My favorite day of the week is Thursday. Specifically, Thursday at 5 o’clock because that is officially when my work week ends, and it is also the eve of the day when I live out a fantasy I’m just beginning to admit I have — to write full time.
I call it a fantasy because I’m not sure I want it to be reality. I’m afraid I’d get bored, and even though I’m a flaming introvert, I believe I’d grow lonely. Also, I’m afraid I’m not THAT good to write full time.
Fridays are my writing days though, and so they feel like my pretending days too. I’m learning I love this fantasy. I love playing pretend. And come Thursday evening I have no problem at all stepping into that role
Nickels Alley, an old-time mall in between buildings in downtown Ann Arbor, is the path I take each week to enter my writing world. There’s a barber shop with one of those candy cane-looking things out front, a florist shop, and an antique shop among the quaint, nostalgic stores that line the cobblestone street. There’s a glass atrium strung with twinkle lights above and walking underneath them, I think, “I have my very own Diagon Alley just a few blocks from home.”
I walk down Nickels because this is the way my daughters take to get to their dance class, and I guess I feel connected to them because they too are moving towards fantasy. They too are trying on a role and seeing how it fits. For Hadley and Harper, it’s dancing; for me, it’s writing, but we all walk along this path. Built in 1918, it hearkens to another time, but a hundred years later it serves as a reminder of beauty and imagination to hold on to, to wonder about, and perhaps to think about how we might bring that imagination and beauty forth today.
One evening, as we walk together, the girls and a friend — another dancer — sing “Telephone” by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. Hadley pumps her fists and stomps to the beat. Harper leaps and twirls. After a minute their friend asks Harper, “If you could, who would you rather be — Lady Gaga or Beyoncé?”
Without skipping a beat Harper says, “Beyoncé.”
Maybe it’s the magic of the alley, but I am grateful my shy, lanky daughter with rose-colored glasses frames can imagine herself as Beyonce. She doesn’t worry or even care that it’s not possible. She just answers a simple question, and she keeps dancing.
This week, write a poem about what a fantastical dream you have for yourself. Let your imagination loose. Let it dance and soar and leap on the page.
Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Richard Maxson that we enjoyed.
You repeat like the grasses and the reeds
and hide in the future of inevitable evening.
You soothe me into dreams adrift toward morning
and reveal yourself in chalices of seclusion.
You speak in tongues
and you jazz like nobody’s business.
You harmonize with silence and your voice
fills the sad spaces left by the owl and loon.
Your song is brighter than moonlight, your song
floats on the waters’ breathing.
Your spirit rises in the rubbing of wet shoes
and I do not remember first hearing you,
because I have never not loved you;
I carry your chant in the crevasses of my words.
I have broken apart the din of cities to hear you
and no longer doubt that music is a found thing.
You make me remember the holiness of repetition
and the mysteries of the world.
You teach me the lightness of not knowing,
as I stumble in darkness with open eyes.
You cannot be found by searching,
and because the bough does not feel your burden,
the earth has embraced you in its infinite branches.
The last sound that will carry me away shall be yours.
A Writer’s Dream Book
This book gives language to the fierce concerns of an ordinary woman. It tracks small but defining moments, attesting to the joys of design and the pleasure of color we feel as we choose and joke and work and play in jeans, sandals, a coat, T-shirts. Start reading and you will be hooked.
—Jeanne Murray Walker, author of The Geography of Memory