Morning Voice

Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, October 2007
Sometimes I wake up in the pitch black quiet, hours before the bus and the static-haired, pink-fleece-clad girl who loves to watch it go. If five p.m. is a baby's witching hour, then five a.m. is a mother's writing hour. The shrill voice that likes to boss me around says chip-chop! pay the bills! do the paperwork! return the emails! for heaven's sake, do the dishes your lazy arss left in the sink last night!

But in the morning, in the pitch black quiet, I shush the bossy old voice that shrieks in exclamation marks. And I listen to the morning voice, my own, the one that pleads gently with me to write, to say something beautiful, to let myself drift, to feel.

I rarely get it right, this balance between what needs to be done in order to get by and what I need to do in order to know who I am.

My little girl just toppled into the quiet, climbed on my lap and leaned her tangled, lavender-scented hair against my face. I can barely reach around her to type, and both coherency and contemplation have scampered away like frightened little mice.

I need to pack the lunch now and put peanut-butter on the bagels and make sure he's wearing clean socks.

My morning voice fades at sunrise like a sorrowful moon, when the sky no longer offers contrast, not enough to be seen, not enough to be heard.

Maybe tomorrow, I think, exchanging wistful looks with my morning voice.
Then the bossy voice barges back in with a fresh fistful of exclamation marks. Those dishes aren't going to clean themselves!


Any other frustrated morning writers out there? Or are most of you night owls? And for those of you non-writers (the ones who couldn't fathom churning out 500 words unless your history grade depended on it), what do you do to gain perspective, to stay sane, calm, to feed your inner self? Or am I making a huge assumption here that y'all are actually calm and sane and not a bunch of high-strung crazies with highly malnourished inner selves? (Not that there's anything wrong with that....)

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