Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Creative Call - Week 3 - The Cat

"In the morning O Lord you hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:3

I am three weeks into a creative writing study from the book, The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer. The book is similar to Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, but the spiritual focus of the exercises is Christian. Like The Artist's Way, the book calls for morning writing. Twenty minutes of writing in your "artist's daybook", first thing in the morning. I tried The Artist's Way years ago, but could never get past the morning pages. Of course, almost every book on writing promotes morning writing, and almost every book on prayer and bible study promotes spending time first thing upon rising in prayer.

I'm not a morning person, but I was determined to take a good stab at this so I took a hard look at my morning routine and how I could rearrange it. See, it's not so much the getting up in the morning to write that I balk at, it's trying to fit that in when I also have to go to work. With a little adjusting to my routine, I've found I only have to get up about 10 mins earlier than I was and I can fit the 20 minutes of writing in. I'm enjoying the quiet time, with morning cup of tea, pouring myself onto paper. It's not quality writing - it alternates from journaling, to prayer, to recording dreams of the previous evening, to dumping out anxieties - but quality writing is not the point of morning pages. Spending time with God, expressed through writing is. The twenty minutes fly by all too quickly.

The first week of writing, much to my chagrin, the entire household seemed to decide to get up earlier as well and I found myself with more company while trying to write. I'm protective of my alone time, so I was a bit resentful of these interruptions and a bit exasperated (how am I going to write if I can't get time to myself?) but thankfully they seemed to have settled back to their usual routine and I once again have quiet.

I am though, only in to week three. And the Lord knows me all too well. It is all too tempting, especially as I near the end of the week, to stay in bed an extra few minutes. Exhaustion always creeps up to me by Friday, so what starts out well on Monday usually falls apart by weeks end. To combat this, the Lord seems to have found a willing ally and partner in none other than my cat. At precisely six each morning, the cat begins to meow and scratch the rug, and meow some more, and jump on the bed and stare into my face, and disturb the dog so that he starts whining until I have no choice but to get up, feed him and let the dog out. Now I know the cat is but a creature of habit and routine, and just expects to be fed at the same time each morning and since I started this three weeks ago, he expects me to keep it up. However, I can't help but imagine God, knowing I'm tempted to keep sleeping, whispering into the cat's ear, "It's time. Wake her up. Do whatever you need to, but keep it up until she gets out of bed." I imagine He's smiling each morning, as I groan and stumble out of bed and downstairs to meet him between the pages of my artist's daybook.

In the morning O Lord you hear my voice. Sometimes that voice is grumpy, sometimes exhausted, sometimes excited to share my dreams with you but always the voice is confident that you are listening. * o


Queen Jaw Jaw said...

I love this Evie. Not only has it prompted me to check out The Creative Call, but it's also made me want to start my day with some quality time talking to God. Thanks for the tips! I love making this journey with you--JJ

Eveline Maedel said...

JJ - let me know if you start Creative Call - would love to know how what you think of it.

I plan to post my weekly progress as I work through it.