Brewster, NY – I never understood the practice of waking and baking. You just refreshed. Waking and creating, sure. But, why would one…?
Lifestyle choices aside, many months ago, my collaborator and I had the good fortune of being granted a writing residency at Space at Ryder Farm in Brewster, NY. We applied for many residencies but this is the one that he wanted the most. To work on a farm while having time to write felt correct to him. And clearly, I agreed, because I am here. But something else feels right to me as well. A nap.
It’s been a few short years since I have begun writing with any actual intention to publish or produce and thus far, for me, the secret to being generative, not brilliant, generative, is quite simple. Solitude and a good ol’ fashioned nap. The nap is the key part.
Those who have written along side me on the beautiful wicker furniture on the old wooden porch at The O’Neill report that I begin to nap with a computer open on my lap, lifting my head suddenly and with weary eyes begin to write. The sounds of the birds on high. The ocean breeze washing over me. All the colors of the world around me in technicolor. The scents in the air crisp in clean. I wake and write. Well, type. For some time, I defended this “technique” as meditation. Then, I perfected it.
A few summer’s back, I found myself at the Nantucket Island School of Design and the Arts on a different residency. In the living room of my cottage were two twin beds placed at a 90 degree angle in the corner, just inside the screen door. A sectional of sorts if you will. One, I used as couch. The other, the one that ran alongside the window so that I could take advantage of the ocean breeze, was designated for 2:30 naps. Every day, like clock work, you could find me there, relaxing my muscles from head to toe. (It’s a skill). By 3:30, I’d find myself writing in my notebook or typing away through dinner. On very long work days, I might stop for a cup of coffee or perhaps a cocktail. But those vices, or devises for some, rarely brought me ideas.
So here I am, on a new and wonderful retreat, two twin beds once again at my disposal, and I am ready to get to work. My collaborator is back in Brooklyn sending me notes and edits as we speak. But here on the farm, I am prepared to see if my theory will remain in tact:
“If one is most creative right when they wake, shouldn’t they wake more times per day?”
Well now that the nap is out of the way… I’ll find out.