Posts Tagged ‘sunny afternoon’

Photo: Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 20

Photo: Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 2013

Image Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 2013

Photo: Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 2013

My precious laptop is dying.  It is slowly fading off into that mystical faraway land where all obsolete and worn-out electronics go.  My x key is gone.  There are black blotches forming on the screen.  The speakers rattle and refuse to offer the crisp, loud sounds I once knew.  The hinges for the screen are so worn they can’t support the screen anymore at certain angles.  Oh, and I can no longer unplug my laptop from the wall or I have to spend an eternity unplugging, replugging, twisting, and wiggling the power cord until it finally starts charging again.  It has had a long and glorious reign as my first laptop and as the key to unlocking my muse no matter the location.  But it is slowly coming to a screeching hault.  It is a sad time, indeed!

My great grandfather bought the laptop a few years ago and almost never used it.  He eventually decided in 2010 that it would be the perfect gift for me as I had decided that I wanted to pursue my writing dreams more than ever.  He also realized that the mobility of a laptop would be perfect for a single mom of two young children and a fibromyalgia sufferer.  No longer would I have to be stuck behind a desk struggling with my pain or wondering what mischief my little ones were up to in the next room.  It was one of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts anyone had ever given me.

I have started and worked on several novels behind my precious laptop.  I have created 50 or more poems using its beautiful keys.  I have edited thousands of photos on it over the years.  And I’ve shared many a happy movie night with my kids on it, too.  I have lived such amazing moments around my laptop during our touching friendship, which I even affectionately named Manny (a play off of a nickname I used to have and a joke I had with my kids).  So, when my beloved laptop finally kicks the bucket it’s going to be great loss.

A writer without her laptop is a sorry sight.  But we writers are pretty resilient.  We’ve been know to use scrap paper, napkins, and whatever surface we come across to record our ideas.  I know I’ll find ways to manage while I save up for another laptop.  It will definitely take some getting used to though.

I had forgotten how much of a blessing my laptop truly has been in my life.   My laptop has kept my ideas flowing, even when I’ve been too sick to get out of bed and my hands have hurt too much to use a pen.  My laptop has allowed me to write out my thoughts and emotions from my home, in my car, outside under the breathtaking sky, and even many thousands of miles away on a sandy beach.  My laptop has allowed me to keep my writing alive AND to keep living my life.  I will always cherish the freedom, fun, and creativity that my little Manny has blessed me with over the years…no matter how soon my laptop finally decides it has had enough and stops working completely.

Grass Closeup

I know I’m a little strange, but back before I switched to digital photography, I always looked forward to the little unexpected surprises when my photos came back.  The accidental snapshots, the strange orbs or streaks that sometimes appear, and the imperfections caused by an imperfect photographer.  They made taking photos fun and exciting.  You never knew exactly what you were going to get back.

Of course, this uncertainty was usually a bad thing.  There was always the chance you might blow capturing that priceless memory.  Or your thumb might get in the way.  Or you might accidentally cut someone’s head off in the shot.  There wasn’t much trial and error with basic film.

Still, I miss the mystery and the suspense of seeing what would develop from my laid-back photo shoots.  In a way, it felt like painting in the dark, and then waiting for the lights to come on to see the final product.  Even with the imperfections, it’s still a work of art.

That is why I get all excited when I’m cruising through my digital photos and stumble upon accidental photos–you know, the ones that are clearly on your memory card, but you have no clue how they got there.  They are visual proof of what goes on when you might be distracted or someone else is fiddling with your camera.

Today, I thought I’d share with you this accidental closeup of grass.  I’m guessing my daughter took it, but I can’t be certain since she has absolutely no recollection and we all were using my camera that day.  When I came across it tonight I couldn’t help but imagine that this is what our view would be if we were little pixies.  From that tiny perspective, even a nicely trimmed lawn would look like jungle.  Look out; it’s a jungle out there, my friends!


Blue has been my favorite color since 3rd grade.  I think I like blue so much because it is such a versatile color.  There are peaceful and calm blues.  Some blues are so soft and subtle that they make me want to drift off to sleep.  Other blues are more bright and happy.  And some blues are dark and melancholy.

If I had to choose a color, though, that puts me in the mood most to write, I would have to pick yellow.  Yellow is so cheery, warm, and energetic.  Yellow reminds me of sunny afternoons, vibrant spring flowers, and living butterflies flittering about.  Yellow stirs up some of my happiest memories as a child: banana-flavored popsicles on a hot summer’s day, fireflies glowing in the night, and yellow sundresses that I loved to wear.  Just a splash of vibrant yellow makes me smile.

And we all know that if we are worrying, stressed, or feeling pressured, writer’s block is bound to settle in.  So, my advice is to surround yourself with things that make you happy.  No matter where you write, ascent your workspace with what you love.  It will help you clear your mind and focus on your writing.

If I ever have an office, I know I will definitely paint it yellow.  But right now, I only have space to write at the desk in my kitchen or wherever my laptop will take me.  That doesn’t mean I have to skimp on my workplace accents.  Right now I have a small glass filled with dandelions, which my children picked me yesterday, sitting on my desk.  Some of my favorite upbeat instrumental music is playing in the background.  And a number of my children’s recent pieces of artwork are hanging around me.  It is an inviting place.  It is my happy zone, and it helps lure me back to my writing even when I am tired after a long day.

What do you have in your workspace that helps put you in the mood for writing or makes it more inviting?

Wispy Clouds

As a little girl, one of my favorite summer past times was cloud watching. I remember being out in the cool grass and spinning in circles until dizziness took over. I’d fall down to the ground, stretch out flat on my back, and watch in wonder as everything above me continued to spin until the vertigo wore off. And then I’d lie there and watch the clouds float by, imagining that the fluffiness was countless different shapes. Back then, the sky was my empty canvas or book. In my mind’s eye, I used the clouds to paint masterpieces or to create my own little adventures. The possibilities seemed so endless.

Even today, as an adult, I sometimes find myself watching the clouds and daydreaming. There’s something about the gentle swirling and wispiness of clouds that is relaxing and gets the old imagination brewing. Over the years, I have written quite a few poems as I lounged outside and gazed at the sky above me. I have come up with quite a few ideas and topics while cloud watching, too. It is as though the clouds speak to me and lend me their gentle rhythm. The words and rhymes simply flow, so it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

Although cloud watching is far too relaxing and hypnotizing for serious work, I absolutely love it for brainstorming and creative writing. I can’t wait until warmer weather finally arrives, so I can get back to writing again under the big blue sky and maybe even get some regular cloud watching in this year! When the weather conditions are perfect the great outdoors is my favorite spot to write.

Where is one place that allows you to write uninhibited and free? What makes it so special and perfect for you?