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!

    Imeallach

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  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!

    -Dervala

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  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.

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  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!

    Imeallach

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