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The Familiar Smell of Writing

The moments right before I became a mom were the last I wrote. The stuff from the heart.

Since then, everything has changed and I’ve been grasping for the clarity to bring me back to writing. And writing beckons vulnerability, which as a mom, now requires another level of bravery and thought. But here I am, 6:30 AM. I skipped my workout this morning to sneak up my steep, creaky wood stairs into my old office. I want to see what happens when I try and let my brain return to its ultimate flow state without judgement. As I got to the top of the stairs, my eyes softly closed. I remembered the familiar smell of writing.

Oldness. Antiques. Leather. Wood.

In a dimly lit corner, looking out over my little slice of jungle paradise, which is still pitch black, I sit down like a concert pianist and turn on soft music. I still have my workout outfit on, and I usually prefer to write braless.

But I love that before I snuck upstairs, I at least remembered to take my socks off. For even if a word didn’t come out on paper with my attempt to set my mind free again, I could return to my love of feeling my naked toes hang from the bottom of the cool windowsill that lies behind my writer’s desk.

My husband is a realtor, among other entrepreneurial things, and he jokes that if the price is right, we’d sell our house and upgrade. The nerves in my hands start to fire and tingle when he says that, like our 1920’s house can hear him. I shake my head, “Don’t worry house," and I pat the walls, "We will take care of you the way you shelter and care for us. Thank you for everything you do. I am grateful and love you always.” I love our home, like a member of our family. When I walk in the door, I close my eyes and search for its smell, the way I do in the crook of my son's neck.

Oldness. Antiques. Leather. Wood. Familiarity.

The energy of these smells and the hands that built this home surround me and I feel it. This house was built out of love.

Many people with old homes have ghosts, and ghosts scare me. But our home only has love. It’s incredible, really. And I'm grateful we don't have ghosts. (Thank you, home.) I feel connected to my higher self here. Maybe we have angels, though if we do, I’ve never seen them. Or could the energy from all the history of written words and stories be buried in the antique air up here? Like a part of our home’s DNA. Maybe words have fed this home for years and years and years—a writer lived here before us, too—and that’s why I feel so much love here and why Matt would upgrade for the right price. Maybe. Possibly.

Something whirls me away to freedom and ecstasy, especially when I take the staircase, stop at the top to smell the old exposed rafter beams above my head, and turn to see my simple wood desk inviting me over to find myself, my soul, in a few words this morning.

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