The day begins with two crows streaming across my 6th story windows. Across a dull, Southern California sky. The marrow of a Monday morning. I wish I could say that I kept going. That I wrote a stunning, lyrical line. I am on winter break and have time away from teaching. My husband and I walk our dog to Starbucks for our morning coffees. We take Dexter inside and no one cares. He noses at the barrel of stuffed teddy bears. On sale. I toy with the idea of getting him one, but know he would ruin it within a 30 second time frame. It has happened before, dismembered stuffing and thread.
I return. And sit at the wooden table that once belonged to my grandparents. I have not yet begun. I am interrupted by thoughts of. I am not. No. By thoughts of doubt. Seeping in. I am a wall of static. A compost of fragments, unhinging.
For some reason, I have three notebooks going at once. Reason is overrated. I try to move forward. Even my succulents have died. I look around to locate myself. Disarray. Is this the lesson? I take notes on my perimeter: raw light, rock salt lamp, ghosts in wooden frames, blue slate window trim, a framed black and white drawing I did in high school. Refraction. Serrations of time. I become brittle with coffee. I randomly open my nearest notebook: Do not drink whiskey with a man who cannot swim.
Here I am drifting. I reach for the closest book, What Replaces Us When We Go by Julie Doxee. I just mistyped “go” as “god.” Replacements are never subtle. I open to page 35 and continue: “In the practice peephole a memory shook.” I replace a memory with time. And try to keep going. Within splintering moments. The wall, a graph of clouds. Did I eat today? This is not how this day was supposed to happen.
I weave between reading and writing. For a time. Beneath winter. I scrape together the small phrases at the back of my throat. I am a slow writer. It’s ok to be slow. I write: We hover above the unbreaking waves on hooks of air. The sea becomes us.
I pace, then put on some music: Widowspeak. The lyrics reveal: “I start looking for you…” Distraction. Temporality. I tweet a joke about Sex and The City. I consider texting a friend. Between isolation and oscillation. I stop. I am burdened with hunger.
I try to move on. I burrow into this moment and breathe deep. There are white hydrangeas dying and limp in a short vase on the table. I should throw them away but don’t. I have written exactly two sentences. I sit here in the pause.
Heather Sweeney lives in San Diego where she writes, does visual art, and teaches yoga. Heather also does one-on-one Consciousness Coaching. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Hunger, La Vague, Porridge, Moonchild, Bad Pony, Shanti, Bombay Gin, Summer Stock, and Dusie. You can also find her at: http://theshineblog.com/