My Quotidian Mornings

I start waking up in the hour before I plan to squirm out from under the covers and on to the cold floor, raising my head and glancing down at the clock radio every five or ten minutes.  As my head returns to the pillow I drift back into whatever dream I had left to do my time check.

The early morning hours are the most precious to me as the rest of the family sleeps, the furnace hums and the radio plays, quietly keeping me company courtesy of one of those Bose Wave units that I picked up on eBay.  In recent days, I've described this time as "my personal practice" when I go through my social media world followed by a comprehensive gleaning of the Fort McMurray Today, our local daily newspaper that I get digitally.

My younger son Ben is a lot like me, as I hear him yawn in the background - his bedroom is directly adjacent to my walk-in closet/home office - starting to get ready to wrap his body in a blanket and come into my space for his morning hug.  Soon, he'll be of a size and temperament where these early morning connections will become a thing of the past.  With that in mind, and the warmth that he provides when he crawls up on my knees and settles in, I look forward to this brief encounter and miss it desperately when it doesn't happen.

I usually don't make my coffee until after my first initial sweep through Twitter and Facebook, often waiting until I launch into writing a blog, an activity that requires sustained attention.  Coffee and attention go together in my quotidian life.

When I'm ready to dive into whatever creative pursuit I've decided on for the morning, I silently meander to the kitchen to boil water, clean out the Bodum from the day before, and add four tablespoons of whatever blend we have in the house.  We moved away from the traditional coffee maker about a year ago and I can't thank my wife enough for facilitating this leap.  Not only does the brew taste better, but using this method limits me to two cups, which is just right.

Coffee in hand - two packets of Splenda (no sugar anymore for this guy) with a splash of vanilla flavoured soy beverage - I settle back into my chair and begin.

The thoughts, ideas, words and phrases pour out effortlessly in the moments before the sun begins to stretch its arms up and over the horizon of the Clearwater River valley which I can partially see out the window and between a couple of houses in our downtown neighborhood.  This is my time, unencumbered, free-flowing.

Second cup of coffee - two packets of Splenda with a splash of vanilla flavoured soy beverage - I settle in for the final leg of my early morning literary dash.

I typically start at the beginning, with a title and an opening sentence, a vague sense of the arc and the conclusion lying murky in the fog.  I've learned that the story will write itself if I trust the process, the thread appearing out of nowhere to weave together the patches.  And like a thunderclap in a cloudless sky, an ending will reveal itself and I will make a rush to the finish.

A few more sips of coffee, a couple trips through the piece to check for spelling, grammar and punctuation, and I press publish, sending that day's writing into the world.  One final check of the finished product online, additional improvements and corrections made, I press update, as Ben slides into the room, his tiny blond head popping up over his soft green blanket wrapped tightly.  I spin my chair as he hops aboard to warm me up and officially kick off the next phase of my day.

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