Creating a Creative Space

My backyard is a haven.

Anna Burgess Yang
3 min readMay 7, 2018


Photo credit: my own photo

My backyard is a haven in the spring. There is a pond that stretches under the deck and a waterfall that provides a constant soothing rush of water. When the trees spread and fill in, I can barely see the neighbors in the cul-de-sac the yard faces so there is a sense of seclusion, even in the middle of the suburbs.

Saturday was a perfect 80 degrees in Chicagoland. I wanted so much to have some time to myself, but with three kids at home that was an unlikely event. So I went with the adage “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” — or rather, have them join me. “Everybody, grab something creative and OUTSIDE!” I ordered.

My oldest son chose to simply run around in the yard. It is his method of decompressing. And the eight-month-old was confined to an indoor-outdoor bouncy seat. My six-year-old brought a portable easel, canvas, stack of paintbrushes, and proceeded to paint the backyard waterfall. My husband brought the Surface and tried to see if he could draw the waterfall using the drawing tools of the tablet.

Me? I brought my Kindle Paperwhite, Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times (whatever I may now think of Keillor as a person, the collection of poems he selected and the way he would read poems was always particularly striking), and a notebook. I read a few chapters on my Kindle before finding the constant discussion with the six-year-old artist distracting. Instead, I set about to read some poems.

Whatever else may keep me from reading chapters and chunks of books in one sitting, I can always sneak in a few poems.

I would hear the words in Keillor’s intonation, his inflections and rhythm. I jotted down words or phrases I liked. And I set to write a few lines of my own; nothing particularly resonating. But when I similarly cannot find chunks of time to write in the way that I would like, I could write a few lines.

Seven days in a week, so I thought I would write seven lines. Call it #SevenLineSaturday, if you will.


a canopy of early spring buds
provides enough shade for the artists
to fine-tune their unexplored talents
canvas, paint, notebook, tablet, hands
a trio working silently on their crafts
waterfall rushing with vigor equal to their morning ambitions
ending in frustration and a stomping foot

Whatever I was able to dedicate to myself aside, perhaps the best part of that hour or so we spent in the backyard was the sharing of that time with my whole family, finding a way to spend some time just exerting energy and creating.

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Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •