This is my desk. It is fairly new. Recently my darling husband took it upon himself to make me an office – with a door and everything. Shortly after, I took it upon myself to fill that office full of rocks.
Or, not full of rocks, exactly. But I put a pile of rocks on my desk. To play with.
And I do play with them. Every day. I spread them out, I make new piles. I balance them, one on top of the other. I make stacks.
I like the weight of the rocks in my hand, the variation in texture and heft, the cool solidity. I like the improbable ways in which they balance and lean. I like the delicacy in which they hold their wobbly structures before they roll off my desk and onto the floor. I like the fact that when I bring them to my nose, they still smell like Lake Superior.
Right now, I’m reworking the ending of a book I promised to my agent – oh, I don’t know. A year ago. I’m also wandering through the comments that he just gave me on another book. In one book, stones prevail – large stones, old stones, stones that talk. In the other story, the Great Lakes – though they are never named – are characters in the drama. As I work through both stories, I return, again and again, to my rocks. I think about the icy waves that shaped them. I think about the cold gray of the water as it stretches to the sky.
My rocks tell me not to worry so much.
My rocks tell me to give myself a break every once in a while.
My rocks care nothing for deadlines or reviews or Twitter or book sales or time-sucking social media. What is time to a stone? What is success to water? Granite holds no opinions and limestone carries no grudge. They simply are.
So here’s my question for you, dear readers: What’s on your desk? What is it, when you are in the fire of creativity or the smoke of self-doubt, what holds you down to the green, solid world?