I’m at the coffee shop inside the Denver Art Museum, writing. Yes, I’m a coffee-shop writer, intrigued by the strangers nearby. I have, of course, coffee, and a chocolate muffin, and I’m ready to write anywhere. Writers will write on anything–bar napkins, index cards, the back of a grocery receipt, a phone. I carry a small notebook and pens with erasable ink. Writing, though, does not demand any universal equipage. A friend dictates because her hands don’t obey, her words then appearing on a page, readable, shareable.
Writing is portmanteau, carries untold variations, the squiggles that capture a dream, travel notes, the almost ubiquitous yellow pad of a novelist. We need first to scribble, not editing early drafts, given the permission of the self. That’s where things begin to bubble and squeak. Writing is a human endeavor, from the writing on the wall in the Book of Daniel where a king is warned that he has been “weighed and found wanting” to ancient runes on stone. It starts with an itch in the imagination, an urge to capture time in words as high and wild as a gaggle of geese or chalked on a sidewalk, in English left to right, in other times and places vertical or running right to left. Cuneiform to the truncated lingo of email and emoji, words made of light, the innocence or guilt captured by a stenographer in the court room. We have a privilege and duty to use the gift of writing. It becomes matter and it matters.