It’s not always a cave that inspires amazing writing. Check out Cathy Lamb’s gorgeous digs.– Orly
It is rather funny that this column is about “writing caves.”
I don’t have a writing cave. I have a writing garden.
I love to write outside amidst my irises, butterfly bushes, hostas, pink dogwood and pine trees, orange trumpet vines, and my rhododendrons and azaleas.
I brainstorm with my journal while sitting in one of my blue Adirondack chairs. I turn plots around in my tired brain while staring at my purple wisteria. I try to figure out what the heck is wrong with my story line while wondering why the heck my red geraniums haven’t bloomed.
At the table on my patio, I work on my computer, edit, sometimes say bad words, eat chocolate chip cookies, and study birds fluttering in and out for inspiration. Now and then the hummingbirds pop in to visit and all work stops, their wings whipping along. Sometimes a curious squirrel runs along the fence line.
My cats are often outside with me. I feel more and more like a Cat Woman nowadays, not in a hip and cool way, but in an odd and loony way. Perhaps I am one step away from buying a cat stroller. Sometimes that sounds very appealing, that cat stroller, and that worries me.
Little Kitty, the terror, has recently decided that he should drag snakes/baby voles/mice into our house, or out to the patio to play. This is very distracting to me as I don’t want snakes in the house. They’re slithering is unnerving.
The other day I was trying to write and found it quite difficult. KC, my old and cranky cat, had a wriggling mouse IN HER MOUTH, so writing outside does have its disadvantages.
Every morning I tell Little Kitty, “It’s time for our garden walk,” and we wander around the front and back yards to examine the lavender, Campion, lilies, and lilac tree. I always have coffee, and as Little Kitty tries desperately to catch flies, I try to get my head on straight for the day so I can write.
Fortunately, my neighbors are all very kind as I complete my daily garden exploration trips. When I’m muttering to myself in pajama bottoms, talking to characters, my hair not brushed, a wild look in my eye, they don’t laugh at me.
At least, they don’t to my face.
As one neighbor told me, “I don’t think you’re crazy for walking around your garden talking to yourself, Cathy. There are other reasons I think you’re crazy, but not for that.”
I found his comment reassuring.
I love watching my flowers bloom. I love seeing plants come back year after year like friends from nature. I love having my late father’s wooden birdhouse in the corner of my yard and looking at my late mother’s blue ceramic bird feeder. Her favorite burgundy clematis climbs up my trellis each spring.
I love filling the round top of an old blue barbeque with flowers each year. The barbeque itself broke years ago, but it was given to my husband and me by the mother of my best friend for our wedding. Linda is no longer with us, but every time I plant those flowers, I remember how fun she was.
To me a garden is natural art. Hauling rock, hauling dirt, designing a garden, is a little like writing a book. It can be really hard. It can be beautiful. It can feel hopeless. It can feel hopeful. Plants bloom in a garden, and they die. It can bring you to tears and it can give you peace.
That’s why my “writing cave,” is my garden.
Wishing you excellent books, gardening time, and chocolate chip cookies.
Cathy Lamb drinks too much coffee and daydreams endlessly. That’s how she writes her books. She is the author of many novels, including 2016’s The Language of Sisters.