5:29 AM – Jacked-up the coffee again. Oh well.
“I know I set out to tell you every single thing I know about writing, but I am also going to tell you every single thing I know about school lunches, partly because the longings and dynamics and anxieties are so similar.” – Anne Lamott
Over the weekend, I decided to use my Kiki Mornings site for working through Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. This will take at least a month, maybe more, moving chapter by chapter, perhaps pausing in one four page section for several days as I meditate on a particular writing “truth” or technique or idea. Here at this time of day, after screwing up the coffee and finally pouring another one, watching the clock move closer to my roll call in an early morning class, I know this task with Lamott is an act of discipline.
In the grander scheme of our effect on others, – of butterflies in foreign fields, of starfish on the beach and yadda yadda – I would love for others to join me by reading and commenting and referencing me to others. Great. That would be great and, honestly, grandiose. But the work has to be done here in the quiet. Alone. One voice inside one head.
This morning my head is not working with Lamott. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not. It’s hard to know at the moment.
Today I feel overwhelmed by the news and the media. Bombs in Boston. Sidewalks exploding. Children seeing the flashes, the smoke, the blood. Runners who have each morning for months, potentially years, put one single day and one single place at the forefront of most decisions, finally arriving at that day and place only to have it blown up in their faces – literally. Smashed. Demolished. Taken away like skin and limbs and fiber. Questions of terrorism. Questions of evil. Questions of protection. This is a reality outside of my quiet, lonely Texas table. This event is not a story in someone’s head.
This morning I think it’s hilarious that so many people have told me over so many years I should not watch horror movies because horror movies desensitize viewers to violence. I’ve been told, by the Christian critics, my heart will deaden to the cares and concerns of God in response to cinematic horror. That’s really funny. Especially since I often shake off a good horror film in a few hours but I wear the horror from front page news for days.
My reason for writing about Boston today is to record this note for my(future)self : days like today are good days to silence the voices in your head. Listen to other voices exclusively. Abandon the work you came to do, that you’ve been intending to do, in order to listen and feel and write for someone else’s sake. Make today’s work a work of intercession, even if that means no “work” gets done at all. This sounds emotional, but I’m an emotional guy. It might even be melodramatic, but, hell, I might just be a melodramatic guy. So be it. This isn’t about me. Somedays it’s okay to shut down our own minds and realize, it’s not about me. Today my voice can simmer into the background. Today I can observe and record and hope.
I think Anne Lamott would understand.