Simone de Beauvoir said, “I’m always in a hurry to get going, though in general I dislike starting the day.” I know what she means. The alarm, shutting it off, opening my eyes, feet on floor, body up, teeth, face, eye drops, vitamins, breakfast, email, calendar… When do I get to write?
On my blogroll, there’s been a link to Mason Currey’s Daily Routines for years. And in 2013 the blog became a book–Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. The book itself is small with a great cover and nice pages. Currey includes the work routines of 161 artists–writers, musicians, architects, painters… He includes excerpts from the artists themselves, as well as from other sources, and Currey’s writing is a pleasure to read.
Currently I’m reclining on the pulled-out sofa where I stay in Provincetown. There’s no desk. Voltaire also liked to work in bed. Soren Kierkegaard’s day was dominated by two pursuits: writing and walking.” Which is the way my days are going at the moment.
When he was 47, Carl Jung bought some land in Bollingen, Switzerland, and built a house there. He said, “At Bollingen, I am in the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself.” Which these days is how I feel about Provincetown.
Toni Morrison’s morning routine is to wake around 5:00, make coffee, and “watch the light come.”
Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.
Balzac said, The days melt in my hands like ice in the sun.”
How we spend our days is endlessly fascinating, and I could go on and on. But just as Currey does, I will leave you with this from Bernard Malamud, “There’s no one way… The real mystery to crack is you.”