Saturday, June 13, 2015

What am I doing

On the morning of April 15, I tried something different. I read a couple of short stories, grabbed a pen and a semi-neglected journal, and wrote my brains out instead of immediately turning on the computer and wandering around the Internet and finally writing with the keyboard if I had any time left after surfing.

It worked out so well that I came back the next morning and did it again.

Now it’s a habit: From 5 to 6 a.m. each morning, my pen and I have a date with the journal. (This blog entry began life as scratchings on paper.) Sometimes I reflect on life, sometimes I map out a project, sometimes a scene from a short story or novel bursts out, sometimes I just write nonsense until my brain gets traction, but every day I sit next to the window in my room and write, eschewing the desktop computer.

On Monday, May 11, I typed out one of these random musings to post on this blog, an observation about the promise of a new week, a new beginning. I attached a photo of Willow romping through our field on the first day we had her. Completely unexpectedly, I had forged a template, and now here we are every day, you and I.

I didn’t plan to do any of this. As I wrote a couple of weeks later, sometimes a new idea is discovered in hindsight – you just start doing something and see where you go. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get started. Just do something because it’s better than doing nothing. “Ready, fire, aim.”

So what I’m doing here is sharing some of the fragments I’ve been writing during these early morning hours, and photos of my adorable companions. Sometimes they come and sit and/or sleep while I scribble; often they slumber with Cj, who gets up an hour after I do.

Where is it going? I think we’ll discover that together. In the meantime I hope you find some entertainment, some encouragement, some insight, some whimsy.

One day (May 26) out of curiosity I counted to see how many pages I had filled during these mornings and I found I had 50 blank pages to go before I filled the book. Now (June 12) there are only 11 pages left. As I wrote at the end of May:

The first 50 pages (of this journal) took us from Oct. 26, 2011, to Jan. 17, 2013. This is the 90th page my pen has touched since April 15, 2015. The difference is in the decision. The difference is in the habit. The difference is in the discipline.

Of course, quantity is not quality. But in the quantity is something more than emptiness. I have scattered carrot seeds, and some are turning into carrots and some are turning into nothing. But the soil is being turned and the pages are being filled.

If Sturgeon is right and “90 percent of everything is crud,” then in six weeks I have created nine good pages (10% of 90) – in those first 14 months I created merely five. More or less.

Eighty percent of the job is just showing up, someone said. Will I keep showing up for 50 more pages, so by midyear I can finish this journal and start writing in the new one I got for Christmas 2014? We shall see. How many journals like this have I filled in a lifetime? None so far? How many do I have left to fill? Let’s see.

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