I’ve settled into a productive morning routine during the past two months. Wake at five and exercise to a dvd or grab my music and go for a run. Shower. Meditate. Read something that inspires me to be a better person or let go of mind junk, such as writings by Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chödrön, or a simple book that always imparts wisdom while making me smile, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.
Those who do things by the Pooh Way find this sort of thing happening to them all the time. It’s hard to explain, except by example, but it works. Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least they do when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,’ and trying hard to make it happen some other way. If you’re in tune with the The Way Things Work, then they work the way they need to, no matter what you may think about it at the time. Later on, you can look back and say, ‘Oh, now I understand. That had to happen so that those could happen, and those had to happen in order for this to happen…’ Then you realize that even if you’d tried to make it all turn out perfectly, you couldn’t have done better, and if you’d really tried, you would have made a mess of the whole thing.
(I have to frequently remind myself to stop trying to control everything and trust that things will work out okay, so this bit comes in handy.)
I finish all my morning duties, read some blog posts on WP, prepare breakfast and lunch for the child, and then we’re off for the day. La-de-da. I complete my “work” in the mornings so that I can play at night. Play board games with my girl. Mazes, connect-the-dots, puzzles. Play with my writing projects.
I like this routine. It’s been working fairly well and I’ve created the time to progress nicely on my script. Obviously, it will need a multitude of revisions, but the story is becoming solid, dialogue doesn’t meander into no-man’s-land (one of my strong areas in writing), and I’m hitting the beats from my beat sheet. Something’s been missing in my writing process, though. Some sort of extra spark or wave of inspiration (not wave of mutilation, which instantly played in my head as I typed the inspiration bit, and then reminded me how I loved Pump Up the Volume as well as Christian Slater, amen). I couldn’t seem to let myself fall head-first into the visual process, which, since I would love this to be a kick-ass movie, is not a good thing. I could dip my toes into snippets of scenes, but couldn’t seem to feel it with my entire being. My mind movies were turned off.
Per my routine, I started out this door this morning and bounced down the stairs into the courtyard when I realized that my earbuds quit working. Suck it. I used to run all the time without my music, but I started listening when I discovered I ran faster while listening to, say, NIN rather than the birds chirping. Unfortunately, this morning I would have to do without coffee for my ears.
At first it was just the sound of my breath, two counts in and four counts out, and my feet hitting the pavement. It was quiet and lovely. Slowly, voices crept into my head. Not the positive voices one wants to hear like “you’re bloody brilliant” and “your backside is looking mighty fine”, but the voices of the past– of things you’ve tried to leave behind and overcome, of your perceived shortcomings, of the reasons why you weren’t good enough. They are the voices that stealthily destroy your self-esteem and can send you into a downward spiral if you don’t stand guard. I was cognizant of this inner dialogue creeping up on me and how it was affecting my physiology, so I decided to turn down the volume on the voices and I focused on turning up the volume on the screenplay. Listening to a future possibility had to be better than listening to the past. I talked to my script. What are we doing, Danny? Where are we going with this? I asked my protagonist. I breathed in and out and patiently waited for an answer.
Two miles into my run, the projector turned on and there it was: my movie trailer in glorious technicolor. I don’t remember running the last two miles home. Scenes of the movie and dialogue I hadn’t even written yet crackled in those minutes. I kept replaying moments so that I could remember them. I visualized the movie and I saw that the script could (upon revisions, mind you) produce a great flick. It was the inspiration I needed. It was magic, and I doubt it would have happened had I drowned out the creative process with music this morning.
My morning didn’t start out as planned, but it turned out better than I could have imagined. Bring on the day.