It is 6:00 am in Baton Rouge. I woke up a half hour ago, an hour before my alarm was set to go off. And even that allowed for another half hour of the snooze-button dance, staving off the persistent, droning alarm tone for a few minutes at a time until I have to get up. In fact, it is now still an hour before I have to get moving and even that is about an hour or two before I like to get out of bed. It is still dark outside. I am not a morning person.
However, it doesn’t matter when I prefer to get up, whether or not I am a fully functional human in the pre-dawn hours or what kind of temporal person I am. I wake up early when I have to; not every job or every day is tailor made to fit my sleep preferences. I think that God must have created coffee for this very reason. Now wide awake with the first cup down, my alarm set to go off soon, I find myself doing something I haven’t really done in a long time – write. Not just write, not just the mechanical, required, “part of my job” writing I do all the time, but rather the brand of writing that comes with inconvenience, at the oddest of times, often in the predawn hours, and for no apparent reason.
I think I’ve always been a writer. Not defined as “one who writes,” but rather in a much more expressive sense, in a more instinctual, or genetic sense, or in terms of “God-given” talent (for those so inclined). I mean, even if the alphabet and written language did not exist, I would still be a “writer” in much the same way musicians are always musicians and painters are always painters and sculptors are always sculptors and actors are always actors and any number of other artists are always artists – that art is embedded within each of us and externally expressed somehow, someway, eventually. It was many, many years before the writer made himself present and irrefutable. Maybe it needed to be that way; maybe he needed more to write about.
I used to do this more often. I used to give the writer free reign to weave together whatever words came to him, to write “straight out of my head,” so to speak. It happened whenever it happened and it was not uncommon to find me in my darkened office when the rest of the world was asleep, lit only by the glow of my computer screen. Then life got busy. Those moments of free, unrestricted and uninterrupted inspiration seemed to slip away. Even the moments such as the one I am in at this very moment were not taken as the opportunities they were – as moments of escape, of literary freedom. Actually, it’s is even more than that. It is pure, unadulterated, unmediated, unconstrained, unadorned, pure freedom. But it will not last much longer.
March 11, 2014, a Tuesday this year, is about to begin. This semester, Tuesday is one of my two “early days” every week - it usually requires an alarm to be sure I get up in time. However, this morning the calling to begin my day was quieter, earlier and much more insistent. This morning I could not ignore the writer. He hasn’t written in a while. He would wait no longer.