Four O’Clock in the Morning

There’s an arc of every day.  It’s part of the rhythm that does not bear toe-tapping, unless you pay obsessive attention to the music of time passing. Having just listened to Rives’  The Museum of Four in the Morning TED Talk, I now know this four-in-the-morning time of day has slipped into our consciousness through an amazing array of songs, poems, births, sound clips and more. But why is it so popular?!

I am not a four-in-the-morning person. It’s clearly after three a.m., and strictly before five. I get that. Five is, in fact, a reasonable time to wake up. Really. Especially if you have logged seven hours, starting at 9 o’clock the previous night. Who does that, though?

Songs and soundbites notwithstanding,  it seems to me that four o’clock in the morning detaches the night from the next day. Absolutely 3 a.m. is still night. But four? It’s a catch… a ladder’s top rung before descending to the waiting earth of the next waking day. It’s the window almost shut or almost open. It’s the glass half full. This, in essence, is its allure. It beckons. It promises. It is Groucho and Billy Collins, and Rives. It’s THE sound bite.

It’s not a time of day that you think about until you do. And then it drives you nuts. Ask Rives.

March, April, and May

“It’s not what you think.”

“Oh yeah? I saw you two together!”

April sighed, put on her new spring coat, the shiny pink one with black polka dots and matching pink and black rain hat, and started for the door. May wouldn’t let her alone.

“You and March were at the mall. I saw you.”

“April spun around, glared at May and said, “You have to ruin everything.”

“Yes, I guess I do. You two go have fun.  I’ll leave tonight after work at the calendar factory,” May said.

“You don’t know, do you?”

“Know what?”

“It’s a surprise party. It WAS a surprise party.  All the months were meeting to make your birthday cake, and then we were going to invite Mom and Pop Time to the park for hot dogs and hamburgers.  March and I were buying decorations.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. Oh.”

YES!

Just say yes. Yes to life. Yes to happiness. Yes to adventure.  Yes to experiments. Yes to yesterday. Yes to being outside. Yes to travel. Yes to solitude. Yes to crowds. Yes to humbleness. Giving. Gratitude.  Yes to meditation. Consciousness. Yes to frugality. Yes to IMG_0761creativity. Forgiveness. Prayer. Enlightenment, learning, knowledge.  Yes to children. Babies. Dogs. Bubbles. Water. Quiet. Far off places. Smells. Rising bread. Sweet apple pies. Yes to permanence. Yes to transience. Yes to classes, to study, to goals. To rootlessness, to roots! Yes to writing. Finding joy. Living joy. Living light. Yes to being free. Yes to comfort in your own skin. Yes to solving knotty problems. The scientific method. Trial and error. Dumb luck. Smart luck. Being open to luck. Having love. Giving love. Staying married. Being okay. Always positive. Being the best you can be. Say yes to curiosity. Yes to failure. Say yes to experience. Just say yes.

Simplicity

We need simplicity to create. We need: offloading, clarity, sparseness, clean lines. Make it a focused, spare, and clutter-free mental environment.  We require an absence of interruptions, those nasty bug bites that send our creative muse to dance at another party.

We’d like to think other people stop the flow. No. In our heart of hearts, we KNOW that interruptions are largely self-inflicted! Most of the interlopers are our own self-doubts that are pushed through our “I’m-A-Fake” filter,  so that the destructive chatter catches our ear, and we actually stop to listen to the nonsense. We are the nosy hens unable to stop ourselves from pecking at the leaky feed bag even though we just ate. Not only is the mumble a disassociation from the subconscious requirements to imbue the Activity with Spirit,  it even lures Conscious Thought that needs to be present in the Creation.

If we’re creating in words, paint, music, charcoal or dance, it matters not. We’d like to think there there are physical or mental limits to the extent of uninterrupted concentration. We say we have to eat, take restroom breaks, pause to think before stepping into the next flow.  But we rarely challenge the structural integrity of the Composition Room. Even stopping to think lets the Editor stomp on the Creation, kicking words, tossing notes, smudging colors so that you’re stuck in the mud of doubt. You’ve lost your groove and don’t know if you really had it. It’s hard to tell, it was so long ago that you started.

Welcome the simplicity of uninterrupted creation. Set your timer and don’t move until you have something to show for the time. Even if it’s a painful stretch without a needed restroom break, stay the course. Reward yourself at the end. A smile will do.