Morning Pages

For the last six months or so, I’ve reached for my notebook as soon as I wake up and written three pages, longhand. It’s whatever comes into my sleepy head–whacked-out dreams, whining, to-do lists, memories, private arguments, stories people tell me.

At dinner last week, Tim Bray asked why I don’t write much any more. (Tim is one of my first and favorite mentors, and I was glad to meet him after three years of quick notes.) I gave him the rehearsed excuses. I’m a slow writer; a tweaker who frets about my adjective allowance. My essays are getting too long for a blog. I’m busy with a new apartment, new city, new coast, new job. This to a man with a family and a big fat two-city job, who turns out screens of clear prose a day and answers email in ten minutes.

Then told him about the three or four pages I write every morning. “Wow, that’s odd,” he said politely. (He’s Canadian.)

God, I suppose it is. So Thursday night I dragged out those notebooks and re-read them for the first time. 180 days times three pages adds up. I feared a self-pitying loop through Woman’s Search for Meaning, but was surprised at the number of cheerful squibs and fragments that I would once have put here. They were dotted with growls about my twelve-year-old neighbor’s hollering, or more goddamn snow out there, but they were mostly readable. Or at least legible.

So this is an experiment. For a few days I’m going to put sleepiest first-thing-in-the-morning squibs up here, with a half-hour time limit, and see how they turn out. Sure, isn’t that what blogging is all about?

But no outtakes from the Bad Sex With World Leaders dream cycle, I promise. My subconscious may be power-crazed, but I’m not.

5 thoughts on “Morning Pages”

  1. Hey Dervala, could it be your comments are working again? Here goes – let’s see if this works.

    I just want to say your notebooks’ loss is our gain! Please do keep blogging. From this blogger’s point of view, you’ve been an inspiration. Go raibh maith agat!



  2. Imeallach,

    O am go h-am, iarraim do bhlag a leamh, ach is uafasach e mo chuid Gaeilge anois. Ni thuigim ach amhaim cupla focail 😦

    I’m delighted you’re doing it, though. It inspires me to brush up, now that there’s something to read that’s fresher than Peig!



  3. Wonderful, looking forward to this. Is this the MP’s as per Julia Cameron idea? I agree that exercise throws up some amazing stuff.

    I’m still reading your Ireland archive which I printed off, and enjoying.

    Thanks for feedback on CCC, it took me a week but I finally uploaded it to my website.

    Yeah I am so jealous, some people are just too damm profilic and answer emails with speed and cook and find time for everything else. Me I have to limit myself to time spent on blog, otherwise members of this household will go without clean socks, meals etc, and the Mao (my cat) will probably leave home.


  4. Dervala,

    Níl locht ar bith ar do chuid Gaeilge, is léir! 🙂

    My tangled prose, on the other hand is a different story. Unfortunately, when I read it back, it’s never as clear as I had hoped. Still, that’s one of the aims of the exercise: practise, practise, practise!



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