Why I write in the early morning hours
Okay, I don’t exactly write in the early morning hours. After all, I am intimately acquainted with getting up at o-dark-thirty. When I was in the military, a 6 a.m. start meant a wake-up call at 4 a.m. to get my hair braided, my weapon drawn, and my vehicle properly prepped. All so I could make the 5:30 a.m. formation. And then there was my time as a Bed & Breakfast owner. Breakfast started at 8 a.m. during the week, which meant I was up two hours earlier because serving breakfast in my pajamas with my hair uncombed just scared the daylights out of guests. Trust me, I tried. Even when I was an attorney, I got up early to get a run in before heading off to take the train for my morning commute.
And now I’m getting up at 7 a.m. and my commute consists of shuffling from my bedroom to the kitchen to make coffee and then to my office. I don’t bother opening my eyes beyond slits or combing my hair and I always write in my pajamas. In fact, I’m starting to think that I simply can’t be creative with ‘normal’ clothes on anymore. And yet I’m claiming that I write in the early morning hours.
Well, it sure feels like the early morning hours. I live in Istanbul and the Turkish are night owls. I thought the Spanish with their not eating dinner until 10 p.m. were night owls, but the Turkish have them beat. I have no idea when they eat their evening meal because they’re always eating. (One of the best parts of the Turkish culture is in fact the ability to get a hot meal at all times of the day and most of the night.) But the Turks, including their rowdy children, are up late every night. And, unlike the Spanish who get up early despite their late nights, the Turks do not get up early. Not. At. All. When I walk the dog at 9 a.m., most of the business workers are just heading out. And unlike during their late-night shenanigans, they are super quiet in the morning.
Although I listen to music (playing very softly) when I write, I need quiet to write. Istanbul is anything but quiet. There are horns blaring, tires squealing, helicopter rotors whooshing, kids screaming, calls-to-prayer booming, construction pounding, and all the other noises associated with a big city going on all the time. Except for the early morning hours. From the first call to prayer (time varies based on when the sun rises) until the school song plays (yes, song, they don’t use a bell), it’s nearly as quiet as our house in the middle of the Eifel region in Germany.
There’s something special about watching the world wake up – whether it’s watching the Turkish slowly awaken from their late-night hijinks or the wildlife coming alive in the desert. It’s as if life is re-born every morning. There’s absolutely nothing more satisfying and motivating than the only sound in the world being the taps on my keyboard as I rush to finish a chapter every morning before the distractions of everyday life set in.
And what better way to watch the world wake up than watching the sky lighten over the Sea of Marmara as I write? Whenever I get stuck, I look through my floor-to-ceiling windows and observe the ships waiting to cross the Bosporus into the Black Sea. For some reason, the view calms me, centers me, and gets my fingers flying over the keyboard yet again.
And so that’s why I write in the early morning hours even if it isn’t technically ‘early’ morning.
I’m having the suckiest day ever. First, my father, aka Mr. Grumpy Pants, calls to say his nurse just walked out on him. Likely story. I rush home to pack only to walk in on my husband getting it on with his younger, skanky secretary. Unfortunately, my quick weekend trip home to fix Dad’s problems turns into a stay of a few weeks. Luckily, I’ve got Danny, the neighbor boy I had a crush on when I was a dorky, braces-wearing, nose-buried-in-a-book teenager, and a brand-spanking new blog to keep my mind off things. Before I know it, I’m writing product reviews of vibrators and getting questioned by a store rent-a-cop at the world’s worst date ever. All while trying to figure out how to take things with Danny to the next level. Not to complicate things or anything but my boss decides to give me an ultimatum – come back in four weeks or don’t come back at all. How in the world did my life get so complicated?
I nearly choke on my wine. “Blog about you? The blogs are about my dates.”
“Babe, pay attention.” He grabs my chin. “What do you think we’re doing?”
My eyes nearly pop out of my head. “Being good friends?”
He shakes his head. “Um, no. I’m wooing you.”
“Yeah, wooing.” He points between us. “Do you think I drink wine on my porch with just anyone?”
I’m confused. “You don’t like wine?”
He chuckles. “Look at me. I’m a single guy with a kid. Why would I have wine in the house?”
The dominoes begin to fall in place. “Oh.”
“Yeah, oh. Come over here.”
He takes my wine and places it on the ground next to his glass before firmly grabbing my head and planting his lips on mine. The kiss is soft, sweet, and everything that’s right in the world. And it’s not enough. I want, no need, more. I grab his neck and pull him closer. He growls and grabs my head to tilt it to his liking so he can deepen the kiss. I’m putty in his hands by the time he eases up and pulls back. What. Just. Happened?
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage every once in a while to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. Another job change, this time from lawyer to B&B owner and I was again fed up and ready to scream I quit, which is incredibly difficult when you own the business. Thus, I shut the B&B during the week and in the off-season and started writing. Several books later I find myself in Istanbul writing full-time.