Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pacing the Nest

I can’t sleep.

This is not unusual. Nestmate snorts while sleeping. Also, Nestmate habitually sounds as if he has a craw full of marbles and is rattling them inside beak. I don’t know how Nestmate makes this noise. Sometimes as I’ve lain awake at night, I have tried.

And as I'm lying awake, trying not to descend into Worrying, then come the words… you know how it is. Rather than letting them float away in the night, I have stopped kidding myself that I’ll actually remember them in the morning. So here I am, cheeping what I was thinking:

A few short years ago Nestmate, Chickling, and I lived in boathouse. I’ll spare you the particulars of how we came to be living a boathouse when we had a perfectly nice Nest of our own, but live there we did, several times, each time for months at a stretch. The boathouse was very… boaty. Despite its myriad awful-nesses: the smell of boat fluids, occasional vermin (including a cricket infestation), and the feeling the thing might blow down, it had its charms: the heady smell of boat fluids, the all night chirping of crickets, and the mournful song of wind warbling around the old rattler. But one of the best things was the mornings sitting on the step with a mug, watching cormorants dip below the water, a watchful eye and ear on Chickling playing, my journal on my lap. I churned out pages daily. There was no discipline required. It was lifeblood. It was survival. I was a writer and I allowed myself to vomit everything onto the page, and then leap off into flights of fantasy, trusting that that no one would read it.

I no longer live in a boathouse. I am busier and I am much happier, and I find time for journaling is a rare luxury. But I miss it and that recording of myself.

So part of what I’m attempting to do here is to gain some of that focus. I guess this is part online diary, part exploration of the writing and/or editing processes, and part forced discipline—because I know it’s going to require that for sure. As a freelance editor who makes her own hours and work patterns, responsible for bringing home my share of the worms and seed, I do know something about self-discipline. I've had to find time (around mothering Chickling, making sure the Nest is free of fluff and mites, keeping feathers somewhat preened and healthy, and relationship with Nestmate alive and flapping) to create a few kids’ books someone wanted to publish. There must have been discipline. But I need more.

So I’m up in the darkness, pacing the rim of the Nest, and putting those words down before they fly away. I’m beginning to rationalize away those thoughts that this is a glaring and unforgivable waste of time. I’m starting to internalize this process of blogging, hoping I can sustain it, and realizing that it may well be lifeblood—and I’m willing away the terror of exposure.

After all, that’s what writers do.

1 comment:

  1. As writers, we expose our innerselves with every word we write. I see myself in a lot of the characaters we have created...both the "good me" and the "bad me". Writing is an escape for all of us...and sometimes we need that escape at 4 in the morning. The sounds of just your significant other or child intensify the worry when you just lay there unable to sleep. So, writing at strange hours, is better than lying there and letting the worry beast get the best of you. At least it is for me.