2:40 p.m. Things are all shiny and clean on the surface, which might be all that matters in the long run. I've been a teeny bit late in getting to this entry today because I had a little cleaning to do first. Ahem. House cleaning. I sort of, kind of, tended to let things go a little slack around the edges while I've been working on this site, reading email, rearranging my books, musing on the state of the universe and so forth and so on.
So, in addition to being married to Igor, who is, I might add, the sloppiest human being on the face of the earth, I am also married to this computer, and to the work that I do on it. The house? I am wife to the house only when company's coming. Otherwise, this place has nice cozy sort of Miss Havisham look to it.
So, in a furious burst of Fantastic cleaning legerdemain, I took one quick sip of coffee this morning and then raced through the place vacuuming and swiping and covering stuff up. After about an hour and a half of rubbing at spots, I realized that I'd merely followed Igor's trail from the kitchen to the TV to the office through the bathroom and then back to the kitchen again.
He has many endearing qualities.
And because the moon is tilted obliquely to the horizon -- just so -- and because today is the feast of St. Cloud, I'll let it slide; let's just say I spent the morning getting some exercise and now the house looks better.
The writing, however, has suffered.
You see, if there's one thing I've learned in all these years, it's that there is one (and only one) sweet, strong spot in the day when my brain is working at its gerbil-spinning peak. It's the only time, really, to do the hamster dance, and if I waste those hours on something else, like cleaning, there will be no writing for the day.
I used to think I had to write any time, all the time, or I was a failure. I used to think I would think clearly all the livelong day, so why not get the mail and the groceries out of the way first, sort of warm up the old corpuscles, before getting down to the hard work? Doesn't work for me, I'm here to tell you. Today's entry: living proof.
I've been able to get a lot more "day" out of the day by taking a nap, usually during the dinner hours, and then working through the night, but the work I can accomplish in the night is always of the second-shift sort. Competent, but dull. Efficient, but uninspired. How about we file some papers? Pour some text? Clean up some photo edges?
The big problem-solving eureka! moments only come when I first wake up, in the morning, after a little bit of coffee. It's only then that I can rule the world. Last night I was reading a nice essay by Loren Eiseley called "The Long Loneliness." He was talking about the different kinds of intelligences found on the earth, and specifically the differences between the bottle-nose porpoise and the human brains.
A concept that I usually take for granted stopped me cold when he put it this way:
"Primitives of our own species, even today, are historically shallow in their knowledge of the past. Only the poet who writes speaks his message across the millennia to other hearts. Only in writing can the cry from the great cross on Golgotha still be heard in the minds of men."
You see that? Mom? A poet's house is a messy one. I'm whispering across the millennia here. Don't have time for the niceties. Busy, busy. Now, if I'd written these words in the soft yellow yolk of the morning, I'd only have to go over them once, easy ... instead of mushing around with this hard, rubbery mumbly crumble. It's hard.
Look, every day can't be a hollandaise.
I'll get up extra early and do much better tomorrow, I promise.
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