Finnian Burnett

Storyteller

I’ve been going through the folders from a creative writing class I took years ago – 2009, maybe? I had just started writing again after an almost 20 year break. Going to school as an almost 40-year old was terrifying, but being forced back into writing was the best thing that ever could have happened to me. It’s hard to believe now that I let self-doubt and some negative comments from people terrify me into not doing something I love for so long.

One of our first assignments was to describe our ideal writing space as if it were already a reality.

This is Where I Write

A wild garden threatens to take over the house and the porch. There is a bird feeder in the middle of the yard; the squirrels spend as much time in it as the birds and I haven’t the heart to kick them out.
Sitting on a wooden bench in the backyard, I peer through the windows of my studio. I see myself sitting at an old, battered hardwood desk, back and shoulders cramped in the hard wooden thrift store chair.
This is where I write. The walls are white and mostly bare, with splashes of color from paintings gifted by artist friends in exchange for books, or stories—a lopsided trade from my view as their brush strokes are so much deeper and lovelier than mine. The art is strewn across the wall haphazardly, hanging dangerously on nails I salvaged from the next-door neighbor’s workshop.
The built-in bookshelves seemed so spacious and plentiful when I first moved into this room.
Somehow, my books cannot be contained by mere shelves and make their way across the floor to the windowsills and the side tables and the corners of my desk.
They migrate, without my permission, and when I sit to write, I have to remove them from my chair, or gently relocate them from under my feet.
I can sit on this bench and watch myself work, at the desk, or in the corner arm chair, leg flung over the arm, sometimes lying on the floor, on the fluffy rug my mother insisted would soften the lines of the white room with hardwood floors, with my giant coffee cup always at my side.
Brutal Brutus the Destroyer lies happily at my feet, or next to me on the floor, until his patience runs out and he tells me it is time for a walk. I rely on him. Without his gentle reminders, I might never leave this room and the garden would eventually take over the house, and the porch and the studio, and I would be found, wrapped in vines, with a notepad, and the beginnings of a new story—partially written—dangling from my hands.

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