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OrdinaryTimes 1.07-Spire

An OrdinaryTimes morning won’t naturally inspire much more than rolling over to catch more sleep. I set an early alarm anyway and make my way down the dawn-shadowed stairway to fetch the newspaper, put the teapot on the flame, and refresh the cats’ water bowl and food dish.

The Muse out-sleeps me and I try to drizzle her coffee before she stumbles down seeking extrinsic motivation. I scan the newspaper while my espresso tries to rise in its little pot. I allow myself two comics and a horriblescope reading before emptying my overnight email in-box. The Muse will be prepping her breakfast fruit by then. I’ll meditate some.

When first exiled, we lived in a motel-like one bathroom highrise apartment. We didn’t see much of each other during the day so I took to stepping into that over-small bathroom to shower while The Muse made up her face, or tried to, in the steamed up mirror. I called this Bugging You because that’s how I explained this uncharacteristic intrusion. I continue this game today, in a house with three showers to choose from, I still slip in behind The Muse and steam up the place while she primps. I’m in and out in five minutes, plenty of time to elevate myself well into the moderately pesky range.

Then I take my bowl of decaf to my desk to check if any inspiration’s there. Crash the cat will be slinking around in the flowerbed outside the window. Wild Rose the spinster cat will lay on that almost finished manuscript and laze her tail across my keyboard. The Muse might ask if I have time to iron something for her. I always do.

After dropping The Muse off at the Metro station, the short drive back takes almost forever. I weave my way through the usual obstacle course of speed humps, double-parked UPS step vans, distracted walkers, and drivers pretending to be late for something on our one-lane side streets. I’m in no hurry.

Back home, I head for my desk again, still trying to find inspiration. I need to write. I need to write like The Muse needs her morning coffee. It’s more important than food for me and I cannot quite achieve presence without having created something in the morning. But like everyone’s work, this work requires inspiration and these are OrdinaryTimes. Where will that spark come from today?

This same scene plays out each morning, so much the same yet always a little different. Within this numbing sameness I must make some distinction, however small. Within this infinitesimal difference, I must sink roots. With these tiny tendrils, I must nurture some sprout. From this sprout, I must culture some blossom. That’s all.

Making even small distinctions makes for hard work, harder than digging ditches. Backhoes can’t help. Patience strains rather than back muscles. I often as not chase some distraction in the face of making my morning distinction. Breakfast, then the dishes, but I’ll be back. I’ll be back until the unlikely inspiration appears. Until I can divest of my sacred obligation to create something more than worthy of me, exceeding any OrdinaryTimes morning’s meager expectations.

I usually succeed, but nothing’s pre-ordained: every morning’s a cliff-hanger; every creation a surprise. I’m learning to insist, to somehow stay engaged; or maybe I’m just thoroughly haunted now. I sweat over the keys until a rhythm establishes. I search around me for some co-conspirators until the spark ignites. I say to myself, “To perspire, keep looking down. To conspire, keep looking around. To inspire, just look up.”

Nothing draws my eye upward on a grey, OrdinaryTimes morning. I catch myself looking down and staring across the street, sweating and distracting, but I’ve forgotten about the possibility of looking up. Snarky sideways cynicism won’t help. Nothing but a genuine upward gaze will inspire like the sweeping lines of some Gothic cathedral tower. Perhaps inspiration doesn’t come down from on high to visit us mortals, but arcs up into the sky from the upturned eyes of mere mortals mired here in OrdinaryTimes.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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