These days I wake up at 3:30 AM, like clockwork, annoyed. I talk to God (picturing a Man-God, then picturing a Woman-God, then picturing a floating translucent mass in the room), “What do you want from me? Let me sleep!”
I talk to my brain, “Be quiet. Be still. Leave your phone alone. What makes you think God is waking you up?”
My brain talks to me, “Well, God is waking you up. You asked for time to write, right? You asked for the quiet spaces. You got it.”
“Not at three in the morning!” I argue. And so it goes…I am up.
Bodhi-Dog, ever loyal, follows me into the living room, where we huddle together in a blanket on the sofa. I try to preserve the darkness – turn no lights on, but the computer light is too stark and overshadows the keys. Little lamp click. I turn the kettle on for the French press. (I made myself like coffee once and now my mornings are married to it.) Bodhi lets out various resettling Ujjayi breaths. Yes, I swear my dog is a Yogic breather.
Coffee in hand, my mind fires on again, “Well, what do you have to say this morning?” I feel pressured, “I’m not sure yet. Give me time to wake up, Pushy.”
I start scanning my phone for inspiration. That’s usually a let down, mostly because I’m disgusted to be looking there for a muse. I think, “You should go outside and watch the world wake up.” Nah, too much effort. Nice in theory, but there’s no sofa/blanket/lap dog/coffee/computer out there.”
“Well, you had weird, lucid dreams. What about those?”
“Those are a mess. People don’t like to read about other people’s long-winded, self-centered dreams. Writing about dreams is obnoxious, too.”
“That’s pretty judgmental, and lazy.”
Then I give up, “Just read.”
“Yes, but what about the rule that you’re not supposed to consume before you create?”
“Reading is a part of writing. Open the book.”
“Okay, I will. But you know I can’t just read. I have to flag every other sentence for its poignance with reader sticky tabs; you know, as quick reference for all those manuscripts I’m going to write. More lines in my books are tagged than untagged. It’s embarrassing, overzealous, dysfunctional, OCD.”
“Who cares? Be quiet. Read your over-flagged book.”
“You’re right. I’m a writer – I have permission to over-flag.”
“Your husband was right – you make things too difficult.”
** brain crickets **
“You need to meditate. You’ve got apps for that, that are collecting digital dust – Omvana and Insight Timer.”
“Yes, but I’ve heard I need to get into some transcendental meditation. But I don’t know – the Transcendental Meditators seem a little braggy, a little Type A about their meditating.”
“Hahaha – you make me laugh. You have judgy, hilarious excuses.”
Somehow in the middle of all this noise, I manage to write something – something like this. Now, like a baby whose been given a warm boob, I’m ready to go back to sleep. My people are waking up for the day. My son will put his hands on my sleeping face soon, breathe his bad breath on me, and flash me his snaggletooth grin. I won’t get to sleep long, but my inner storyteller child is pacified by having answered the early morning call to create – sleepy, messy, willing, indulgent, wonderful.