Usual Early Morning Stuff

It is 5am. I fight with the alarm. I fight with the cat. It is hard to leave the bed soft, fresh sheet, downy blanket hugging me back to slumber. He won’t let me sleep in and the 10-minute snooze won’t either. My choice. I set the alarm. I keep feeding him.

I sit up. I strap on the robe and sandals. I set about the usual early morning stuff. The cats weave around my legs as I pee. There are two cats, but she is much quieter, so I don’t complain about her in the morning. The gurgling coffee pot calls to me from the kitchen. I set about feeding us.

Shredded fish and gravy for them, OJ and coffee and ink for me. He eats, and naps curled in the chair next to me. She disappears again. The coffee has been poured into a weekday cup of average size. I put on a blanket against the chill from the degrading kitchen windows.

I begin to empty my mind of anger or poems or scene sketches for a novel I am months from completing. It is slow at first, unsure of my characters. What if I make bad choices for them? These are someone else’s kids in my care- no? They’re mine? Even worse. The white space fills with black ink, mostly legible, with circular patterns of character self-discovery and bad descriptions.

The paper and ink raw messy dirty dish reality of my kitchen conjures the best times of my life- food and wine and people I love. The space I write and create, the space of warm ovens and cold drinks, of turning spice into curry and flour into bread. It is fertile ground. It soothes my aching soul when the pen digs too deep into the flesh of all that is hidden.

Later the computer will sterilize this but not too much. Only enough to make it appear I am not completely uneducated though my reading list is long and impossible. Writing my flesh then clothing it in gauze. My living room editor life of electronic square blinking screen, cold and efficient, symbol of productivity and work.

The alarm on the stove beeps. The pen and paper are closed. Night clothes come off, day clothes come on, different. Hair different, hot and pasted into place. Breakfast, commuter bag, lunch bag, journal, calendar, coat, hat, boots, mittens… power off, locks on, out into the ally to the street to the bus to the bumper car traffic to the place I spend most of my days, not writing, in a cube farm.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, February 2018

Morning Light

I see it appear
Every morning
Early sunlight

Some have suggested
Cycle before dawn
But I write not ride

I don’t trust drivers
In the dark
I don’t trust listeners
With my words

I ride in the light
I hide in the light, too

If you read this
You have no one to blame
but yourself

I exist, I am
I wake early
To put pen to page

It helps to light
The way home

It helps to keep
Moving forward

It helps

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, September 2017

Artist Life

Success comes from years of failure and practice and headache and despair. When you finally succeed at whatever it is, there is often a surprise as if you popped out of a magic hat that way. I feel the real danger for artists is to compare themselves to commercially successful artists, assuming they did it all on their own- Maverick with little more than grit and determination. While that is true, they did not start out successful and back then, back then they didn’t have staff. There was not a whole team of corporate paid handlers, marketers, cleanup crew. Yes, the artist has the raw talent but their team polishes them. So please, for the love of God, do not give up on your art because it is not perfect. You don’t have staff to help you. Not yet.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, May 2017

Sands of Time

You do not have that kind of time
You do not have time to put it off
The writing, the painting, the music
Day to day has its demands
Takes its pound of flesh

No, your family doesn’t respect your art
Enough to leave you to it
But if you are compelled
If you write because you must write
You do not have that kind of time

The kind of time that keeps you stuck
In the moment twenty years ago
When your ‘big reveal’ blew up in your face
All the joy you hoped to get out of it
Turned into deep grinding shame

Coated your heart with enough anger
To shield the wound in it
But the hole that is there
Still sucks the sands of your life away
And you do not have that kind of time

Write it out
Ink it
Line it
Fill it with
Crumpled paper drafts

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, May 2016