morning pages – unfiltered
A while ago I promised myself, like so many times before, that I would begin the practice of writing morning pages. Three pages a morning, every morning. I think I made it through most of March and then Wren started teething and the nights got shorter and the mornings earlier and the last thing I felt like doing was to get up hours before the sun to write. I quit, like so many times before.
I was reading through my morning pages earlier today and though they are far from Austen, Vonnegut, Hemingway, Twain, what I wrote from that bleary-eyed state, unfiltered, with my brain’s capacity for inhibition still weak, is almost a stream of unconsciousness, in that I don’t recognise my voice or my words when I read them. You can tell when the caffeine has kicked though, because by page 3, I’m usually back to my old self.
I’d like to believe that I’ll start the practice again, but that would involve getting up at the crack, which would involve going to bed early, which would involve sacrificing all the great winter tele out there, which I use to anaesthetise myself after a long day. Perhaps it’s time to create new habits. Or maybe I’ll just start by getting through this next month of posts, eh? One step at a time, soldier.
I chose one morning at random to share with you. Because why write morning pages if you can’t suddenly use them when you’ve run out of inspiration by day 5 of Nablopomo?
March 10, 2016
First nappy of the day changed, coffee poured in my favourite mug, the one with Rise and Shine Brooklyn and a red rooster on it, the one that desperately makes me want to go back to New York, the one that takes me back to those ten days in 2010. Pears poaching on the stovetop, sun up, hidden somewhere under a thick blanket of grey. One eye on the kid, who is determined to either poison herself or choke on any one of the hundred things that she can get her hands on and insists on tasting. This morning, a bay leaf. Must have fallen out of its jar when I made cottage pie last night.
I had the most unsettling dream last night. I was grateful for Wren’s 2am cries, for waking me from what was to come next.
I was walking down a muddy path in some nature reserve. I’m not sure if I was on my own or if I’d left someone behind further down the path. I was heading towards the park’s exit when hundreds of rebel soldiers walked towards me. They all looked rather menacing. They ignored me but I sensed that I was their target. One of them blew a tiny arrow into my neck. It had small, downy, white feathers attached to it. I was able to pull it out, like a splinter. I don’t know if it was meant to sedate or kill me. I carried on and made it to a room with a bed low off the ground. I crawled under it and wanted to open my laptop to ask for help but I was petrified someone might come in and find me. I stayed hidden until I realised that someone I knew, someone I loved was in the bed above me. I reached up. I lay beside him. His mind was gone, he didn’t recognise me. I drew him in close. I knew we were going to die. And then I woke up.
The pears are poached, the flame is off, the little dumpling has been moved to the front of her clothes cupboard where she can explore to her heart’s content — nothing to spill or break or choke on. Joe is sick in bed, in a pool of sweat. Wren has suddenly discovered that she can close the cabinet door. Play time is over. She sneezes, I say the usual Gesuuundheit, she things it’s funny. It never fails.
Two pages in. Two pages and I start to feel twitchy, to run out of steam and ideas, to think about my to-do list and how old and long and wrinkled my face feels, like an apple left to ripen in the basket a little too long. A fossil.
I had my photograph taken by a student from Ireland yesterday. Why do I feel so uncomfortable in front of the camera? I need to be directed, told what to do, look here and lift your chin and tilt your head. Smile, don’t smile. And silent moments that I feel the need to fill. I’m curious to see what shows up when she places the paper in the developing liquid, me appearing like a ghost in black and white. Those little pockets on each side of my mouth. What are they? Not cheeks. Below the cheeks. The place that would store my dimples if I had them. The small scallops that make me look like dad. He had those too and all the wrinkles leading up to them, like big brackets around his mouth. Bracket: used to enclose words so as to separate them from the context.
What’s in your mouth, Wren? A lotto ticket, Kleenex, a 10p coin.