This morning I was taken back to my first fall in Boston–what I considered my first time living in a BIG CITY. I was determined that every new experience I had, whether moving to a new city, or having a new job was to be MATERIAL for any writing. I was 24. Sylvia Plath was still my model for what a writer does. She lives and records EVERYTHING. She volunteers for things because it will give her material.
I was living in a small aprtment with my boyfriend at the time. When I say small, I mean a TWO ROOM studio. For two pwople, that’s a little much. I was serious about getting up every morning to write. The first morning I got up to sit by myself and drink coffee and write, my boyfriend, a very enthusiastic sort, felt inspired to do the SAME and came into the kitchen to CHAT. Apparently, he hadn’t gotten the MEMO that I got up at 5:00, because there was usually a guarantee that NO ONE ELSE WAS UP? I was young and very selfish. I got mad. I was HUFFY. Didn’t he GET that I was a SERIOUS ARTIST and needed to be ALONE to be so SERIOUS?
So I tried somethig else. I walked in the dark early hours to the subway, and then I got into work by 6:30. I had an hour and half before my job began. It was HEAVEN. The corporate building I worked in had giant windows that overlooked the rooftops of Cambridge. I’d get the horrid coffee that spewed out of a machine, and then sit and watch the light change. It was magnificent. Some of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen came in over the sleeping university town of Cambridge. It seemed like bigger skies than I’d even seen in Texas an Wyoming. Then I’d turn around and with one lamp lit, I’d write.
It was a ritual that lasted for about 4 months, until my new boss, a transplant from Ohio, came in at 6:45am, discovered I was there, and began spewing a list of things he wanted done. I had to explain to him that it was MIGHTY EARLY, I wasn’t on the clock yet, and that I came here to write. He seemed very confused. I knew then I needed a new ritual and a new job. Corpoarte world wasn’t for me. Any place that spawns people who come to work before 7:00am BY CHOICE, and who don’t notice that IT IS EARLY FOR ANYBODY is not a place for me. I won’t do airline reservations before 8:00am. I just won’t do it.
I still look back at those mornings with RIPE NOSTALGIA. I may try it again, now that I am in a new city, with a new office that looks out through large windows at a wide sky. I liked the world I discovered at that hour, and during that time. Rich material indeed.