Monday morning alarm - 5:15 am. My eyes don’t work for the first few seconds. I roll out of bed trying not to fully wake my wife. I stumble into the kitchen and put on a pot of tea. Turn into the dining room, which is currently doubling as my office. Since the kid was born over two years ago I lost my desk, my office, a room where I could scatter my books, post notes on the wall, and stare out a window that framed the day.
It is in this 5 o’clock hour - the sun still down - the house still quiet - where I sip my tea and page through the books stacked on our dining room table. I open up a Google document containing my most recent drafts, currently housed within a folder titled West of Whatever.
A few notebooks by my side, mostly holding some imagery, overheard conversations, scraps of language that could, maybe one day, be electric. My first sip of tea announces to my body that I am awake. I often have a calming thought that the world may still be asleep. But I have to move. I usually have an hour and a half, maybe two hours of silence, of time without the kid asking to help with her princess shoes, the making of the lunch, the brushing of teeth, fighting over what color underwear today most feels like.
Each of those mornings I try to fill a page. Some days a page is ten lines. Other days it’s a sprawling paragraph that wants to become a story. A page a day seems like a sort of an accomplishment. And later works as a skeleton I can examine and reexamine. Something I can turn back to.
My writing day, I believe, doesn’t really stop. It shifts in form. The rest of the day I write through observation, which means I may not write anything at all, I may just watch and listen. Live as an observer.
Though, it is the morning routine, those wee hours of the day, where most of my work is generated. And I see it as sacred. It’s a space I fight to get to every day. A space where I’ve learned to love the act of failure and the ongoing struggle to write a sentence that makes my ears smile.
Noah Falck is the author of the poetry collections Snowmen Losing Weight (BatCat Press, 2012) and Exclusions (Tupelo Press, 2019), and the co-editor of My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVOX Books, 2017). He works as education director at the not-for-profit Just Buffalo Literary Center and curates the Silo City Reading Series, a multimedia poetry series inside a 130-foot abandoned grain silo.