Writing is like a fountain. Specifically, the fountain in our backyard, the one I stare at when the words aren’t flowing onto the paper quite as smoothly as the water flows from the basin of the fountain. Except, now that I stop to think about it, my writing process seems to work just like our fountain.
The fountain in our backyard was there when we bought the house, stacked stone encircling a pool of darting goldfish with a basin on a pedestal in the center. I had always wanted a fountain in my yard, a focal point of splashing coolness on hot summer days, a reminder of life in the dead of winter. It made the list of planned improvements for our last house, but the house was old and the list long, so “install a fountain” was just one of many items that never got crossed off. In the same way, I intended to write a novel for years before I ever actually sat down to do the hard work.
But then we returned to our hometown and bought a moderate-size house with an enormous yard and that fountain. The pump short-circuited within a week, as—all too often—my writing routine gets sidetracked by all the other demands of life.
Fortunately, I have a handy husband who got the pump up and running again, but that very afternoon, an enormous limb fell from one of our towering pine trees, and smashed the fountain and the pump. Our new house is a decade newer than the old one, but that still makes it decades old. The to-do list is long, and we had already crossed “repair fountain” off it once. So, the fountain sat, goldfish circling in the murk, while we crossed other items off the list through the fall, the winter, and into spring.
Until the Sunday when I walked outside to find my husband and his father working on the fountain, pump and tubing laid out across the stacked-stone circle. It took an hour or so, but soon water was bubbling up and spilling over. Now, as I sit and write, my desk overlooks a yard still dormant with winter but showing signs of early Southern spring while our fountain bursts upward with cheerful gushes of water. The pool ripples with it and—though I can’t see them from here—I can envision goldfish circling happily in their home.
When we bought this house, I marked this room with its wide sliding glass doors overlooking a deep back yard as my writing space. My desk might always be a mess, but a clear view of the nature does wonders for my creativity. And a fountain bubbling with water as my mind bubbles with story is just the sort of inspiration I need.
Do you have a special space for writing? What makes it inspirational?