The Trick

The trick, for me, is carving out time for things and trying to do them with some wit…. I am not ready for the world until I’ve had my 45 minutes with four espressos in the back garden with earbuds in…. I spend a lot of time on my own, and mostly in my office. You can emulate these obvious role-model traits by excavating yourself a cave in your back garden or taking over a room in your apartment, fitting it with uncomfortably bright lights and way too many screens, filling all the spaces with books and skulls, playing nothing but music that sounds like it’s emanating from a dead moon, and waiting for everyone to leave you alone forever, and then dying in seclusion and being eaten by cats.

– Warren Ellis

I suppose we all have to find what works best for us. I tend to stay up too late, hunched over my notebook, getting frustrated, and muttering great philosophical maxims like Sartre’s “Hell is other people.”  But for a long time I’ve wished to get a grip, buckle down, pull up my britches, etc., and try Toni Morrison’s approach.

“I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark-it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come… Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It’s not being in the light, it’s being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense.”

– Toni Morrison

So what works – or, like me, maybe sometimes almost works – for you?

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