I woke up tight on Thursday.
I’ve been reading some books on writing, which may not be the best idea. Reading about how to approach the writing process right after you’ve finished a first draft creates as much neurosis as progress. Oh, hell, THAT’S how much I should be cutting out? Plus, while King (On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft) and Lamott (Bird by Bird) have been inspirational, there are notable chunks of their advice that I find laughable. Which is a fine pedestal to sit on, the unpublished novelist looking down his nose at one of the most prolific, profitable and vivid writers of the last century, but that’s how I roll.
So while my new contacts bug me and the Red Line stops and starts due to delays at Charles/MGH and I fret over the logistical nightmares of the two different shows I’m planning in April, I’m reading the following by Anne Lamott:
You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on you own side. You need to trust yourself, especially on a first draft, where amid the anxiety and self-doubt, there should be a real sense of your imagination and you memories walking and woolgathering, tramping the hills, romping all over the place. Trust them. Don’t look at your feet to see if you’re doing it right. Just dance.
And as positive as that is, all I can think is oh, whatever, hippie.
The train emerges from the underground, crossing the Longfellow Bridge. It screeches to a halt midway across. I look up.
I take this route to work every day. It’s always an interesting view, but it’s rarely striking. Something about the two bright tones, blue over white, caught me while we stopped. I closed the book on Lamott. Getting up out of my seat, I crossed to a window and snapped the picture you see above.
At the office, I mixed myself a cup of hot cocoa. This is an easy ritual: you pour seven ounces of skim milk into a mug. Heat it in the microwave for ninety seconds. Lift it out by the handle, not the mug; you curl two fingers around the ring and base it against your third finger. Set the mug on the counter, open a packet of cocoa mix and pour it in. Take three coffee stirrers and fan them so they form a sort of whisk. Mix the cocoa with a brisk, steady motion.
I let the cocoa cool while I got breakfast from downstairs: two eggs, two bacon. The eggs were about what I expect from cafeteria eggs: a little dry but otherwise filling. But the bacon was perfect. It crunched at the edges, releasing little jags of caramel, and the center melted with fat.
So: the Boston skyline, hot cocoa and bacon. Okay then.