10.3 A Quiet Place
Lately, I’ve been waking up early. Marc Maron has said a few times on his podcast that he thinks you start waking up earlier as you get older because it’s God’s (or whomever’s) way of letting you know that you should be up for more hours in the day. Time is getting short and you need to be awake for this shit.
Or my internal clock has changed over the past year or so for a variety of reasons? I think a certain low grade nervousness is more the culprit. A slim layer of veneered anxiety seems to hum along the base of my neck at all times. As it slowly has been breaking apart, I regret just how normalized this feeling has become.
One unfortunate side effect has been the inability to focus, concentrate, and be at ease for long periods of time. I used to be good at this. Or, at least, better at it. One of my favourite things in the world is to read, but even this I found challenging. My mind just couldn’t seem to rest enough and I’d find myself having to constantly re-read passages. Sometimes I’d even forget the names of characters and be in the middle of a book wondering what the hell is even going on.
Perhaps this has to do with publishing my second book? I know myself enough that when I finish something big, something that I’ve been focused on for a long time, there comes at the end a certain amount of emptiness. A void that cannot immediately filled by anything. Well, almost anything. That’s when I start watching things, too many things, things that star Tom Cruise or Liam Neeson, and are largely forgotten as soon as the credits roll.
So, I bought myself a book.
I still feel the joy of roaming through a bookstore and just picking something that speaks to me. I decided I needed to work on this inability to stop my mind racing around and the most appropriate way I felt to do that was getting back to reading more. Luckily, a new 700 page Murakami book was out and that was where I started.
Murakami has a way to ground a story in a lonely reality, while slowly introducing one absurd thing after another until you just accept it as a possible reality. As a side note, I wish he wouldn’t write so much about sex though, it always comes off awkwardly and not necessary for the story. I ain’t no Pollyanna, the descriptions are just weird sometimes.
Since I’m up early, I started devoting an hour to reading before checking any electronic devices. Besides Murakami, I’ve got a stack of unread Atlantic magazines since I thought getting a subscription last year was a good idea. They were dusty. So, I started in on the novel and the magazines. At first, it was difficult and I still had to re-read passages. Soon, I got swept up in the story and started replacing my Tom Cruise fix with it. After a couple of weeks, my mind wasn’t racing anymore and I wasn’t having to re-read any passages.
Then the best thing happened last weekend. I woke up early (as usual) on Sunday, the snow slightly tapering off from the storm a day before. It was freezing cold, but oh so warm in my bed. I did get up with my comforter wrapped around me, headed downstairs, and made a cup of coffee. I took the coffee, a magazine and a book back upstairs, crawling back into bed. My head only poked out when I needed a sip of coffee. A quiet place to read. It was the most enjoyable morning I had in a very long time.
I could read again! I know this is no big feat, but just give me this one.