I used to wake up at four or five in the morning, and my whole body would shiver in fear. When I was a child, I would lie awake at night in terror and this was a habit I carried well into life. I would open my eyes and my mind would just take off in dread. Some months ago, I finally was able to think this through and I decided to use the time differently. To take the time of fear and alter everything about it. I had done this for 60 years. Could I really change it? Instead of lying in bed, I got up right a way. I meditated for a few minutes. I changed everything about the environment in which this fear lived. Red and I come down to my office, and I turn on the computer and start writing.
What a beautiful time to work, I discovered. No e-mails or texts no phone calls. No noise from the road, no distractions or chores. My mind is clearly focused. I am productive, thinking clearly, writing easily in that smooth and continuous way that tells a writer he is on the right track, keep going. I wrote a whole chapter of the Simon book this morning. I am grateful for the chance to change this awful way of being in the night. I love how I can concentrate on my work and how it flows. I don't feel the fear when I wake up any longer, I am excited to get to use this time to do my work, a fitting fate for fear. Take a walk, I say, and thanks. Time for a different story. So this is my writing time, now, this is when it starts and I have transformed a fearful time into a creative time. Nothing is simple, nothing is black-and-white. But this is working, I feel it in my fingers. My fingers, say Maria, never lie.
Bit by bit, the fear is cornered, shrinking, starving. I am converting into something use, something creative, when I can something loving. I see that fear can be starved, that new habits can be built. It is hard to change, it is possible. I love the way the screen lights up my desk, just me and the words. The way, I think, it was always meant to be.