Dita Parker

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wake-up call

They started coming to me at 5 a.m. Cross that. They started coming at me, demanding to be heard. I tried ignoring them. I tried asking them to put a sock in it and let me sleep. "It's five in the morning, people, please!"

They weren't fazed. They weren't impressed. And they wouldn't go away.

I tried explaining I didn't open for complete strangers having even more bizarre discussions in my head until after I'd had a jumbo mug of café au lait with loads of brown sugar.

They really couldn't care less.

At five in the morning they would come without asking, making outrageous claims about this and that having happened, and how he said she said, and did I hear about this one?

And then it hit me. I was dead wrong about being unavailable at 5 a.m. It was the only time of day when I wasn't crowded and cornered and concentrated on something of the seemingly utmost importance. At five in the morning I was open and flowing and free, and it was the only uninterrupted, totally focused moment I could spare them.

So I started listening. I started paying attention. I let them speak and I let myself listen. I started taking notes that would generate more notes, or questions, or ideas.

There were stories there, some only germs, some more rounded and developed. Threads and leads and hints of the lives and passions, secrets and joys of others, waiting to be dug up and put down in writing.

And I found it again, the long dormant will and drive to write. I had never lost it to the world, not completely, but I will admit to having put it out to pasture, indefinitely. But in my mind I had already started writing again.

I had been writing for a while, I just didn't recognize or consider it as writing. I was busy getting by and getting along and taking care of business. Busy convincing myself that as far as careers went, writing was as logical and profitable a pursuit as crossing the Atlantic on an inner tube.

I'll wake up tomorrow morning at five and still not have a career in writing. But I will have a kick-ass muse who loves his bourbon and takes great pleasure in giving me grief along with inspiration. I will have my kids' unconditional love and admiration (that will be gone soon enough), the support of my husband and my friends (whose love and respect I never wish to lose) and the sometimes maddening, often agonizing but always present need to write. With them as my mirror, my armor and my sword, what have I got to lose or fear?

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