I have fond memories of going to the grocery store with my grandmother. While she browsed Doscher's, I'd slip next door to the Book Bag. I'd sit on the floor and read Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary books, and wait for MeMa to come back to get me. Then I'd smile sweetly and convince her to buy me something. It seems odd she allowed me to go to another store by myself. But this was back when people still smoked in the car with the windows rolled up, and riding shotgun meant standing up in the front seat. Did seat belts even exist back then?
ANYWAY-- on one of those trips to the Book Bag, I discovered Harriet the Spy. That sneaky little sleuth helped inspire the writer I am today. Soon, I had my own notebook and pen and I was jotting down notes about everything I saw. I convinced my best friend Meg to join me on my mission, and we carved our spy names, Victoria Brewington (Meg) and Veronica Bates (me) into one of the piers at Folly Beach.
Harriet taught me I could write any time, any place. I didn't need to schedule it. My ability to create was not dependent upon finding a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi.
I have fantasies of what the writing life looks like, and it always involves visions of me pounding away at the keyboard for hours, uninterrupted, in a room with burning candles, free flowing lattes and light jazz music playing in the background. My muse would REALLY REALLY love that.
Instead, I'm writing this while standing up at the kitchen counter. It's before dawn, my baby just did something very offensive in his diaper, and my coffee cup is empty.
In the midst the mess, Harriet has come back to me, reminding me that some of my best writing is unveiled in the rough draft, when I'm able to hold the pen in my hand and scribble ideas, sentences and pieces of story on the page. She reminded me to let go of my perfectionism and do what I love to do.
So Harriet, thank you. Now would you do me another favor and change Blake's diaper?