Writer Turned on Her Head

7 March, 2013
I miss my old writing schedule: practice piano until around 10 pm then write until I stop. It would go sometimes until 2 am. Usually though, I’d get to bed by 1:30. I wrote my first book in a year that way, and the second followed in the next year. I had my little “traditions” that helped focus me. A candle, some music (which would usually seep into the book somehow), and mint tea prepared in my little blue teapot I bought especially for my writing hours. It worked, it flowed. But, I got sleepy.
Somewhere in there, I discovered the coffee shop. The constant din provides the perfect background which helps me focus. And it gets me out of the house (I teach at home so I get jumpy if I haven’t left the premises for a while).
Something has shifted now though, and I fear my writing habits have been taken hostage in the process. Yet, it’s as exciting as waking up at the Grand Canyon just when the sun rises over the rim. (My partner and I once parked our VW van in a spot on the south rim the night before so we could wake up to the unknown of the next morning. The vast space, fresh air, morning birds, and orange light were shocking, leaving both of us dumbfounded.) Hoping for something inspirational, anticipating movement in the heart, later to find an even greater beauty than imaginable… isn’t what we’re all looking for?
Back to writing… Suddenly, I’ve been turned on my head, I want to get up in the morning to write. I haven’t changed so thoroughly that I get up with the sun….yet. But, if I didn’t have to consider my teaching and performing schedule, I would give that a serious whirl. Someday.
So, my third book seems to be taking longer, but I suspect it’s also because I’ve started to write in a different style, and the change has uprooted me. It feels great, but I wish so much that I’d started to write long, long ago. I wish someone; a teacher, a parent, a friend, encouraged me to explore the inner world of words. I remember two teachers who were amazingly inspirational when it came to English class and poetry though. One of them wasn’t one of my teachers exactly, but watched us during homeroom. (I wonder if they still have homeroom these days.) He read a poem, usually of the “Casey at the Bat” length, before school every day. The other was my English teacher in 5th grade. I loved her, but I’m afraid I was known as a musician even then, and got slighted when it came to developing other interests.
My dad was an avid reader, one of those true genius types that could do the NY Times crossword in ink. Lots of books were in the house. But, for me, my world was so encased in music, it left little room for anything else. No regrets with my music, please understand that. It is my entire world. I am my music. But I wish someone had said “There’s more.”
That’s all I’m saying.
So, like my spring veggie garden, I’m turning the soil onto my own head. Let’s see what sprouts.


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