where the writers are
The Old Gray Armchair
Muse by Picasso

Many years ago I was living in a small country cottage with my two small children, without a desk, much less a room of my own to put it in. Each morning when the kids left for school I would sit down in an old beat-up armchair covered with gray corduroy upholstery and write my novel in longhand, then type it up that night at the kitchen table. I had frequent backaches, but was so enraptured, so lost in the book I was writing, I didn't much care.

About a year later the novel was finished, and was accepted by an enthusiastic literary agent who sent it to almost every major New York publishing house. I was ecstatic, convinced that this time -- it was my third novel -- it would be published. I was filled with wild fantasies of landing on the best seller lists, making the talk show circuit, having the book optioned by a film studio for megabucks...every writer knows how this goes. Langston Hughes may have been right about the human need to dream, but some dreams can be emotionally damaging. In this case, when my novel was rejected by every editor who read it, I was so devastated I took to my bed for two straight weeks. My agent lost enthusiasm for the book, and I lost motivation. I swore off writing any more fiction.

For the next six months I wrote nothing but work-related grant proposals and fundraising letters. The world looked gray and flat. Something was missing...until one night, when I dreamt that I was sitting in the gray armchair, flying. The chair was an airplane that I steered by pushing or pulling on the right or left arm. In my dream I soared high above the treetops, sailing over towns and cities, the wind in my hair, laughing wildly.

I awoke with joy bubbling up from some place deep inside; I felt as if I had actually been flying. I looked over at the gray chair, and realized in a flash what my dream was telling me: that when I wrote, I flew. My mood those many months ago had not been solely due to my fantasies: it was the act of writing that enabled me to fly. The next morning I returned to the old gray armchair and began again. 

Since then I've lived in several different places, each with its own writing space. A desk is now a necessity, thanks to the computer. I've had many articles and stories published over the years, but never one of the five novels I've written. Still, I keep on writing them. I now know what my flying dream showed me: I love writing novels, and I do it for my own pleausre, not just for publication. I intend to keep writing them for the rest of my life.

Comments
2 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip

The Old Gray Armchair

Hi Marcy, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this. From the moment you wrote about living in the small country cottage I saw you. I could picture you writing in the chair and then typing at night. The image was lovely and you drew me in. When your dream took you flying in the chair I guessed this was written as part of this week's blog topic about flying. Your story is delightful. I can see you smiling as that chair took you higher. I am glad that dream reminded you of your joyous love of writing.
I have just written my first book and self published it (print on demand) and I write on several of my own blogs. I am addicted to writing and the joy it gives me. This is new for me, I was not a writer a few years ago. The death of my husband opened that door for me. Yes I have that big screenplay dream too, but I find a single comment that tells me I have touched someone brings me pleasure.
Know that you have touched me with your writing here. It gave meaning to what I do out of my love of writing, no matter where it goes. I'd love to read one of those novels you wrote. If this is a sample of your writing style I could be hooked.
Thanks for such a lovely read. Barbara

Comment Bubble Tip

Flying Dreams

I think we often need to believe that what we write for ourselves may actually resonate with others somewhere along the line, too.