Yesterday I was walking all over my home with a feather duster that does not have real feathers, getting rid of cobwebs up high in corners and around books in bookshelves. You know, the kind that you never see until you are sitting in your living room having coffee with company?
These tiny, nearly invisible webs are built in areas that do not get much action, obviously. It's embarrassing to know that the intricate web between the fireplace mantel and the wall had to be a pretty complicated and time consuming project, and yet the little corner was left undisturbed and untouched for who knows how long. (We had 3 sets of overnight guests last month and I cleaned! I did, really!)
So anyway, while I was destroying some poor little spider's masterpiece yesterday, I began to imagine living with less "stuff". Fewer unused items to dust and clean. I recently read a blog called ancndrv, about a couple who are giving up a house and living full-time in a trailer or RV. Could I do this? Would I do this?
My mind took a quick detour just then, as it tends to do, and I thought about the great book by Stephen King On Writing that I just finished reading. Writer Son left it for me after his last visit, saying that even though it was aimed at fiction writers, he thought I would enjoy it. And I did very much! Even though I don't read King's huge list of books because they are too scary and bloody for me. I highly recommend it to all serious writers.
Okay, so why did the detour take me there? Because the question I had been about to mull over while I dusted would require me to use my imagination. Would I, could I, ever live in an RV or tiny cottage somewhere? Imagination is the central theme of all fiction writing, but it is also has to be a big part of non-fiction essay writing as I am doing now.
If I am not willing to let my mind wander through a new idea, such as leaving all my belongings behind and starting fresh in a smaller place, then I will have very little to write about. As a non-fiction writer I still tell stories and I need to learn how to describe my thoughts in a way that will help you nod your head with a yes-I-know-what-you-mean kind of agreement. (Actually this post is giving me some serious doubts that I am expressing it clearly enough to get that nod. But I will plod onward.)
Meanwhile back at the ranch....Would I/Could I give up my beloved house and downsize (don't really like that word!) to a much smaller place? We are in our late 50's and the nest is empty, so theoretically it would make sense. Not that this house is terribly large, its just your everyday single-level track house. I do want a comfortable place for the kids and their families to come back to for visits in the years to come. But other than that, I could do it.......I think.
I could do it if........and this is where the fiction-imagination kicks in.......it was in a beautiful setting. Along side some gorgeous wooded area, or on a beach or lake front. If our new downsized home was in a place that allowed us to use the surrounding outdoors as an extension of our house. Too crowded in the house? Then let's all sit outside underneath the trees overlooking the water. Hear that splashing? That's my grandchildren playing in the water. (No they do not exist yet, it's my imagination remember?) Pass the s'mores!
Earlier that morning I could smell the pine in the air while I sat outside tapping on my Mac, accompanied by the sounds of birds up high and lapping water down below. When I'd climbed the four stair-steps back into the cottage to warm up my coffee mug, I had glanced at the calendar near the coffee pot and saw that my writing assignments were right on schedule. If I timed it just right I could fit a good swim in before the day got too busy. (hey, it's fiction!)
No, I will not follow the living-in-a-tiny-apartment version of downsizing. Nope, been there, yadda yadda. I am still not sure what the main purpose of this blog post is, but I will continue to ponder the relationship between writing fiction and non-fiction because I do not think they are very far apart in many ways.