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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Time on My Side

This is my forty-third piece in Middle Passages, and I still don’t know why the blog clock is wrong. Each time I complete a post, a display appears indicating when the document “went live.” Every day the time revealed is over three hours before I actually clicked “Publish Post.” And for those technicians out there, I write each essay in Word and copy it before opening Blogger and pasting it in. I considered not confessing this inaccuracy to you readers. (I do have readers, right? Anyone want to comment to assure me you are out there?) Then you would continue to assume that I possess the fortitude and dedication to thrive as a pre-dawn writer. Honesty though, is one of my attributes I guess, in spite of the fact that sometimes it feels more like a fault.

Anyway, for my own amusement, I took a little survey through the last forty-two entries and discovered that if you believe the clock, on at least eight days in the last six weeks I posted before sun-up. If you figure that it takes me close to three hours to write and edit one of these pieces and factor in that for the most part I have been crafting them in the winter when the sun comes up late, according to Blogger some days I must have started writing at 3:00 a.m. Has anyone been in my house at 3:00 a.m.? We control our thermostat with an automatic timer set to fifty-five degrees overnight. For those of you not living in New England, let me assure you that fifty-five in the middle of the winter feels like zero and no matter how many layers I may have considered wrapping myself in, the hands at the keyboard would have been rock hard ice.

Clearly I am not a fan of middle of the night cold, but to give myself some credit, I possess morning tendencies and do arrive at the computer around 7:30 most days. On Saturdays, since there are no lunches to make, I can get there earlier, but in the winter, I am inclined to grant myself at least an extra hour to snooze beyond my normal 5:45 alarm. However, if you believe what you read, my earliest posts occured on each successive Saturday. For example, according to Blogger on February 14th I finished writing and posted Middle Passages at 5:33 a.m. That would have entailed a wake up time of about 2:45 to write. I have this picture of me swaddled in the olive-green down comforter tugged from our bed (sorry Tim) dressed in baggy sweats, floppy wool socks and my LLBean suede slippers, tiptoeing down our narrow hallway to the paneled family room. The cat, optimistically sleeping above a cold radiator on the back of the navy couch, arches her back and gives me a “you have got to be kidding” look as I switch on the recessed lights.

Perhaps however, this image is not so far-fetched. Pen on Fire author Barbara DeMarco-Barret tells me that any writer can find fifteen minutes to practice her craft. Reading her book this week has offered me some acceptance that even when I have to give up this luxury of plentiful writing time to get back to paying work, I’ll be capable of fitting it in.

With some help from an old coworker, I have committed to myself that I will. We had company coming last week, so I finally consolidated the two boxes from my former office and shoved the remaining container from the dining room to the living room. Someday I’ll decide what to do with the contents. While picking through though, I discovered the brown 8”x11” envelope that holds the detritus of my old bulletin board. There are pictures of flowers drawn by my toddler daughter, a birth announcement for someone who had to wait a long time and a photo of a little girl from New York whose mother is my inspiration. Inside that packet, typed in bold Ariel print on plain white paper rests a quote by George Eliot that this aforementioned coworker sent me before he left the company for a career as a stay-at-home dad. It goes like this: “It is never too late to become who you might have been.”

Maybe, when I do get back to work I’ll purchase a heavy wool sweater and thermal sweats and set my alarm for 3:00.

Fingerless gloves, anyone?

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