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TimeShifting

TimeShifting
Thomas P. Anshutz: The Tanagra (1909)
"Best if nobody can peek into the workshop while Geppetto's carving."

I write in the wee hours. Everything else in my life, including Authoring, comes after my writing's finished. I try to interface with everyone else's world, but I insist upon at least my writing time each morning, and that sometimes sloughs over. It seems important that my writing occurs early in the morning, under the cover of darkness into dawn. By dawn, I'm almost always finished, cleaning up the mess I always make, completing my final edits, Proofing one or two more times. By seven, I'm free to start thinking about breakfast and to get myself suited up for my day, though the last two years have found me largely suiting up to go nowhere given the Damned Pandemic restrictions, which have suited my lifestyle just fine. By the time The Muse wakes up, I've already put in four or five hours. I live that far ahead of her, I imagine. I'm TimeShifting.

We eat supper together, which might be the only time we see each other all day.
We start supper around midnight my body clock time, rarely earlier, this because she usually works until seven-thirty or eight, midnight or twelve-thirty according to my time shifted orientation. I try to get to sleep by ten so that I can get my all important four hours of sleep. My alarm goes off at two, calling me to my writing desk again. She cleans up the dishes. I prepare the suppers. None of this schedule seems in the tiniest bit odd to me, for it's the way I've lived for years. It's a writer's schedule if not necessarily an Author's. Since we returned last year to the original Villa Vatta Schmaltz, I've taken to starting my days an hour earlier than I started them when we lived in the Mountain Time Zone. It just seemed a necessary adjustment. Time moves a little more quickly here, now that we're no longer in exile where time moved like molasses on the moon.

I never notice my TimeShifting until those rare occasions when I need to interface with the regularly timed world. The Muse and I keep that interface minimal, for good enough reasons, but doctor visits and other business must all occur in regular time. Yesterday, we've volunteered to help a friend rework some bylaws. We'd agreed to show up at 4pm, 8:30pm my body clock time. We worked until around eight, when, nearing completion, our host asked if we'd like to hang around for a glass of wine or perhaps go out to dinner to celebrate our effort. Clicking past 12:30am body clock time by then and having missed lunch, I felt frantic. I had about an hour before I really needed to be in bed if I was going to make it to work on time the next morning. I explained that we'd have to decline, though The Muse might have preferred to go. I really, really, really needed to get home or I sensed that my whole house of cards existence might crumble. I left panicky, feeling very much like a vampire must feel when he senses dawn approaching early.

Authoring seems to be turning into another sort of TimeShifting, one where I refashion my work completed in predawn darkness for presentation out into the more regularly scheduled world, a world I long ago left behind me. I feel every bit the inept host, uncertain of the customs practiced by the natives. My doctor says that I live an extreme lifestyle. Even The Muse thinks me a bit strange for sleeping so little, though I do allow myself a nap these days in the middle of an otherwise lazy afternoon. I earned my vigorish—just table stakes, really—before even the early dog walkers have taken to Boyer Street, even before the early birds started sneaking up on their worms. Authoring, though, remains a somewhat distant second profession, after writing. It must by necessity occur in the time left over from my real work, from my real job. When I was little, my dad took second jobs to help pay the bills. He'd work as a dishwasher or a night janitor, even delivering newspapers, to make ends meet. He was always first a mail carrier and a father and husband, but he somehow found time to wash a few dishes, sweep a few floors, or toss a few newspapers onto unsuspecting customers' porches, the hard way, over the top of the car from the road. He almost never missed.

Authoring's an also ran profession, almost a hobby. I cannot see it ever supplanting my writing to become my primary focus, and not only because it doesn't seem to fit into my TimeShifting framework. Writing's my hygiene work, what I do that enables me to face myself in the mirror. Authoring's almost all afterthought, working with cold inspiration, packaging and distribution, not creation. For me, creating's the thing. That's what drags me out of my bed so early every morning. Creating demands TimeShifting. It's not really something best undertaken in the cold light of anything. Best if nobody can peek into the workshop while Geppetto's carving. It's a secret endeavor until Authoring outs it later.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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