Beyond my window,
birds chaunt. They sing at dawn. They sing at dusk. They likewise sing when no
more than the stars and the moon illuminate the sky. Especially during the
warmest months, the aural output of those mostly nocturnal chorales brightens
Sometimes, I, too,
warble at night. I trill in sentences and chirrup in whole paragraphs. My
piping covers pages. Intermittently, my quavering even stretches to entire
usually, I experience the act of crafting literature as a time of hush. Not
only do I insist that my thunderous family members speak in low voices when
theyre near my office walls, and not only do I ask the local kids to
soften their tones when theyre playing tag outside my window but I also
put forth an effort to still myself. Decades of experimenting with the writing
process have revealed, to me, that nearly all my productivity occurs during
intervals when Ive successfully settled whatever is inwardly swirling or
Bird calls and the
musica universalis are the lone pulsations that I welcome when fashioning
assemblages of concepts. If either my beloveds or my neighbors dont pay
attention to my gentle requests for restraint, I play, at extremely low
decibels (these recordings must form a blanket of sound, not a further
disruption), select oboe sonatas. Essentially, I use classical melodies as
that when I seek to matchmake motes, I must face as few mental reverberations
as possible. That is, any internal equanimity, whose dispersal I have
accordingly attempted to actualize, is not an independent construct, but is the
space left behind by my banishing my cacophonous energies. Meaning, my cerebral
calm results purely from my quelling as many of my sundry tempests as is
doable. Directly, my halcyonic state derives from my taming my psychological
brouhahas, not from any innate merit.
In brief, the grit
undergirding my publishing feats is the perseverance concommitant to my
endeavoring to subdue my intrapersonal discords. Beyond the skirmishes that I
generate for stories, I deal with copious, ongoing dissonances. Choosing to put
the last touches on a poem might mean simultaneously choosing to give my family
tuna salad for dinner. Proofing a novels galleys for a
commissioners deadline might simultaneously result in my friends
calls not getting returned for days. Adjusting an illustration that accompanies
a tale might trigger my rescheduling a doctors appointment. Each tussle
of the heart with which I have to contend presents pros and cons, each of
which, in turn, might determine disparate solutions to apparently
All the same, every
cognitive battle in which I engage raises my level of agitation. For that
reason, wittingly, or not, a portion of my resources necessarily gets directed
toward soothing sentiments that might otherwise deter me from finishing an
undertaking, and toward embracing external factors that might seem less
important than penning additional remarks.
No matter the
alternatives that I employ, I continue to have to actively campaign to quell my
emotional upstarts so that they dont completely conquer my concentration.
In many instances, I triumph, whether by compartmentalizing visceral commotions
or by temporalizing my responses to them. On occasion, despite my efforts, I
break down. My private monsters succeed in frustrating me. More explicitly, I
lose the fluidity I rely upon to carry me to a projects completion.
Then and there, I
save and close files, engross myself in folding laundry or in contacting dear
ones. In a roundabout way, thereafter, I again take it upon myself to embrace
my muse. More often than not, after being abandoned, that force wants nothing
to do with me. Inhaling and exhaling, I force myself to be serene. I accept
that Ive run into a momentary obstruction.
So, I watch videos
about goat husbandry on YouTube, check up on the periodicals that havent
yet updated my submission status, and electronically crop photos. I contemplate
preparing salads and sauces, but since I know that once I leave my physical
refuge, it will be that much more difficult for me to return to my pages, I do
little chopping or simmering. Now and then, I leave my safe haven, anyway.
Eventually, be it
minutes or hours, I return to my exertions. Restarting takes more effort than
does carrying on. I wish I didnt have to pick up where I left off, and,
instead, could always be moving supplely through descriptive phrases.
Nonetheless, lifes vicissitudes are not mine to determine.
Principally, I am
fruitful solely when both my external world and my inner one know harmony.
Intermittent and impulsive tumult, viz., fluctuating amplitudes or bursting
clatter, whether sourced by others or sourced by me, make me feel crazy. If I
am not in my right mind when I compose, my texts splinter. To be creative, I
need relative silence both externally and internally.
To wit, in the
middle of the day, when the sun has climbed to its zenith, not only do few
avians, who favor crepuscular hours and nighttime for their songfests, twitter,
but, additionally, Im not sufficiently besotted by typical working
hours bustle to develop documents. Other folks commotions agitate
me as does daylights impact on the stridencies I try to suppress.
Theres no place for hullabaloo outside or inside of my palpable or of my
intangible sanctuaries. Im most efficient during the quiet of the
Its me who
clinches eventides muted minutes to push forward with my manuscripts. In
my personal universe, the quiet of words, per se, is not merely brought into
being by any maudlin lull that scintillae fabricate. That ataraxis, as well, is
found in my consciousness whenever Im able to draw ideas together in