Morning Pages As Metaphor

First of May. Wet and rainy. This morning was cold. I woke early listening to the rain, trying to resist the call of my bladder. I lost that battle. Downstairs I pet the cat, told her she had to wait for food, disappointing her once again. I took pen and phone to the basement though lately I wonder why I bring the phone. I'm not listening to music as I write, preferring forty-five minutes of quiet. My life feels too noisy. I need some solitude.

I wrote the date and page number on each of the three pages and wrote that it was cold. Writing flowed from there, but distracting thoughts kept intruding. I thought of one thing I had to do today, then another, then another until it was as though I were trying to write one line of thought while screaming and having a seizure.

Rather than give up, I switched to writing the panic and anxiety. Then I wrote this one word: breathe. I stopped the pen, closed my eyes, breathed in deeply, held it, and exhaled. I went back to writing.

At some point I thought of how many lines I fill every morning. Three pages of thirty-one lines each. Ninety-three blank lines. I can write only one line at a time and when there are ninety-two to go, it can feel daunting. But if I write about it soon there are only eighty-three lines to go, then sixty-one, thirty, and half a dozen.

Morning Pages take me forty-five minutes most days. Once in a while I get distracted and they take an hour. Then there are times I wake late and have to rush through in half an hour. Whatever the case, it's one line at a time, one word after another, one page, two pages, and then three pages. There's no other way other than to give up. I've come so far that I don't want to break the streak. I keep going.

There are lessons about writing to be gleaned from doing Morning Pages, but the more important things have to do with living. I don't know all those lessons. I'm still learning. But these few come to mind: Do one thing, breathe, and do another. Fill one line at a time and understand that ninety-three lines only seems like a lot. Turn each page over and move to the next one. Don't stop until they are all finished. Remember to keep the hand, arm, neck, and body loose. Stop to pet the cat when she visits. Listen to the sound of the pen on the page.

One more thing thing I'm learning: it's going to be okay.

I finished my pages. I breathed that in. Then I moved on to the next thing. Tomorrow I'll fill three more pages. This is all there is to it. This is a life.