Alarm clocks – necessary evils – give us time. I am a snooze button pusher. I am also likely to set the alarm for an hour before I need to get up. Then I can sleepily reset it for the correct time and dive back into sleep’s warm nest for just a little longer. But – after negotiation with my clock – I do get up. Sleep fog doesn’t last long, even on these dark-in-the-morning days, and the rewards are great.
Robert Grudin, in “Time and the Art of Living,” describes a commonality (in spite of many differences) of Anthony Trollope and Gustave Flaubert. “They understood that no artistic necessity – not technique, elegance, genius itself – is more basic or inalienable than regular and expansive time. One need not be great or famous to experience its positive force.”
And in “A Writer’s Time: Making the Time to Write,” Kenneth Atchity says a part of our brain, the part he calls “the managing editor” knows our “strongest, most faithful collaborator is time.”
Anne Lamott wrote a snappy article about making time for creative life (http://www.sunset.com/travel/anne-lamott-how-to-find-time-00418000067331/). (A young friend who is the mother of two sent the link – she keeps a copy on her refrigerator.) Lamott in her funny but fierce-about-what’s-important voice declares “no one needs to watch the news every night, unless one is married to the anchor,” and adds, “I’ve heard it said that every day you need a half an hour of quiet time for yourself or your Self, unless you’re incredibly stressed, in which case you need an hour.”
Grudin lobbies for a little more: “…when we allow ourselves not just one or two hours, but several for productive activity, we show mercy and patience to our own minds, and they bring forth good things even on bad days.”
And Atchity says: “The satisfaction will come from knowing that each day you’ve allotted time for the work you love, the work you want to do.”
With a little help from that alarm clock!