Stars and Cats

Good Morning Everyone.

I had my alarm set for 4am this morning. The plan was to get up an hour early and get some writing work done before I had to start the get-the-kids-ready-for-school-Samba. I only pushed the snooze button three times. Then Panda came into my room, sat on my chest and proceeded to give me sandpaper purring kitty kisses until I got up to feed her.

Panda
Panda

She was being sweet this morning. Usually she sits on the night stand and knocks everything off, one item at a time, until I get up. It goes something like: swipe, thump. Book falls in floor and Panda glances over for a reaction from the human. Swipe, thump. Second book and a hair tie meet the ground. Still no reaction from the human feeding unit. Swipe, rattle-rattle, glasses get close to the edge and the human jumps up…

 Anyway, I got up early to write and feed the cats. So, after feeding the cats, I sat down at my computer with a cup of coffee and stared at the screen for awhile. My eyes roamed over the bookmarks toolbar at the top of my screen, looking for inspiration, and found a link to something about the Night Sky.  I remembered there was supposed to be a meteor shower this month. I couldn’t remember the dates but since I had time and it was still dark, I decided to go spend some quality time star gazing.

The thing is I live in a suburb. When I was a kid and lived in the country the sky stretched spaceout in every direction, a dark cloak scattered with fiery diamonds and imagination. Now, once I turned off all the lights in the house, there is like a scrap of real night above my house that fades at the edges as the light pollution from other houses and street lights reach out to blur the beauty. If the night sky of my childhood was a diamond studded cloak, then the one I have now is a stained version in a second hand shop made with cheep rhinestones that have mostly fallen off.

Still, I laid down on the back porch and gazed up at what I could see. I opened all of my senses and took in the smell of recently cut grass and the sound of a train whistle. I felt the chill from the boards under my back seeping past my shirt and I watched my small window patch of sky. I felt recharged and more awake than the coffee could account for. Then my neighbor’s air conditioning unit kicked on at the same time one of the cats stuck his nose in my ear and I managed to levitate off of the porch.

I had left the back door cracked open so that if the kids woke up I would hear them. The cats had apparently saw that as an invitation to follow me.  Even the blind one, Max. I had three furry faces gathered around me on the porch, trying to figure out just what I thought I was doing. Laughing at myself, I gathered up Max and went back inside. I sat back down on the computer and I wrote.  Good Morning…

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Daydreaming

The importance of daydreams has once again come to my attention.  With everything being so busy lately, daydreaming is something I’ve not done much of and my writing has suffered for it. 

I don’t usually write out lines for my books or stories.  I have done it before, but it is usually the exception rather than the rule.  My plotting and planning usually all take place in my head with out me having to make much of an effort.  Daydreams are where my ideas usually take shape.  Those random moments of staring off into space thinking “What if…” are where my stories take their first breath.

No daydreaming means very few new ideas.  Imagine a bleak landscape charred and blacken by fire.  The ground cracked and dry from lack of moisture.  Heavy clouds darken the sky and thunder threatens but no rain falls to quench the very palatable thirst that hangs in the air.  That is how my creativity has felt lately. (Obviously I have made that first step toward hydration, otherwise I could not have just described how I’ve been feeling.)

Last night I sat on the steps and stared at the stars. (As you have probably deduced, this is a favorite past time of mine whenever I get the chance.)  It always seems to refresh that inner well that I reach for when I write.  Mostly because the night sky has always inspired a since of awe in me.  Clear nights are wide open possibilities.  Hundreds of thousands of stars that are out of my reach but still within my sight.  I look up and I dream.
And eventually those dreams fall like shooting stars onto paper, in words that others can (hopefully) understand, so that they may dream too.

Waking up late and quiet inspiration

I am having difficulties waking up this morning.  I now hold in my hands a hot cup of Earl Grey that I hope will do the trick.  I have to return to my night job tonight so sleeping in is not such a bad thing, except I write best in the mornings.  (The definition of morning for me is two hours before I would normally get up.  The actual time of day doesn’t really matter since I have such a strange work schedule. Morning usually arrives at five o’clock.)

I stayed up into the wee hours last night with the kids.  I set up my daughter’s telescope and let them stare at the moon for a little while.  They quickly grew bored and went back inside but I remained in the back yard (sitting in the grass I really need to mow) gazing at the sky.

Growing up in the middle of nowhere, I used to do this a lot as a kid. My brother and I would sit outside for hours just starring at the sky.  When we went to visit my grandmother during the Summer (who also lived in the middle of nowhere, just in Florida) we would climb onto the roof of my grandfathers workshop and star gazed from there.  (We always got in trouble for being up there but that never stopped us.)

I realized last night how long it’s been since I last sat outside and dreamed about those pin pricks of diamond light.  Looking up into the night makes you realize how small you are and how unique. Taking a deep breath of air, smelling the damp grass, and listening to the crickets I let myself let go of all I logically know about space. (Which honestly is limited to what I learned in school, from the Discovery Channel, and a few books.)

I let myself dream like I did when I was a kid who watched Star Wars with my dad and carried the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy around in the pocket of my coat.  I left myself open to all the possibilities, real and imagined, until I was filled to the brim with magic.  The night sky is a big and amazing thing.  It was nice to remember that, to feel awe at how tiny we really are, and how far the possibilities can stretch.

I am glad I am a writer, because for me all of those possibilities can become real, even if it is only on a page. And if I write well enough, then one day maybe they will become real for someone who reads them.