Good morning! I set my timer for twenty minutes and dive into this blog. Where I want to be is back in bed. These are the mornings that don’t make sense to me. Sometimes the writing just comes hard, or feels like it’s not coming at all. I sit at the keyboard or open the notebook and uncap my pen, and my brain becomes a cloudless day on the prairie: nothing to see here — move along. Put me anywhere else, and the stories, the urge for words, the articles and writes shove all over the place for space in my attention. Put me in the shower and I get all the best ideas for the most brilliant poems — then sit me back down at the notebook: poof.
Some writes are like that. Yesterday I went for a run in the woods with my sweetheart — I am still learning how to run. A few weeks ago I made it all the way around Lake Merritt without stopping, and I thought, I did it! I learned how to run! And then I did it again, and then I had a break from running, and now it’s hard to go for much more than a mile without having to walk. Goddamnit, I think. I broke the spell. So I breathe hard, walk a ways, and then start running again. It’s just like on the page. Sometimes the words flow like sudden summer storm (if I can just be the most cliche, please), and some days it’s like this: stuttery, stop-and-start; pause, put the laundry in the dryer, get back to the keyboard, remember I wanted coffee, jump up and get the cup, sit back down and type a few more sentences, remember I was supposed to get the trash out now that I can hear the garbagefolks banging their way down the road, start to stand then force myself back into the chair — write, damnit.
Less flowy, maybe. But nothing’s broken. You didn’t break it just because today was harder than yesterday. Be in persistence. Be in curiosity: Oh, it’s like this today — what will that be like?
Move on into the day. If your body is ready, if no one comes, you can go write for your novel. Go to the cafe in your hiking clothes. Remember yourself into someone who loved to write. Remember yourself into the girl who took words with her everywhere she went. Remember yourself into that child with the strong arms and powerful legs, the one who ran and biked and everything was words. You made up stories every minute you were alone — you talked story to the cardinals and blue jays that called from the tops of oaks and elms on your walk home from school, you made story while you built lego castles for your little people long after you were too old to be playing with those toys, you made story while you rode your bike around quiet summer weekday streets. These were stories about love and romance, stories about friends who betrayed and then forgave each other, long-built and long-unwinding dramas. You made story about girls who achieved greatness — but mostly your stories were about playing house for real. You have always been writing love songs, just like your father. Remember yourself into the eyes that watched delightedly, with wonder, as the fat pencil moved across the grey-brown paper with the blue lines; your head on your left elbow while you watched your right hand make letters, and those letters made words: c – a – t. Look! Remember yourself into the girl who read before kindergarten, the girl who couldn’t get enough books, who carried words with her wherever she went. Remember yourself into that place of play, where the words weren’t work, where the words were something more than freedom, weren’t just fun, they were breath. You inhaled and exhaled this earliest love, the way that small marks emerged from the paper and made letters, that letters came together and made words that you could never unsee, that words could go together and create worlds.
On the days when the words come hard, can you remember yourself into that self? Set your timer for ten minutes, and follow your writing wherever it wants to take you today.
Here’s to Pipi. Here’s to silliness and play. Here’s to writing for the hell of it. Here’s to your words.