It’s 4:30 5:30 am and I am at my desk. It’s dark, still, and there’s a bite in the air that tells me summer is drifting off to some other hemisphere. I have made a pot of tea, tucked under a cozy that was knitted for me. There is a metal pitcher half-filled with milk, and a sugar dispenser and a spoon and a tub of Greek yogurt in case I get hungry.
I do not particularly want to work. In fact, I actively do not want to write. I should have been up an hour ago, but we were away all weekend and I had that extra glass of wine and stayed up one hour too long, looking up ways to (organically) kill the aphids devouring my beans and brussels sprouts. My rebellion is in the sleeping an extra hour, so I must start writing. Soon. I delay it by making the first cup of tea, and drinking a little of it while I read the book of poems on my desk, ten poems to change your life again and again, by Roger Housden.* I flip it open randomly and read Leonard Cohen’s Leaving Mt. Baldy, and a line leaps out:
“Thank you, Beloved,”
I heard a heart cry out
as I entered the stream of cars
on the Santa Monica freeway
And I close the book and turn to the computer and open the writing file. I will only be able to write 300 words, maybe, or maybe only even 100. Sometimes lately, I can write 1000 words before I make tea for Christopher Robin, which makes me feel buff and writerly superior. 300 will make me feel like I want to wake up earlier tomorrow, and for one long moment, hands hovering over keys, I feel despair well up, and judgments roar: only 300 words! Why even bother? [Read more…]