The clock and the blank page

9618813864_a71f78f1a5_zOver at I Miss You When I Blink, Mary Laura Philpott wrote a great piece: What I’ve Learned From 28 Brilliant Creators.

When I first stumbled upon the post, this is how observant I was–“This is such a cool piece! Who is Mary Laura Philpott? Why am I not reading more of her?” So I looked her up. Her work is featured regularly in major media, and she’s the creator, illustrator of Penguins With People Problems. Her essay Lobsterman has been nominated for the Pushcart prize.

I’m kind of oblivious in that way–who are you again? It’s kind of like this past Easter when we were invited to my daughter’s boyfriend’s home for lunch. Her boyfriend tried to impress me by carrying around a Jack Kerouac coffee mug. Did I notice? Nope. Had to be told about it way after the fact.

Anyway, what really intrigued me about Philpott’s piece was Ed Tarkington’s response concerning pre-dawn hours: “It helps to stand outside in the cold for a few minutes or light a cigarette,” and I thought, THAT IS ME!
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Always a struggle to find material for this blog, which in many ways very recently, has seemingly taken over my life. I decided I should personally respond to what Philpott cultivated from these 28 creators.

We discussed in my oral communications course last week about my favorite part of the day. The alarm jars me out of bed. I slam down my hand hard on the clock to shut off the buzzer so as not to wake my wife. Though at this point, Mary sleeps through the alarm, has gotten used to my pre-dawn excursions. I put on clothes that I wore yesterday, because that is the easiest–they had been left on the floor the night before, and I don’t have to rummage through the dresser, which would require putting on a light and making more noise.

Let the wife sleep. She works hard. She deserves the sleep.

I stumble to the door, open it, and there is the cat at my feet, and I trip over her a couple of times at least. I really have to go pee, so that is the next thing I do, and no matter how quickly I try to shut the bathroom door, the cat follows me in. Watches me. Like some kind of pervert, and what the heck because it’s not like I follow her to the litter box and watch her do her business.

I make coffee. Feed the cat so she stops getting underneath my feet, which only works for so long because after she’s done eating, she finds her way to my feet again, purring like some kind of motor. I pour myself a small glass of orange juice. I drink half of it.

Find a coat. Go outside, and Mr. Tarkington, I’ve joined you for that early morning the sun is still not up cigarette. I go back inside. The coffee is ready, and over that first cup I peruse email and Facebook. I tweet about my coffee.

Then I begin. At the kitchen table. The only sound: the clock and the blank page.

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What techniques do you use in your own life to cultivate creativity?
And hey, stick around. Wednesday: I explore Jane Smiley and not worrying so much about stuff.

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One thought on “The clock and the blank page

  1. Pingback: Scribbling Words | stevebargdill

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