I wake in the night--or what my mother calls “the wee hours of the morning”--and find myself writing a blog post in my head. The blog has become my confessional, although there is so much that I never say in it. It has become an obsession. It is photo album, memory book, diary, reading record, a place to think through ideas and issues. Through it I escape the bounds of time and space. In it I am free. Mine will never be a “blog of note,” with thousands of readers, but even so it has more daily readers than my bookstore has customers, and so I turn from the anxiety of bookselling to the comforts of the blogging.
Other times I wake with fictional characters in my head. Perhaps they are thinking silent thoughts (I hear them) or talking to each other (I hear them), or maybe they’re going about their working lives, striving and stumbling along the way (I see them and feel for them). In my imagining mind they are very real. I can only see a few minutes ahead in their lives until I sit down and begin writing, and then those lives unroll. Their struggles are real to me, but they are not my struggles, and so with them, writing their lives, I am free.
Too often I come awake in a wash of pointless worry, swamped before dawn with awareness of crises, personal and global, present and impending. David beside me, Sarah at our feet, I am not even there in the warm refuge of bed but scrabbling to keep my hold on some cold, treacherous mountainside, my feet slipping and rocks tumbling all about me, or on Linda Ronstadt’s “heart like a wheel,” that little “boat out on mid-ocean,” about to capsize in a storm.
Is it too early to get up and turn on lights and make coffee and pull out lines of visible words from the chaos and confusion in my head?