Friday, September 15, 2006

Morning pages

If I was really clever, I'd have a little tune starting up now, so that as you read this the strains of

'..Yellow is the color of my true love's hair
In the morning, when we rise
In the morning, when we rise
That's the time
(That's the time)
That's the time
(That's the time)
I love the best...'

- because I woke at half six with the dawn and had a whole hour and a half of just me and the milkmen. Somehow it feels like at that hour everything is much clearer.

Last night we went to an auction, deep in the Southside of Glasgow. Such a strange world. Boxes of junk, chandeliers, dealers, wardrobes, china, dust and the smell of smoke and booze from the crowd. The rising anticipation, the fast patter. It's almost a sport. There were people there (old ladies, mostly) who weren't buying anything. Just going for the thrill.

I loved the back and forth volleys, the competition of bidding. The strip lighting, the shed full of people all brightly lit and various.

But part of me felt like a traitor, and it's something I feel often these days. Like a spy. I'm out in the world, not participating, just watching. Storing images for later use. Gleaning information. The back and forth of books - I walked across the muddy parking lot and think: 'this is just like Peter Carey's first novel, the one with the angel'. Every experience is framed by the books I've read. Did I say read? I mean, devoured, swallowed, swam in, injected.

And I saw the pink/orange sky behind the red tin roof, and tried to work out how I'd write it. How I'd describe the people in the shed. Sometimes I think books are an affliction. Once trapped inside them, you see the whole world through a prism of words.

Until the morning, when you wake up warm and slow. The words have turned to dreams overnight, and are renewed.


Miss Syl said...

I think this is a "condition" specific to writers. Hard-wired for observation, the habit becomes an overwhelming compulsion, to the point at which we are observing even ourselves observing. It makes it very hard to live in any moment, because part you is always on the outside, even of yourself.

Something of a curse, because you end up always being the outsider on some level--even to yourself, if you're not careful about it. But also a blessing, because without people who have this unique characteristic, we'd never have anyone who could take the intangible and get it down in words for others to experience in their own, less omniscient imaginiations.

That last paragraph of yours, for instance. You let people *feel* where you're at, in that moment, mentally, sensually, everything. Very prettily done.

Hm. Unlike you, mornings do not become me. I'm amazed I could get out that many words, having just woken up. I think better at night.

Saskia Walker said...

Writers are like magpies, collecting shiny things :)

I just saw your amazon profile, love the picture! ;) I showed it to my man and he said he was sure he'd seen you in our bath the other day. :)

Nikki said...

Miss Syl - yes, I do believe it's the fastest way to drive yourself mental. I wonder what goes on in Paul Auster's mind, when he's writing a story about a writer writing a story about a writer...

Saskia - Oh boy. I'd hoped nobody would see that! I never did really work out how to make the Connect thing happen properly, but at least I've managed to broadcast a wholly dreadful picture of self to world. Sigh.