5:59AM. 59 minutes late to work or my work or the ideal time for the writer to rise and do something connected to that idyllic image of himself. You should see all the typos I’m going to have to correct, the same having to correct and erase old writing habits, this posting something to the blog and forgetting about it, not logging the piece into the ledger. With this piece, THAT stops– but I’ve said that before. But I have to start somewhere even if that ‘start’ is more of a restart. Wind chimes and rain outside and me up writing. Went to bed early last night, purposefully, so I’ rise early to work, like yesterday morning going to gym, zooming through seven miles for the first time in whoknows.
I think of the students in my classes and how they so animalistically work on their essays, printing them at the end of term with more pride than I’ve had in most pieces I’ve written. Glad–
Son wakes. “Dada…” he calls from upstairs. Go up to get him, he wants to be in our bed, take him there where Alice tells me she’s been up since 4, poor love, not feeling well and ready for “Sissy” as we call her to get here, already. 2 days. Again, I have to wake earlier. That IS the key to my written travels. Yesterday talking to these two men from SF, both traveling frequently for work and laughing at each other’s stories, me laughing with them but intent on hearing each specificity of their business trips, like one from the man on the left, to India and having stayed in this “palatial” suite as he said, one side of the building a beautiful view of town and part of the hotel’s property while the other side was unimaginable poverty. He realized the contrast the morning after arriving in Mumbai (where he was staying), sipping his coffee in the provided robe and slippers. He told me he felt horrible and self-conscious, guilty and woed. I found the realization enviable and entrapping from the writer’s angle, so I had to log it, a note to myself that one day, SOON, I’m going to have that, write while experiencing something like that.
But I have to wake earlier.
No sound from upstairs. Maybe they’ve fallen to their respective sleeps. I try typing the keys as softly as I can but it’s more challenging than the writer thought so I just type, and if he calls me again then he calls me. I am a writer, but also a father, but a father who writes so there has to be a synergy there, a starkly sharp and useful Equilibrium and Creative quietude. And there will be. Just have to work at it like anything else. I notice my typing getting louder. I’m getting too comfortable in my ways, this sitting in the dark on the Autumn Walk base’s bottom floor. Legs bothering me a bit from yesterday’s treadmill visit. Don’t care, it felt amazing to feel like a serious runner again– Goddamn the sounds of these keys! So loud! I’m here hoping the Story lets me get to a thousand words, just one thousand, the first word count I started shooting for and praising so many years ago, when Mom bought me that ‘Literary Life‘ book by Carolyn See… Now I hear nothing, like that sound of nothing I’ve only heard once in my life, cross-country skiing with Mom and Dad, when Katie and I were in the pit of youth, on the golf course holes of Sunriver’s North Course. I remember Dad stopping me, particularly (at the time I wasn’t the thought-obsessed and lit-addicted chap of present, maybe he knew I’d remember this, maybe he knew I’d be a writer and a thinker like him), and saying, “Listen.” And that’s all he said. No exposition, no narrative, no explanation, no definition. As I do with my students, I was left to interpret for myself what was around, the audible void. Or maybe not, maybe there was not interpretive intention in Dad stopping me, maybe it was just for the moment itself.. but Dad isn’t like that. There’s measure and design to everything he does. He must have known at some point in my Story that I summon that scene and stop on whatever hole that was. This quiet, here, on the Autumn Walk floor, very much voices the quiet there, then, with Dad in that white, with the trees and houses on ‘the green‘ if that’s what you call it.
The dark down here, well everywhere in this house, I feel, is paradigmatically opposed to the notion of beginning a day with the ‘go-get-’er‘ rumble about my figure at the moment, but it’s the year’s time. Winter. When everything shuts down, or stops, or slows.. so that’s why it must be such a weighted coercion to get this writer to rise at 4:15. Well, aside from other facets obviated. One day I’ll do it, avowed. And if I don’t– no, I will. I have to. The Story’s about to lateral to me a climatic challenge, and I have to change– And frankly, I want to change. Not that I’m bored with who I am, or my life, or what I do, or what I write about, I just want some variation, some Newness as I’ve shared with students when lecturing on Kerouac and him and Dean/Neal being on the Road, addicted to those kicks, the savory stimuli that to writers is the opiate.
There they go again, the chimes, saying “Don’t stop at a thousand words! Let the story push you like wind, let it make you sing!” True, and at the idea’s epicenter I agree. But….. I have to change. That was oldwriter. New Writer measures while cutting. And sometimes even before cutting, but not excessively, I do want to keep that taste-of-moment hue to the pages. Like this morning, early, Jackie waking me, me going up only to come down here to work, not knowing I’d see this first floor so differently.
That I’d think what I thought.
Where am I. What am I doing.