Rhythms to Alertness

Bzzzz….bzzzz…bzzzz….Flip. Snooze.

Bzzzz….bzzzz…bzzz…Flip. Dismiss.

A blurry world greets me as I move the phone away from my face. Fumbling for my glasses, I stretch and groan.┬áHalf awake, I stumble into my running clothes and out the door. Barely conscious, I arrive at C.’s door with no significant memory of the half mile I ran to get there.

Groan. My legs swing into a gait almost more natural to me than walking. An efficient shuffle with minimal knee lift and a ball-heel-ball motion. Breathe. Relax the shoulders. Fall into this rhythm that is waking up.

Five miles later we end at my home. It is winter, so we pick an orange from the overburdened trees. My lips pucker at its tart sourness. Tomorrow we will eat from a sweeter tree.

Shower. Dress.

Breakfast-making is a fast-paced and well-timed affair. Heat three burners. Fill the kettle with water for one. Drop sesame seed oil in a skillet for the second. Place a comal on the third. Chop kale and mushrooms and scrape into the skillet. Crack and beat the egg, just a splash of milk. When my forearm feels the intensity of the quick beating motion, the egg is ready. Throw a tortilla on the comal. Push aside the veggies and slide the egg into the skillet. Water boiling, pour into the mug with the tea ball waiting. Flip and stir. Flip. All burners off. All food on the waiting plate. Tea ball out. Fork at the ready.

Breakfast is served.

Writing begins.


Cutting and Pasting

Today I cut and pasted my second chapter into some semblance of order. I enjoy turning writing into a tactile process. Below is a quick how-to.

Supplies needed:

  • All writing from the past two months, printed
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Box of markers
  • Bed
  • Tea


  1. Sit on the middle of the bed with all supplies in front of you. Keep your tea close at hand on a solid surface.
  2. Read through all writing and cut up at appropriate points, usually wherever the direction, topic, or ideas shift.
  3. Sip tea as needed.
  4. Glue together any sections printed on separate pieces of paper that go together
  5. Make piles by themes and flow. You gotta feel it out.
  6. Write notes in whatever color marker feels most appropriate at the moment. Color-coded schemas might result. Yellow marker works well to highlight important passages.
  7. Draw pictures on scrap pieces of paper as necessary. (I enjoy drawing pictures of major emerging themes)
  8. Continue cutting, gluing, markering, shuffling, and arranging until satisfied. Keep in mind the end bits are the most tedious.
  9. Remember that some bits of writing might end up in the bin.
  10. When it feels complete, stand up and admire your work.
  11. Document the moment for posterity and in case something horrible happens that scatters all your hard work before you have time to transfer the results to a more apparently-orderly medium (such as the computer).

I love this process because it makes the mess of my brain and my computer files more palpable. Seeing as how I am writing about senses, this feels highly appropriate.

Embodied Writing

Writing has been winning over riding. This is a problem.

I want to make a writing-riding body. Body of mine. Body of work. Body-machine. Body-machine-terrain. Terrain is soil. Terrain is a keyboard. Click, click, click. Whirrr of the freewheel, wheels spinning in my mind. Click, click, click. Crank it out, crank it out. The words spin me around and I have no idea where I’m going. The maps are useless when you can’t figure out where you are situated.

Getting lost requires endurance, confidence, and skill. And snacks. Glycogen replenishment, the mundanity of writing that’s easy to forget. Endorphins, adrenaline, and quick smart moves. That’s the exciting stuff, you junkie. Relish the slog too. The exhaustion even as you keep moving forward. Mind and muscles sore. The best cure is a quick spin to work out all that built up gunk.

Writing. Riding. Wriding.