundation of the secondary education program




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