the perfect tent

i am always the first to wake when i stay the night at my friend S's house. you'd think i'd sleep more, my mind drained of creativity from writing into the night. but no, my eyes flitter open at 5:45 am, the next chapter of this book coming together in my head. writing is nothing more than fantasy if you think about it, what would happen in this particular world if you had your way.

this morning i was contemplating that constructing a story is a lot like setting up a tent. anyone can probably do it, instruction or not, it just takes a lot of experimentation to get it right. there's a certain way the poles have to be laid out, born into the canvas. if you don't do it right the first time, you may not notice at first. it might take a night or two of rain and wind getting in, of your sleeping bag getting soaked, before you realize you need to start over. but when you do end up getting it right, when you figure out that these certain poles have to go up first to give structure, that these others go up next to fill it out, make it believable, well, that's the goal, isn't it? to find your formula, to get it more right every time. i guess that's my whole life now, trying to build the perfect tent, learning from the mistakes i made on the last one.

for now i am in the dark, an open word document on my screen, a fat orange tabby cat purring on the couch next to me, conor oberst singing inspiration through my headphones. i stopped last night at page sixty-three only because i thought it was rude to be typing away on my laptop while others were trying to sleep. as i sat in starbucks yesterday, plugging away, feeling like a total dork for even daring to bring a laptop into a coffee shop, i kept telling myself to ignore the drifting patrons, my friends making silly hand gestures to get my attention because i was using my headphones to drown out the crappy christmas music being pumped through the speakers via corporate - i kept telling myself just to write. to forget about everything, and just get words on paper. so that's what i did, and that's what i intend to do now. at least until everyone else wakes, and the silly hand gestures begin once more...