Friday, March 10, 2006

Writing into the dark

I pace with Madam in the dark, again, my eyes never quite adjusting, so everything is in an undifferentiated void. She’s squirming, unwilling to be led to sleep. Obstinate. I try the wiggle/walk that worked for the last nap, alas, it’s lost its charm and she only wails harder. So now it’s time to scan my mind for any possible combination that may have worked once or maybe never worked...but every night is different. Sway and sing. Pat and rock. Low voice. Hush. Warm breath in her ear. Why won’t something work all the time? I bring all of me to every bedtime; try not to get too attached to any method that seems easy. It will probably fail before long, and then succeed again, and then fail. She grows bored, frustrated. I try to stay with a method long enough to see any results, despite my inclination to switch and switch and switch...trying for instant results. But Madam does not budge, does not rest.

How to keep my exhausted mind from whirling, hallucinating? I am distracted--crash into shelving, spin into walls, bump my head. I need to call on all of my memories of where the rough spots are--still nursing bruises--but these will heal and leave their knowledge behind. She’s still awake. I keep walking. Crash again, jostling her from a tentative sleep. And the whole process begins again. Never the same twice.

Resentfully, I long to be anywhere but here, to lay her down awake. To leave my task incomplete. But she needs to sleep. I have to go on.

I feel the scratchy rug under my calloused feet, the cool hiss of the air snaking through the crevices in the doorframe. I need to know this small area thoroughly, to walk past the boredom, to be able to think my thoughts without losing my hard won footing. I am purposeful in the dark, walking neither too fast nor too slow, finally losing myself to the motions, trusting them to lead me where I need to go. Back and forth, seemingly arriving nowhere ever, but tuned into a different process. Time slows, pulled into rhythm with every breath.

Shallow breathing grows deep.
She is asleep.
I am awake.

This is what I need to remember every time I sit down to write.

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Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

this was written so beautifully. i felt like i was right there with you.

thank you for taking us into your that dark space...bumping our heads along with you.

keep writing while you're awake.

12:32 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Yummyteece said...

wow.... absolutely what bohemian girl said. I felt i was pacing those floors with you.

a friend wrote me somethign the other day... and i think it applies to you here as well:

"You are awake. more than most. when i say awake...i don't mean lack of sleep. The process of yer thought, how you lay out your words, translate a hell of a lot of emotional impact."

here's to writing while we are Awake!

5:09 PM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger M said...

I totally agree with BoHo Girl, she took the words right out of my felt like I was right there with you. You are so good at finding the time in the midst of Life happening around you to share these thoughts and brilliant words with us. You write so well, its inspiring for someone like me who loves putting words together too. Keep it up!! Hope she did finally get to sleep!

5:42 PM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you all so much! I feel like these predawn walks with Madam are teaching me what a healthy creativity looks like...perhaps sleepy in the beginning, but flexible and committed. Now I just need to remember that.

Teece, that quote is so inspirational! I need to *do* something with that, somehow. Thanks.

4:19 PM, March 14, 2006  

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