Recently, I found this photo on my computer. I didn’t bother to look at the date, I had a good idea of when it was taken. It was during the fall of 2013 on an early Saturday evening just before dinner. I remember snapping it because I recall my mood when I did it: happy and ready for a nice autumn weekend dinner with my spouse. I remember the exact year because I hadn’t started grad school yet, so I still enjoyed peaceful, homework-free weekends. Back then, writing filled all of my spare time instead, and my moods were better as a result. I have a habit of taking photos of random moments in life and though I remember when this one was done, cues in the photo itself tell me what life was like then.
The photo shows my desk with my computer, one of my most important personal spaces as a writer. There are my myriad of post-it notes to remind me of this or that (but transferred to bits of sticky paper because I didn’t want to be bothered with whatever it was at the time). On the left sits a small stack of papers—my redrafting for that day—turned over with an X through the text denoting the back side (I redraft on paper, so I always print on the backs of used sheets), and indicating that I had finished redrafting and was ready to settle down for dinner. I also know this is autumn because one of my golden leaf wallpaper images is on the monitor, and my mini-jack-o-lantern is out. Autumn-through-Christmas is my favorite time of year so I think that also prompted me to snap this photo. I was in a good mood.
But what really hits me is the snapshot of my life in general here. It is one moment in my existence giving all manner of information as to what I was doing at the time, and how I was feeling. It’s not the nicest looking photo and isn’t meant to be. It was taken at dusk (in a room with northern exposure that never gets any sun). The scene doesn’t look particularly comfortable in the photo, but for me, it is. It is a space where nearly every day then and now, I type up my redrafting changes before heading into the kitchen to begin the evening. Two things I love to do, and for the writing, one thing that I will be happy to spend the rest of my existence doing. Of every endeavor I have undertaken this decade, writing and story-building brings me the greatest contentment by far. And I’m glad to see a small sliver of it in this photo.