Some inkpot readers are heading over to St. Paul for the Hamline winter residency. I am not. I am taking this break to work on my novel. So while you are immersed in the field, getting inspired, and sharing brilliance (and suffering) I am holed up in my room thinking of words. I am in that space where everything I see, do, hear, and read is relevant in some way to my book, and I am busily collecting words. The previous posts contained the words “silence” and “bliss.” They went on my list. I read a chapter of a novel last night and wrote down: “fire-engine red,” “ricochet,” “knocking loose.” I read an article in the New Yorker and found: “mysterious taste on my tongue,” and “inside my hollow head.” I watched a movie and picked up, “rattled around the brain,” “lives in the attic,” “tremendous feeling.”

I keep these words on post-its around the house. The trick now is to string them together in a way that gives them meaning, but my intuition already tells me they are completely relevant to my work in some way.

I’m envious of folks at the residency—you are going to receive a plethora of words, some already containing incredible meaning, others from which you will get to extract your own meaning or change in ways that are unique and suitable to you. Write these words down. Any word or phrase that speaks to you, write it down. Writers are word collectors so be one.

Sometimes we need to hole up and write, as I am now, other times we need to be out in the world interacting and observing, and sometimes we need to be with our people. This week Hamline-ites you are with your people. Enjoy.