Waking before the alarm, writing in the dark

January 6, 2023 by Joshua
in Habits, Nonjudgment, Stories

I told a friend how sometimes when I wake up before the alarm I get my best ideas.

Most of the time I don’t write them down, figuring if they’re important enough, I’ll remember them when I wake up for the day. I learned the habit of not trying to save everything during my first silent meditation retreat. They don’t let attendees bring anything to write with. At first I recoiled: “What about all the things I learn?!” Then during the first couple days I tried to keep track of every thought, trying to remember them for the rest of life. I’d write them after the retreat.

It didn’t take long to realize that I came up with memorable thoughts a dozen times every hour-long session, of which we sat for a half-dozen daily. I learned humility, not to see every insight as earth shattering or worthy of telling others. On the contrary, I came to see ordinary life as more interesting than I had realized.

Back to me awake in bed before the alarm. I’m working on my book, so sometimes those thoughts are relevant to what I’ll write later, so I want to record them, or more often, work them out. With the apartment disconnected, I told him I open the door a crack and sit in a chair writing in the dark, behind the door so if a neighbor walks by they don’t see a guy writing in the dark at 3:30am.

He lit up: “You have to take pictures! That’s so uniquely Josh Spodek, people have to know this quirk about you,” or words to that effect.

I thought I was being silly and feared sharing. A few times it happened since then, I didn’t take pictures, but last time I did. I’m in the shorts I wear as pajamas, but it was during the severe cold weather of my recent Doing what it takes post and I haven’t turned the heat on (I love sleeping in cold air under warm blankets) so wore a sweatshirt.

Here I am, I hope the quirk good for a laugh:

For the next shot, I used the LED light on the battery I charge with the solar panels, also known as a power station. It’s not very artful, but genuine.

If you look carefully, you can see the book I’m using to write on is Freedom National, which I wrote about last week. I’m writing notes about my conversation with upcoming guest Martha Nussbaum, whose episode I had recorded the day before. I’m editing it and it will appear in January.

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