June 2018 . . . .

“Circadian Arrhythmia”

Aaron Sorkin (I’m not going to tell you who he is; either you’re already well aware and it will be ironic, or you’re not and I will be left foolishly mansplaining) said something to the effect of “the first sin of writing is to tell the reader what they already know. ”

Elder daughter says I talk too much. Sort of the same thing, I guess.

It’s late spring, and there are perhaps a handful of lovely cool mornings remaining in the inventory. The alarm pushes me out of bed and downstairs to my keyboard and just before I sit I peer out the window. I have no foolish thoughts that I am the only one awake and the moment is peaceful; outside are the dog walkers, the school bus riders, the running women and men getting cardio, the landscape workers prepping their gas-powered weed-eaters and edgers while checking their watches for that seven-thirty start time.

Across the street is another me, my neighbor who I don’t know a thing about except that he likes to sit on his porch and watch the world, our very small slice of it, pass. I’m on my side, he’s on his. We claim no right to quiet, to privacy, to . . . empire. We just sit. He reads, I read. If someone is blowing leaves or mowing the lawn, I go back inside. (I stay out for the stink of steak sizzle on a grill, though. I mean, who doesn’t?)

Occasionally we wave hello — or goodbye — to each other, to other neighbors walking by. I wonder what they think of us — two silent, frumpy sirens past whom folks must navigate to go home. I wonder what he’s got in his tumbler. I have pineapple-juice and seltzer in mine. Nothing hard, nothing sugary. (Please don’t tell me any truth about pineapple-juice. At least it’s better for me than the aeronautic zoom and crash of sweet tea.) And no, I’m probably never going to get up and wander across the street and introduce myself.

One of my favorite things is catching people power-walking while they jabber away on Bluetooth. It is efficient to walk and work, but they seem to be talking to themselves and there is an element of fun to pretending that they aren’t. As they pass my perch, I say hi when they say hi. I try to answer questions they ask the person they’re on the horn with. My goal, of course, is to earn the stink-eye. It is silly and who couldn’t use more silly?

Right now, my autocorrect is trying to get me to change “more silly” to “sillier. ” I refuse to be bullied.

The days get longer. Dawn cracks at Five fifty-five. Five fifty-two. Night leaks out of the overturned bottle. Every morning, first light peers over my horizon in shades of watermelon and carnation, lilac and fandango. It’s difficult for me to decide if I like spring (because of warmth and rebirth and new bloom) or if it is troubling (because I have to come out of my cocoon, leave my comfortable cave of winter). Do bears feel this way, I wonder. Or are they just happy to get a meal after a long fast? Along that line, I am not a morning-feed person. In December it feels strange to eat when it’s still dark out. By the time warm weather has returned for good, it is still an oddity to me to think about eating breakfast. I do, however, enjoy a couple of eggs over-easy and a rasher or two of bacon before settling down to a long night. This is of course an evil thing to do, cooking up when everyone else is asleep. Their dreams must warp from flying unicorns and magnificent shopping malls to coming down to the feast-perfumed kitchen only to find it empty, or worse — full of dirty dishes.

This morning I grind the beans, prop open the clean, brown, climate-change reversing filter and make the coffee. I put together the tasty lunch for my youngest (not so young anymore, though) and crack the blinds. Crank the desktop like an old flivver. We had a run-in, my computer and I, this year, but with some minor open-heart surgery and a software facelift she’s back in fighting trim. I like writing in the morning. It is akin to scrubbing your face with a clean wet washcloth. Get everything out there, on paper, even if it’s not much use later. Reveal things. Unclog the pipes, turn the soil over to the day. Yes, I’m fully aware that Victorians defined “soil” differently than I do. Ah, well.

Here in my “office” — the coopted formal dining room of this house — I have stacked my desk with the clutter of failed attempts to focus. ARCs, sketchbooks, shells I picked up on the beach, old bookmarks as weathered and dog-eared as the books they stood watch over for me. No food-crumbs or dirty coffee-cups, though, so points for effort. There are four different chairs at the table, so I can wander around like Isaac Asimov — a new spot for each change-of-project. I turn the monitor and reposition the keyboard and carry on. It’s silly, I know, but sometimes you need to be silly to keep going. There’s also a terrific wing-chair, leather, in the corner beneath the snick-snocking cuckoo clock. It’s a great chair. Not a couch — god, I would lie down to rest my eyes and wake up four hours later and stay up all night (not that this would be particularly terrible, but .  .  .) — just a good reading chair.

For those of you keeping count, I stole two references to Julie Andrews’ movies in paragraph six. Go back and see if you can find them!

I think I’m pretty fair at drafting (not the thing where you pull your car up on the bumper of the driver in front of you while roaring down the freeway to try and save a couple of pennies of gasoline but plowing the field of a writing project and getting words down) and know all of the hints & tips — don’t look back, just keep typing, edit later, etc., and just keep typing. Elementary stuff, but you would be surprised by how many folks keep bunching up their panties with the first paragraph of their story and never finish the damned tale. It’s a perfect paragraph, though, so there’s that.

Well, my nutritionist says I have to go now, get outside before the heat of the day becomes an excuse for not doing my half-hour of aerobic exercise. Yes, I have a nutritionist, and she’s very smart. Doesn’t take any clever crap from me. I go out and walk and pretend to be on Bluetooth while I actually talk to myself about schedules and morning sunshine and writing and such. Of course, just when you get a handle on the whole spring thing, Daylight Savings throws it all into a cocked hat.