My grandfather has a cabinet of letterpress drawers, and when I was little he filled the little compartments with his odd, diverse and tiny collections: political pins (I Like Ike!), nuts and bolts of odd sizes, poker chips from company parties, sea glass, marbles, buttons, Hershey Kiss wrappers rolled into little foil ball bearings, laminated obituaries and prayer cards, postcards of nude Gibson girls and Boy Scout merit badges.
I liked opening the drawers when we came to Ohio to visit. I would start at the top and work my way down, picking up my favorite things, looking for new additions and wondering if he’d ever let me take something home with me. The cabinet was in his bedroom, which was across the hall from my grandmother’s room; each of them with their own identities and their own things. Also in my grandfather’s room was a large wardrobe full of afghans and embroidered pieces that my grandmother had made while watching her favorite shows and rocking in her favorite blue chair (a chair that I now own). Every now and then I was allowed to pick out something that she created that lived in that wardrobe. A small afghan, or a table runner. Pretty and dainty and made with such precision that they would make any Etsy artisan weep.
I am feeling uninspired today. A little tired and a little weary and a little bit of the anticlimactic ick that comes after a big project has launched. I am proud of Far Away. I don’t have a lot of technical skill but I think Katie and I made something pretty. But I am also back t0 work (just three weeks back after a year away) and I don’t have the outlet that I had just a smattering of days ago. I can’t take my little walks and sit and write or go to yoga when I want to go during the four hours that Xander is in school. It was lovely, and I miss it.
I know it’s an adjustment. I know it will come. I have many ideas and floating truths roaming around my head and I know they’ll settle soon and present themselves. I know I will fall into my own new little pattern again.
When I get a little blue and uninspired I think of my creative grandparents and great-grandparents. Sometimes I think about that cabinet of trinkets, or that wardrobe of warm pastel things that Grandma made. I think of my beautiful family and I try to just wait for the muse to come back again. I try not to take her absence so personally. Even a muse needs a day off. My brain is kind of like my grandfather’s letterpress cabinet, full of shiny glass in blues and oranges, newspaper clippings, daguerreotypes of Union soldiers and river rocks. I just need to take a moment to open them quietly, and look over the things that make me happy, and then remember. And write.