The Early Worm
THE TIME BETWEEN 6 AM AND 8:30 AM IS MY MOST PRODUCTIVE time of day. Before 6 AM I am asleep and after 8:30 the rest of the day intrudes and calls the shots. Those 2 ½ hours are when I get 90% of my writing accomplished. The other 10% comes when I type it up and try to have it all make some sort of sense.
Quite a chore, that last part.
I try to get my writing time every morning. It’s important to me. I can knock out this daily blog in that time and maybe get some work in on my longer fiction pieces – the things that nag at me to finish them off.
I tell you – there are days that I wish I’d taken up knitting instead of writing. Knitting, Painting, DIY Tattooing, anything that wouldn’t be tapping me on the shoulder all the time reminding me to get back to work. There are days when I really agree with Dorothy Parker who said, “I hate writing, but I love having written.”
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. A friend and I collaborated on a series of “Cowboy and Indian” stories. We were both about seven or eight years old. He went to public school. I went to St. Mary’s catholic Grade School. His Teacher thought our stories were great and encouraged him. My Teacher, Sister Mary Mojo, did not. She said that I was wasting my time. I was frustrated, but kept on writing. My friend was praised, quit writing, and grew up to be a Doctor.
I could never figure out why things worked out like that. Am I still trying to please Sister Mary Mojo? Fat chance of that.
I’m an actor at heart with close to fifty years of onstage experience. It was quite a long time ago when I realized that the things I write are the things I would like to be a part of onstage. In one way or another I manage to write myself into whatever story I am creating. Sometimes in a more subtle way, in others I can be quite blatant about it. Hey! It’s my story and I can do what I want.
Having been born with a physical disability that affected my left arm and leg I was presented with a set of problems outside of the usual. I lost parts in shows because of the disability, but I also got a part or two because of it.
I worked hard and became a very good actor. In most cases my skills made the disability
irrelevant. Of course there were idiots along the way who weren’t able to get past their initial impression. Over time a number of them got back to me to tell me that they had made a mistake not casting me. That was for them. I already knew that was the case.
I’ve met a few other actors with disabilities along the way. Some were better than others. Some worked harder than others. None of them worked as hard as me.
Now, after 50 years, I perform rarely. My body rebels and being here in Terre Haute (That’s French for “We don’t take risks onstage.”) there are not many opportunities. So I write. It is creative, challenging and I rarely pull a muscle while doing it.
When I think back on the reactions to those “Cowboy and Indian” stories I really do believe that Sister Mary Mojo was encouraging me more than criticizing. After all, my writing partner stopped writing altogether. He became a Doctor in Florida and eventually got busted for Medicaid fraud. He should have stuck to Cowboys and Indians.
Thanks John – really enjoyed learning a little more about the man behind the writer.