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Big Skies

August 22, 2006

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.

  1. maria permalink
    August 23, 2006 1:23 pm

    Summer, I worked at Bell Labs for several years, where it seemed like ALL the engineers were in by 6:00 a.m. … and they all hit the cafeteria for lunch at 11:30! When I started there, I thought, ‘WHO on earth eats lunch at 11:30? I just had breakfast!’ It’s definitely a culture onto itself, the ‘scientific’ crowd. I actually think some of them may have literally lived there, and there were so many long halls in this huge industrial-era building, that no one would have found out. Too funny!I have to tell you that I just LOVE your daily posters. They are FANTASTIC, girl!I know they need not be any more than they already are, which is fabulous … but I could totally see a little book filled with these. It reminds me a little of the book ‘Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life,’ only yours is handwritten and has really cool drawings for each entry. You’re on to something 🙂

  2. Jake Pierre permalink
    August 23, 2006 1:23 pm

    Sum,I also would like to comment on “Offices” This is a powerful piece. We have all known a “Larry”and we have all been “Larry”as well. An excellant ending also to a caring observation with the beauty and hope of a sunrise. dad

  3. Jake Pierre permalink
    August 23, 2006 1:24 pm

    Sum,This is one of the reason I’ve taken you seriously as writer.Besides your 80+ journals your consistant discipline and sacrafice of rising early to dedicate to your true calling is inspiring and exempolary. That fact has always stayed with me,especially when I am early to task.The phrase”It suddenly DAWNED on me…”speaks to us about that very hour of revalation. ooxo dad

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