Get by with a little help OR Zen Library–Slice of LIfe Challenge 18

It all started with a rolled up rug and a crowded corner…

My favorite soft braided rug has been rolled up for months. Once chosen for the nursery floor because of its soft blues and greens and soft-to-the-feet touch. Later gracing the floor of the master suite. Lately tossed forlorn across boxes without a place of its own. I wished it could once again grace a floor and caress my toes, but all the rooms were full.

I sat working in the center of it all. Writing from the hub of our house. Outside the kitchen door. In the crook of the stairs as every possible person passed on every possible errand. My desk was pushed in the corner, squeezed between the doorway and the stairs. Held hostage by the ironing board two days every week.

My thoughts were crowded–as crowded as that corner. Until one crept away. Up the stairs. Through a secret door to the only unclaimed space. A Little Princess’s attic. A Secret Garden indoors. Unheated, but alluringly empty. It just needed a few touches.Zen 3

I hauled the rug past the people, up the stairs, through the secret door, and laid it down across the bare attic floor. Where there had been only plywood and splinters, now there was an invitingly soft beginning. A little faded. A little worn. But shining with possibility.

My writer’s escape needed a place to write. Out came the drawers from the desk. Down went an old towel so I could slide it across the floor. Curious eyes peeked from behind screens across the room. Fascination won out as a boy tugged mightily from the seat of his pants on the step above the prostrate desk while I heaved from below. Stair by gritting stair we raised it to the upper floor.

We wrestled with the desk and with the best place to position it. Beside the window, but the ceiling held sway at the side? Beneath the sloping skyline of the room? Close to the open door or farther back? And now a chair.

Q offered up his own upholstered chair. His prized accoutrement. No protests-he would share. But now you must position it just there. Such firm ideas for so soft a placement. Beside the desk, just so. So you could turn and gaze beyond the panes of glass or rest a cup upon the lid.Zen 5


A few more touches. His brother’s unused gliding chair. A chest of blankets by the favored side. Both chairs can profit by their view, one of another, and both of an aged oak. My champion, I thought. He’d hauled and hied, spotted and spied those things and where to go.

Zen 7

But now he claimed dominion. His secret place. By virtue of his contributions. It was only fair, he thought. I must protest. My own thought had crept up those stairs to this only unclaimed space. It had been unwanted and unloved. Until…

We’ve negotiated a peace. My space–I’ll share (sometimes) for books or chess. But he claims naming rights.

The Zen Library.


*I won’t be writing from my garret today…I’m off to the TC Saturday Reunion. Today’s writing will be microblogging, AKA Twitter posts, from NYC! I’d love to meet some slicers if they’re there. I’m @ureadiread


10 thoughts on “Get by with a little help OR Zen Library–Slice of LIfe Challenge 18

  1. Katie, I’m so thrilled (yet again) you chose to take on this challenge with me! This is incredible writing. The way you bring Q into the story is delightful and subtly playful. Every one of your pieces, this one included, establishes an appropriate and consistent mood that puts the reader in a space of fascination and desire to keep reading. Really great writing. Thanks for sharing your gift with this community!


  2. Gorgeous writing… I don’t even know where to begin? I feel like I just went to church – as you honored your sacred space, your grand cathedral, your place of peace. I am copying this to savor again… Thank you. Enjoy your day at TC. I can’t make it there this year, but will be enjoying through Twitter.


  3. Oh, what a wonderful story. Loved how you lead up to it and how you built that special place. I wouldn’t be too keen on sharing much! But I guess a few quiet hours shared there wouldn’t be so bad!


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