Birds of a feather

By FC Robinson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By FC Robinson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m suddenly awakened by the deliberate plunking of a piano blues riff: Daah duh duh duh dhaaam…daah duh duh duh dhaaam. 

“Cut it out, N’awlins,” I yell out in a raspy voice.  “Yuh hear”?

The rhythm continues to crescendo from across the room.  Daah duh duh duh dhaaam…daah duh duh duh dhaaam.  I yell out again, “That you, Money Fatts”?

My wife is not amused at my early-morning attempt at humor.

In one swift motion I swing my body off the bed, pulling half the entwined sheet and comforter combination with me until it’s tugged back into place like a rubber band.  I take a few clumsy steps in the dark, feeling for the top of my tall mahogany-stained dresser with outstretched arms, and retrieve my phone from the charger to silence the troublesome “blues riff” alarm tone.

The air in the room is brisk and cool.  About sixty-six degrees, I suspect.  I hate January; we really should move to Florida one of these days.

It’s nearly five o’clock on a Tuesday and I have just one hour to devote to writing and related research for the day before showering, dressing, and leaving for work.  I need to make this hour count!

I throw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, feed the cat a small portion of his morning breakfast to keep him quiet, and bump up the thermostat.  Click, click, click, ker-plunk, ker-plunk, whooooosh.  The burners fire and warm air begins to flow throughout the house.

I finally head into the family room where I sit down at my laptop to start writing.  The room is dark, as I’ve deliberately kept off the lights sans for the glow of the laptop LCD at the head of the table.  The daily self-interrogation begins.  Do I dive right into writing, or do I check my Twitter feed first to see what new insights were posted by my writing friends?  Maybe I’ll tweet the word count of my current WIP?  Or maybe I’ll comprise a romanticized tweet to impress others with my dedication to the craft at five o’clock in the morning? 

I log into Twitter and take a moment to skim my feed.

That woman is a machine…was she really awake two hours ago to comprise a tweet about her WIP? 

There’s this guy again…why did he re-post that same article he posted just yesterday afternoon?

I swear this woman…best-selling author of nineteen novels I’ve never heard of…must have six identical Twitter accounts!

I put my hand on the crown of my head, feeling to see if the thin spot has gotten any worse from the day earlier.  I slump back into my chair.

Coffee.  I need coffee!  I walk into the kitchen and brew myself a cup of Keurig.  The aroma of sweetened espresso shifts throughout the room when the forced-air blower kicks on for a second time.  This will surely wake her up.

Returning to my chair at the table, I see fourteen new tweets are available to me.  Three are duplicates, two are advertisements.

It’s now ten minutes to six, and I realize I’ve squandered yet another potentially-productive writing morning with no substantial benefit.

With the push of the mouse, a small arrow glides to the upper-right corner of my screen.  Account… Settings… Deactivate My Account.  Complete.

If I want to be a writer, I need to actually write, I think to myself as I snap shut the lid to my laptop.  Tomorrow’s another day.


Proposal for a New Year

Instead of resolutions, which I never fail to ignore, I would like to share with you some things I intend to accomplish this year.

1. I will not climb atop my roof for a barbaric yawp.

I will think about it though.  Likely I will spend quantities of time wondering what it might feel like to stand above my trees and pull the adventures and stresses and joys of the day across my stomach, my throat, my tongue, my teeth.  I will wonder what the neighbors would think of me.  I will resist doing it anyway.

2. I will be the monster in the playground.

I will continue to chase my child, and all who wish to be chased, up and over ladders, down slides, and round and round and round the trees.  It is fun.  It is freeing.  It is immediately exhausting, and I am not young, but I will not give it up.

3.  I will be a lazy bastard.

All crafts require tools, and these are mine: chair, computer.  Thus, my butt will be glued to my chair and my computer to my lap, as often as possible.  Except right now.  My butt is numb.

4. I will not continue on as if the sun strewing reds and oranges and pinks across the sky is just another sunset.  Even if it is, around here.

5.  I will learn manners.  I will properly introduce myself, or say goodbye just before I leave (even if I said goodbye 5 minutes ago, but we kept talking).  I will learn to listen properly, even if I cannot stop my brain from trying to share an anecdote similar to your anecdote, or pulling together all the random bits of facts we’ve tossed around and concluded that a character named Al, who was narcissistic about his high IQ but not functionally intelligent would be the only person to know all of things it took the two of us to share.