“Anyway, the clouds are sagging like the roof of a blanket fort. It feels cozy in a way. And writing here feels like I am talking to a best friend or lover. It feels safe. I feel whole.
I’m watching the leaves of the tree, two houses over, dance in a breeze I cannot feel. Reminds me that each experience is singular. Even this shared experience with the tree and I under the blanket for sky. For I am reclined on a couch behind a wall and the tree is…well…Do trees always stand at attention? I can’t imagine. I think this tree is stretching, plumbing a root deeper into the earth while the wind tickles her cheeks with her hair dancing across her face.
It’s wholeness and oneness and stillness and night air thick with dew. We are drinking it in. This is a beautiful night. This is rare.”
It’s rare that something comes out of my morning pages that I actually care to publish or use in some other piece of work. But this came out a few nights ago. I didn’t get my morning pages done in the morning because I was working on some other things and by 9pm, I was missing my friend. That’s what the pages have become to me.
When I went on my Artist Date this week, I stopped at a European lounge that just opened in Oceanside. I had just dropped R off with his dad for the weekend. The jazz club I wanted to go to was still setting up, so I stopped into this strange space. The seating was a series of couches, arm chairs, coffee tables and ottomans. An enthusiastic entrepreneur greeted me at the door and let me find a seat. The place was empty except for one group of three women, sharing a charcuterie and bottle of wine, and a lone woman at the bar, working on her laptop, talking loudly to the bartender. I took my seat against the wall so I could watch everything unfold in front of me and I took out my journal to enjoy some dinner conversation with myself.
It strikes me how this is odd. I almost never see people journaling in cafes, and I often get asked what I am writing by my waiter when I do this. It seems we have relegated our work to coffee shops and, while they can be a quiet, relaxing place, I find the energy of a restaurant in the evening to be much more engaging, mostly, for what it brings up in me.
When I ask the hostess for a table for one, they always appear slightly surprised. I believe work travelers probably do this. But maybe not so commonly at the nice places, or maybe they choose to sit at the bar where their solitude will go more easily unnoticed.
I wonder if the waiter is disappointed when I am the only person at the table, effectively cutting the expected bill/tip in half. But they are usually very kind, and I order a drink and an appetizer (because I find appetizers to be the most imaginative thing on the menu). I order the entree knowing that I will not be able to finish it, but I get a box to take it with me.
And all while this is going on, I settle into my senses. I watch the rhythm of people in conversation around me: couples looking at their phones, young pairs eating with what’s obviously someone’s parents, two people so eagerly engaged in conversation you can palpate the heat of a new relationship. I observe the energy of all of this and I write, not so much describing what I see but what it brings up in me. “I am [after all,] my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better,” in the words of Frida Khalo.
In this way, it becomes a dinner conversation with myself. I eat and sip and watch and write. I engage with each bite like I mean to know it, thoroughly. I tip well. I leave feeling quiet, and full and beautifully anonymous to all but me.