Grading: done. Workshop assignments: read. Cormac McCarthy: also read. Awake and moving at 8:00 a.m., nowhere to be until 2:00, this is a day to start writing early.

I’ve never been able to. Seems like everyone I know who ever gets anything done does it in the morning. Particularly book-length stuff. The first draft of my novel almost never allowed me a missed midnight. I’d get rolling on it by 2:00 in the afternoon, stop to eat after three or four hours, then mentally meander for an hour, then get back into the novel by seven or eight, and then I’d shut down whatever coffee shop I was at. I did this for about a month, the last time I moved to Texas, before school started. Then school, and I learned quickly why everyone else chose to write in the morning: the hours of 2:00-10:00 were ordinarily occupied by the class I was assisting and the classes I was taking, and if I were lucky I could get some writing in somewhere before they closed.

Well I’m home now. I don’t need a coffee shop, or anyway there isn’t one where I am right now, but there is coffee and a comfortable seat, there is a tinny speaker playing all the hipster music I could steal from the library. There is a September morning in Texas, with overcast skies which would hint at rain in Ohio but here only mean that when the sun does come out it’ll your ass twice as hard. There are curtains separating me from the sidewalk passers, so half-clothed I can sit here in the creamy beige light that does pass through. There is a computer here with keys for my fingers to taptaptap until they feel warm enough to sing, do re mi, this is what they are doing now, running through scales, fa so la, trying to clear their throat.

Ti do.

Just when I think I’m going to like an Animal Collective song it sounds like the record player gets stuck. And on the most annoying part. Pity.

Let’s try a writing exercise I just made up right now, it’s called write a number then a noun, go.

One cup.

Two girls.

Three birds.

Four words.

Five fingers.

Six letter(s).


Eight notes.

Well that was worthless. All writing exercises are stupid. If they ever result in something great it’s only something great you were going to write anyway, not some new piece of magic, there is no new magic, there are no new spells to cast, there is only the wand in your pocket and whether or not you wave it.

I’m still working my way through the Harry Potters, over breakfast and bedtime. All right. Fiction, then. Let’s do this, morning, let’s see what you’ve got.