These mornings I wake up at Dawn. A ritual I began in January but am just starting to fall into. I am finding the dawn to be a healthy space to wake. The new air is cold and sharp. Some mornings the furnace in our apartment works and the chilled hardwood is warmed and gracious to bare feet. Most days it is still dark and wet outside: too cold for these California bones to shake themselves awake; and so I lay. Try to remember easy things like the time, where I am now, like, right now- easy things… The Milky Way… Third Planet from the Sun…Earth… North America…United States of America… New York State… New York City… Brooklyn… Greenpoint… Sutton Street… the top floor of a three story walk up we have just started to move into.. the center of three rooms.. my bed..my head..my body. I am finding it important to always start the day by reminding myself of where I am; further, by marking a transition between passively experiencing my dreams and the waking activation of them.
The mornings, I am finding, are peace: are these quiet pockets of time when most of the inhabitants of my world sleep. They are these small spaces that span a couple of hours all my own. This time to write (or dance) or be alone, by myself, as I need to be to create these small universes, these intricate new worlds. Indeed, these days I am learning the mechanics of carving out space for this type of work. And O, what a gift the morning has been.
As an emerging writer I am learning everyday what true commitment feels like. What it means to inspire yourself in a tangible way, to write. Write despite the rent, or the lover sleeping beautifully beside you, or the heartbreak, or the days when the work does not slip into poetry as easily as it ought. Write. Write. And be in love with that thing, writing. Be an active lover in a practice that requires you to bend, and respond, and nourish, and live with, and sustain, and protect these glimpses of scenes, these visions of possibility, until they suddenly break into play. Then guide that play back until it again breaks into something bigger than itself: transcendence, acts of kindness, communion.
As an emerging playwright, I am learning the daily intricacies of a practice that yields this kind of art; the kind, like commitment, that loves despite it all.
And love, I am finding, continues to be it all: continues to align, most prominently, the infrastructure of my work. These days, I am learning how best to love; how best to create the healthiest space to work and continue writing plays with a rigor and kindness that comes from having a strong foundation. I am learning what it really means to live sustainably. And for me, these days, sustainability comes from the dawn. Comes from making the decision to sleep the night before, and eat better, and intake less toxins. To break-fast with poetry, and water, and all these gentle things we sometimes forget. These small rituals of health that make waking something more than simply tumbling into and out of another day. I am learning that nourishing my art means nourishing myself.
Never been a morning person
but these days tryna change all that
Cause the morning / my friend / is peace
tucked away from it all / Peace
The holy spirit, for sure, and for the artist
who does not yet art full time
the morning reminds them that dreaming is important work too
That dreaming means putting hands to canvas, fingers to keys
means carving out a space
despite it all.
A-lan is a recent graduate from Stanford University. She is currently developing a new play entitled THE BOTTOM. She wrote this peace (piece) at dawn.
This post is part of a weekly series from the Emerging Writers Group community of playwrights. The EWG is two-year playwriting fellowship at The Public Theater seeking to target playwrights at the earliest stages of their careers. In so doing, The Public hopes to create an artistic home for a diverse and exceptionally talented group of up-and-coming playwrights.