Into the Hut: Getting Back to Writing

Kim Mayer - Pyragraph

Photo by Paul C. Mayer.

It is cold and damp, but after a few minutes with the heater turned on, it’s quite comfortable in my hut. Nevertheless I am wearing a hat, scarf, flannel leggings, a faux-fur-lined sweatshirt, and my favorite wearable prop for writing: fingerless gloves, for wearing a pair makes me feel positively Dickensian.

“Type away,” my hands want to say.

It’s a different kind of heavy lifting now.

My back says otherwise. My back would tell you that everything was fine until we went traveling over the holidays. How often it must happen, a muscle is pulled or a nerve is pinched in the lugging of one’s luggage. In any case, I brought a bad back with me to Central America, traipsed through verdant jungles, crossed hanging bridges on canopy tours of rainforests and cloud forests. In the end I reclined on a hot sunbaked coastline, only to carry my bad back all the way home again.

The writing hut whispers to me, “Stay, please stay.”

Playwright Tug Yourgrau dons a grey Hindu cap, dark red fez, or a psychedelic South African Malay prayer cap when writing. The caps serve as a signal to everyone in his house that he’s in a creating mode, and he adds, “I wear them so that I don’t take myself too seriously.” Nevertheless their presence on his head reminds him to stay focused—much like my fingerless gloves.

I once had a writing room in which I hung milagros. The collection started out innocently enough, but soon became overrun. I moved out before I could get committed.

What we want in writing is not so much miracles, as it is magic.

The writing hut as circus tent. Writing table as a magician’s platform. And the lap, when that’s all we have, as magician’s hat.

The room, you see, is a dangerous place. Not in itself, but because you’re dangerous. The psyche is dangerous. Every single word is full of secrets, full of associations, every word leads to another and another and another, down and down, through passages of dark and light. —Michael Ventura

A dreamcatcher hangs in the window of the writing hut.

It’s a different kind of heavy lifting now.


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About Kimberly Mayer

Kimberly Mayer received a B.A. from Emerson College, Boston, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her memoir, The Making of a Master Gardener, was awarded first place in the Pacific Northwest Writing Association Literary Contest. She recently completed her first novel, Black Angels, and is currently at work on a sequel. A Master Gardener of twelve years, Kimberly gardens, writes, revises, and runs a writing workshop on San Juan Island, Washington. Her work has been published on This I Believe (National Public Radio), and in the Pitkin Review and Minerva Rising literary journals.

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