The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Sitting on the porch, finally

05102015yard010aAs a writer, I have always felt “driven.” Not that that’s done any good, for Oprah hasn’t called and neither has the New York Times bestseller list staff.

My friends suggested sitting on the new porch every morning before beginning the day’s work. Enjoy the sunrise, the bird songs, the breeze, the relative quiet of the moment.

I preach that, but I don’t practice it. Or if I do, it’s sporadic. I laugh at people who are so tied to their cell phones that they take every call that comes in even when doing so it rude to those they’re with at the time. Yet, the siren calls of my work in progress–and of the need to promote recently finished works–draw me away from potential relaxing moments with the same addicting urgency.

I go through withdrawal when I’m not writing just as “regular people” go through withdrawal when they’re not texting or talking on a damned cell phone.

View from the porch - horses in a neighboring field.

View from the porch – horses in a neighboring field.

We spent a few dollars to screen in our back porch a several weeks ago. “What a nice place to start your day,” people told me. Yeah, that’ll happen, I thought.

Suddenly, I’ve reformed.

I sat on the porch in the cool fresh air of a 57-degree morning for some 20 minutes or so with a cup of coffee and watched the birds coming and going from the ancient trees and our bird feeders. All three cats ventured out and stayed quiet. They were intrigued by the hummingbirds “dog fighting” around the sugar water feeders and, it appears, a bit nonplussed when the birds came up to the edge of the screen and watched us.

After spending time on the porch, I noticed that I not only felt more relaxed than usual, but that there weren’t any negative consequences in doing so. That is, Hollywood didn’t pick that moment to call and then hangup when nobody answered the phone. The stock market didn’t crash. North Korea didn’t fire a nuclear missle at the U.S.

Doing what I always preach actually worked. Whew, what a relief. I didn’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. I listened to nature and watched birds and wind-blown leaves and soaked up whatever was happening right then in that moment.

That screened in porch might be the greatest gift we gave ourselves while tinkering with our new house.


KIndle cover 200x300SunSinger4coverMalcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” a novella about folk magic and the KKK in the Florida Panhandle, and “The Sun Singer,” a coming of age, contemporary fantasy adventure set in Glacier Park.


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4 thoughts on “Sitting on the porch, finally

  1. I recently had a couple of dreams that reminded me of the value of play and a sense of ease in triggering the unseen magical activity in life. And it made me think about how challenging that actually can be for me. I always want to make the push, put forth the Herculean effort and “make it happen”; I relate to the withdrawals you’re talking about. Maybe the old Puritan work ethic has seeped into my bones from all the years spent in New England. But it seems that, ironically, my “work” these days is to cultivate a spirit of play. I’m glad you took your friends’ advice, Malcolm.

  2. I bet that will become a “happy place”!

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