On Early Mornings

Partially-decorated tree: sort of like my partially-written book.

Currently, I’m sitting next to a half-decorated, lit-up Christmas tree. We lost steam with decorating yesterday (and I fell into a turkey coma), so our ornaments are strewn around with a couple of empty wine glasses and wads of crumpled tissue paper. There’s a magazine and a book under there somewhere. That mess seems to perfectly reflect my writing life at the moment. The projects I’m in the midst of – grading papers, writing lesson plans, planning a wedding – are strewn about. Somewhere under all of it is my writing.

These days, 5:45am is my new normal. Amanda heads out the door by then, and usually, I can’t go back to sleep. And sometimes, I don’t want to. I have found I like the quiet of early morning. The neighborhood is peaceful except for a few cars headed to work. Kids are still in their houses, where I feel sure their mothers are fighting with them to get out of bed before they’re late to school. Otis gets up with me, demands his treats, and then finds a place near me to curl up.

See? A mess.

These days, my early mornings are given over to grading. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t have something to grade. But that will end soon as I have only two weeks left in the semester. And then, my early mornings will go back to being focused on writing my book.

I look forward to when the semester is over so I can put the grading away. I can set aside the wedding business for periods of time. I can claim my early mornings for me and my work, and I can return to the characters I’ve invested so much time and thought and feeling in. Babies have to be born! Romances have to bud! A woman has to find a new lease on life! I can’t orchestrate all that with this mess to contend with.


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