On the edge of a beach

Life update

Harley Bell

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Driftwood on a beach.
Photo by Jasmin Causor on Unsplash

I woke up in a grassy paddock, on the edge of a beach. The nearest town has a name that I cannot remember. I’m in a backwater campground. The caretaker lives in an old Bedford truck. There are iron beams growing from the bonnet to a bedroom above. It’s a house on wheels with a sign hanging from her backdoor, “boss witch lives here.”

We pay for our stay in coins. I give the caretaker fourteen golden disks that I’ve been keeping in a Ziplock bag. I’ve been carrying them for months. This buys us safe passage to dream tonight. There is value in the promise of a silent sleeping space and no city lights. This is camping.

I am writing in the early morning light. This is after a cup of tea and a swim in the ocean. Despite the serenity of capital N, Nature, my thoughts run backwards to my busy life. My life in the city. My life with a desk.

I am thinking about the nooks, edges, shelves and drawers. The spaces where sediment loves to settle. The things that no longer physically exist but I carry with me, always. These are the places I keep memories. I have manuscripts, short stories, half written character studies, blog ideas, articles and titbits with wiggle room to grow.

I am in a process of figuring out priorities. What do I finish and what do I burn?

The caretaker has stacks and stacks of firewood. This gathering seems a worthy use of time. Labour for wood, wood for future fires. Fire for warmth. Warmth for a healthy, happy life.

I inhaled an inspiration quote in the margins of a book. It lingered with me. “What you focus on grows, so focus on what matters.”

But what matters to me?

This is a moment to organize my thoughts on a scrap of paper. But I have stopped writing on paper and disappeared in the keyboard staccato of my laptop. I have been thinking about the sacrifices necessary for devotion. The devotion to keep writing. This necessary act of showing up at the desk, day after day. But my desk does not exist anymore. I am writing on a half-charged laptop, on a driftwood log, a stone’s throw from the ocean. Do I need a desk to rest my weary pages?

I pick up a stone, test the weight in my hand and toss it across the water. It skims, once, twice, then drops below the surface. That is enough for now.

Let’s talk again soon,
Harley.

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Harley Bell

I write about writing, creativity and business. I'm currently working on a poetry book, titled Wild Altar. www.harleybellwriter.com