Warming Up

My fingers are really cold today. I can’t seem to get them to feel warm. I’ve blown on them, clasping one hand over the other and cupping my mouth as I exhaled, hoping the warmth of my breath would help. I’ve tried sitting on them, hoping to find warmth for them somewhere between my thighs and the couch. I’ve tried rubbing my hands together, hoping the friction would produce enough heat. Nothing has worked so far.

This is a problem. Writers largely work with their hands. They need to be warmed up.

Before this, I had sat down to work on my morning pages. They too, are an act of warming up the writer. Of getting the fingers moving and the creative juices flowing so that an artist is warmed up to the craft that lay before them.

How does one warm up when they can seem to get warm? My fingers are too cold to write.

The morning pages are essential for me. Pioneered by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist Way, the idea is to fill up three standard pages, hand written, long hand, with whatever thoughts come to mind. There is not supposed to be narrative or meaning or even the idea of being any good. In fact, it should barely be considered writing, really. Just stream of conscious thought poured out on the page done first thing in the morning. Morning pages are supposed to clear the mind and open the pathways to the deeper reaches of one’s mind.

And now my hands are grasping a hot cup of coffee. Still hoping for warmth.

Most often, I warm up to write one thing by writing another thing. An email is an excellent way to warm up to writing a blog post. A journal entry is a pretty good way to warm up to write a chapter of a book. A task list. A recipe. Transcribing the side of a cereal box. If you are feeling stuck, writing anything is always a good way to get unstuck.

And, now, I have written about warming up. My fingers are a bit warmer. As if thinking about it and writing about it were the only source of heat in the world. In this moment, that seems as true as any truth.

I can write my pages now.

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