I’ve officially given up on resisting winter. It is day four of spring, 3 new inches of wet, sticky snow have fallen since 2pm, and it’s still coming down.
I’m leaning into it now. I’m all in. I’ve got a blanket on my lap. I’ve drunk afternoon tea and afternoon coffee. I’ve positioned myself towards windows all day so that I can watch the snow fall: when I ate lunch, when I lay on the couch reading My Cousin Rachel, when I sat upright on the couch to play Boggle, when I curled my legs under me to read Financial Intelligence. As I sit here first to type in my diary, then to type this blog post.
We have a new rule in our house: no electronics between noon and 4pm. For any of us. Laptops are closed, phones are face down, TV and Xbox are off. During that time today, I read physical books, stared out the window, and played Boggle with our daughter. I was once the undisputed Boggle champion in our household. Nobody could touch me.
Our daughter beat me in our first round today. She found a 24 point word. She’s twelve! Last week, I found her in her room, sitting up in bed, with her blanket over her legs, a candle by her side, and her school-issued Chromebook on her lap. She had the twinkly lights strung across her headboard turned on.
I asked, “Whatcha doin’?”
She looked up and said, “Writing.”
Be still my heart! The next day she sat curled up in a chair in the living room, again with a blanket, again with the Chromebook, writing. She’s getting good with words, and I have to watch out. Ultimately I won at Boggle after our requisite five rounds, but I don’t think I can count on winning much longer.
But back to our electronics rule. Now that it’s after 4pm, all four of us are on screens. One cat lies on our daughter’s lap, the other is annoying my husband by walking back and forth across his laptop. Three of us are in the living room, listening to Rachmaninoff on the record player while we do our various computery things. I can never see or hear Rachmaninoff’s name without thinking about that scene in Willy Wonka.
On the weekends, when 4pm comes around, I start thinking about my new diary, and that I can write in it.
I was talking to a friend recently who keeps a diary on her hard drive. Given that I’m in a rut with writing in my notebooks — the rut being that I am uninspired to write in them anymore — I liked this idea. A lot. For some reason when I’ve been writing in my notebooks lately I’ve felt like whatever I wrote in them had to be, I don’t know, good. I guess I’d gotten to the point that my notebook pages were rough drafts for blog posts. Which means I was cautious with them. Which means I wasn’t free.
But a diary! I’d been looking for an excuse to use Bean again, an uncluttered, lightweight word processor for OS X that has a live word count and a distraction-free, full screen mode. There’s no toolbar on the full-screen: just a blank page.
I love my new diary so much. It’s amazing for stress-relief. I have a file for March, and I dump my brain in it at the beginning and end of the day. It’s full of unfiltered writing, never meant to go anywhere. Thoughts jump from cats to work to dinner to chores to ideas and back again. No structure. No concerns about propriety or swearing. Whatever is in my brain ends up on the page with no worries attached. It’s sole purpose is for me to unload.
Two other things I love about my new diary: it doesn’t take up space on a shelf, and it’s searchable. Not that I’ll ever search it, but if I wanted to…
The record has ended. My husband now has a cat on his knee, so I’ll get up to flip it. Soon it will be time to start the spaghetti sauce, light the fire, and open the wine.
Snow is still coming down.