Last night the school called it in. School was delayed 2 hours. A late start means moving our 10 am OT appointment to 2. Dinner is in the crockpot and baby is asleep. I have an hour until I have to start getting him ready to pick up his sister, so I’m having a pudding and string cheese for lunch with my coffee and staring at the empty space in a word doc.
My dad was a writer.He used to tell a story of the two of us waking at 5 when I was a baby. He would put on a Gordon Lightfoot record as he sat down to feed me, and he would write. He needed the stillness of a household still sleeping. He warmed up slowly in the mornings, and he needed time to process the thoughts that grappled for his attention against the chaos of the rest of his day.
He kept that same schedule long past the years of my childhood. When I lived with him in my late teen and early adult years I would wake with my own child and find him already up for the day, sitting at the computer with a cup of coffee at his side and the music playing softly. Sometimes it was Lightfoot. Others it was Kristofferson, Cash, many of the songs that play in the background of my childhood soundtrack come from those mornings. Sometimes he graded papers, or goofed off on social media. Often he was writing. For all I know he sat up before the sun in his last days doing the same thing.
Perhaps that is where I get the need to linger when I write. Operating under the pressure of time works for a lot of people. It is something I train myself to at least try every time I do a Nano project. But some of my best work comes from the extended periods of stillness, staring at a blank document. Re-reading the words to a past project that I have been neglecting, partially to procrastinate, but also because those words are linked to a memory that pulls to the surface a feeling I want to bask in. I stare at the words and I wonder.
Is it the act of wondering that draws one to be a writer, or is it the act of writing that inspires one to wonder?