Find A Quiet Corner by Nancy O’Hara
There is a square-yard space in my house that I avoid. It beckons to me. When I grow increasingly stubborn, it taunts me. I know what it’s doing. And yet there is nothing in that space. Not a desk. Not a book. Not a word.
It is, what author Nancy O’Hara would call, my quiet corner. I’ve meditated there before, sat there silently while the ten-minute timer ticked away, felt better for it. So, why am I so resistant? O’Hara says several times in her book Find a Quiet Corner: Inner Peace: Anytime, Anywhere that there is great value to submitting. The pain of sitting still will slide away. The chatter in my mind will quell. The urgency to hurry up and finish will melt away.
The book – which is actually two of O’Hara’s books, Find a Quiet Corner and Serenity in Motion – possesses an eloquent quietude. Its words slip easily in – never bossy or arrogant – a hot knife through butter. The first book is about breathing, and I found myself breathing deeply just at the suggestion. I journal every morning, and blog every night – but I never thought of O’Hara’s idea of having a journal right at the quiet corner, to write right after the calm, centering exercises. AKA breathing. This patch of carpet where I’ve meditated before is against the wall, cuddled between a cylindrical wicker laundry basket I bought right out of college in NY and the end of my treadmill.
The other half of her book explores times in our life, like bathing, celebrations, money, change, and what she calls broken shoelaces – when things go wrong. There’s waiting, too. I have great joy in my life, because I do love the simple things. I immerse my hands in warm, soapy water and enjoy it, I dance always like no one is watching, I connect in conversation. But, waiting, uh-oh. There’s my Achille’s Heel. Hoping, too. Basically, my mind constructs elaborate fantasies about what will happen when this certain guy sees me again, when this agent receives my manuscript, when my older son gets out of the hospital. O’Hara recommends simply sinking into the truth of the moment.
It occurs to me that the writerly part of my brain might appreciate that inclination to fantasize, and that draws a smile. I’ll say yes tomorrow morning to that burgundy patch of carpet, snuggle in next to the old wicker basket, and see what comes out of my pen.
This guest review is brought to you in partnership with Diana Page Jordan who also does interviews with authors at her website, in addition to her book reviews like this one.