Monday, June 20, 2011

Tantrums in Sacred Spaces

I've listened to a lot of writers talk about having "sacred spaces" for writing.  Places that are pristine, quiet, beautiful.  I always listen, nod, and smile.

If you've been to one of my talks or follow me on Facebook, you know I write at Starbucks.  It's noisy and busy, and people know I write here now, so there's usually a distraction or two or four.  The table I'm at now is wobbly, and the chair isn't ergonomically designed to protect my lumbar spine.  But I love it here.  It's my sacred space.

I write at Starbucks instead of in my beautiful home office because if I write at home, I end up not writing.  Ethan (3) will ask me to fix the wheel on one of his trucks, Stella (10 months) will press her pudgy face up against the glass of the French doors and cry for me, Alena (11) will come in and want to chat about jump rope or school or the funny thing she just thought about.  And I can't resist any of it.  Or I'll think, "I really should throw in a load of laundry," or "I have bills to pay," or "I wonder if we have any chocolate?"

So I write at Starbucks.

And the Starbucks nearest me is tucked inside a Stop & Shop.  With a book deadline, three kids, two in diapers, and one drinking formula, this basically means I'm here ALL THE TIME.  Seriously, how many of you hug and kiss the woman who checks out your groceries?  I do because I feel like I know her that well.

I was here this weekend with all three kids because I needed to pick up food for dinner.  To make the chore more fun for Alena and Ethan, I told them I'd get them a treat at Starbucks.  I knew Alena would want an iced chai (like her mom), and Ethan would want an apple fritter.  He's obsessed with them.

So we're in line, and for no reason whatsoever, Ethan winds up and slaps Alena.  We still don't know why he committed this crime.  I'm blaming systemic testosterone.  Toxic stuff.

I said, "Ethan, you can't hit Alena.  Tell her you're sorry."

He stared at me.  No way.  Not happening.

"Okay, Ethan, that's not a good choice.  You hit her, and you won't say sorry.  You're not getting a fritter.  You sure about this?"

No apology.

Alena gets her iced chai, Ethan gets nothing.  Ethan then throws the biggest tantrum Starbucks and Stop & Shop have ever seen.  As he was losing his mind on the floor of Starbucks, I actually laughed to myself, thinking, "There's no screaming in my sacred space!"

I snapped this photo of him in the produce aisle:

I'm in Starbucks now, writing in my imperfect yet sacred space.  And everyone here is still talking about the tantrum...


  1. Hi Lisa,
    My daughter once visited Tantrum Land in the grocery store. I sat on the floor beside her and copied her. Never happened again.

    Donna (In Brewer)

  2. Hi Lisa, I just discovered your blog and I am really glad I found it. Big fan, can't wait for your next novel.