I used to get aggravated at my cat who seems to think that a 4 am wake-up call is in order, but it seems that I wake up now whether the cat does or not, even if she is outside for the night. I’m at the age where answering the call of nature often requires me to roll out of my warm quilt sometime after midnight, and getting back to sleep can take a while. If I ignore the thoughts running through my head and cover my eyes with my quilt, I may oversleep and have to dash out to get to work on time. Another morning, another call wasted.
It seems that I have not been doing my due diligence, taking the action that I need to feel happy and soul-fed. I haven’t been writing, not on my second novel, not on my blogs, and not on anything else except cryptic comments on student papers. My brain seems to be backed up, too full of unwritten stuff to think clearly, and with several projects at work and at home that need my attention, the backlog needs to be cleared out. Part of wish craft is doing the action steps that present themselves, even if answering that call to action involves hauling oneself out of bed at 4 am and pecking at the keyboard. The call must be answered.
Alice Walker writes of being awakened by a poem that demands to be written, how it sends her on a guilt trip of awareness of where she has been and what she has seen with her one good eye. People who only know Walker’s deep fiction should read her often deceptively simple poetry. She answers the call, even in the dark far before dawn.
If the call is not answered, it gets louder, and puts more stumbling blocks for us to fall over, to get our attention, to yell from the lair of the soul, like Seymore the carnivorous plant: “FEEEEED MEEEEE!!!” Such a call cannot be answered by food, drink or other sense-numbing substances, like a sugar-tit for a baby. It can only be answered in reply, in expression, in action. All the productivity gurus, such as Simpleology’s Mark Joyner, talk about taking action, but it’s important to listen for the call, to understand what action needs to be taken, the next logical step.
So I am up this morning, only an hour or so earlier than usual, when the house is quiet except for the waterfall sounds of the turtle pond filters, and the street outside is dark, except for the orange security light the neighbor put in that reflects the broad shiny magnolia leaves in front of whatever he is protecting in that dark corner of his yard. But I am answering the call, opening the way for the words to flow, and feeling a sense of relief that there are words, that there is substance within that wants to be expressed, and giving up an hour of restless tossing and turning is a small price to pay.