5:41 AM – Monday morning and I’m already running late. An hour and a half late. This blows the trajectory of the day. And because it’s Monday, the entire week. Blah and blerg.
“What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here – and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.” – Anne Lamott
This morning is a perfect morning to read Lamott’s chapter titled “Perfectionism”. I did not sleep well last night. Ate some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy too soon to bedtime, and, as a result, I felt restless and shuffle-brained all night. Had a dream that me and Brad Pitt were trying to save a school dance, but I cannot remember enough details to begin sketching it out. The alarm rang at 4 AM, which I answered, but my being awake at 4:00 felt too familiar to being awake at 2:00 and then at 3:00, so I rolled over. This is a universal story, so it’s one not worth repeating. Except for one thing:
My dog is still asleep in our bed. The wife is at her morning work-out, so Chicken Dinner wants to pull up close to me. In these moments I call him Chicken Burrito because he packs and radiates a phenomenal amount of heat. His skin is a tortilla. His feet smell like corn chips. He’s tight and warm and round and he thinks I’m God. That’s a tough bond to break at 5:00 in the morning.
Back to Lamott.
All this sleepytime baggage is being met today with my a grand desire to skip my morning words. And I’ve not felt that temptation yet. I began jotting down these morning words before I even began this WordPress sit. We’re talking nearly a solid month of daily waking and writing first thing, when the brain is not sophisticated enough to work the Scientific Method into detailed decision making techniques so I’m left with gut-level, fully emotional reactions. And this morning I do not want to be here typing inconsequential words. I’m not talking about the same fears and block I mentioned over the weekend: fears that I won’t get it right or blocks against what might suck or be shitty. Today I simply want an extra hour of sleep, wrapped up with my Chicken Burrito dog, listening to all the little children squalor-hollaring as their parents deposit them at the Kinder Care next door. What is it Paul says regarding sin: “What I don’t want to do, I do. And what I do want to do, I don’t do.” I’m not even battling perfectionism this morning (if you can’t tell by these lazy sentences) as much as I’m feeling pouty and entitled and particularly pug-faced pitiful.
From Lamott again, this time from the introduction:
“Mondays are not good writing days. One has had all that freedom over the weekend, all that authenticity, all those dreamy dreams, and then your angry mute Slavic Uncle Monday arrives, and it is time to sit down at your desk.”
But elsewhere, and often, too often to pick any one quote or line or pretty sequence of words, Lamott talks about the just doing it of writing. Her father, also a writer, told her to write everyday:
“Do it every day for a while,” my father kept saying. “Do it as you would do scales on the piano. Do it by prearrangement with yourself. Do it as a debt of honor. And make a commitment to finishing things.”
Keeping this WordPress site is not my commitment. My commitment is to begin every single day writing at least 500 words that may or may not work together or fit or entice anybody. My commitment is to trudge through exactly what I felt this morning: my body and mind’s bucking against what I truly want more than sleep. I know from one month’s proof and practice that beginning my day like this, crouched over a book and these keys and that cup of coffee there (needing a refill), changes the entire trajectory of my day. From here, I will view the world through words. Through story. Through narrative. I will do so in a way that feels natural and curious. Writing begets writing and creation begets creation, I’ve said that before and I’ll say that again. Mostly to myself. Mostly at or before 5 AM.
By the way, I crossed my 500 word minimum about three paragraphs back. Once these things start moving, they eventually begin to pull themselves. Speaking of pulling themselves, it’s time to wake the burrito. We have a creek to check out, and yesterday’s eat and drink to put on the ground. The forecast feels brighter now than it did at when I began this damn thing. Selah.