Up at 6 AM, as is more or less usual for me (a) at this time of year, and (b) when the work schedule is like it is at the moment: the body is running on its nerves a little bit, and tends to wake right up after it’s had enough sleep to deal with the necessary REM activity and get rid of the lactic acid.
Also assisting me in this business of getting up are some of the birds around here. There are two that stand out.
One is a highly territorial blackbird which has decided to make its stand out in the entwined holly tree / elder tree on the west side of the house. The damn thing is piercing in volume, and astonishing in the variety of other birds’ songs it sings when it gets bored with its own. It makes me think of that night over at C.J. Cherryh’s, so long ago, when a mockingbird up on her chimney so annoyed us both with its deafening singing in what should have been the dead of night that Carolyn was strongly tempted to shoot it. (That was the night we stayed up to watch anime and drank sufficient akvavit to begin to understand Japanese. At least it seemed that way at the time.)
The other avian offender is an invisible presence in the beeches on the north side of the house. We refer to this creature as “the Bee-Wee Bird,” because that’s what it says: “Bee-wee. Bee-wee. Bee-wee.” Over and over and OVER… I would shoot it with pleasure, if I had a gun, but I don’t; and if I go looking for it with a hand-and-a half-broadsword, or even Peter’s new rapier, the neighbors will talk.
Never mind: I probably just need some caffeine. Peter was up all night with the Ring script again, and was incredibly hoarse this morning as a result. (When he’s intent on his writing, he subvocalizes, so that after one of these long-haul stints, when he actually speaks aloud, he sounds very like Marlon Brando.) This all-night work is his forte — he’s always been the owl to my lark — but it means that sometimes we hardly see each other during the more intense parts of a project. Or our paths cross only briefly in the afternoons, when he gets up around 2 (having fallen over around 7 AM, usually). We chat, lay plans, then get back to work, pausing to feed the cats and ourselves, every now and then. Other activities (shall we say “fraternization”) can just wait until after deadline. Manwhile, I fall over around 11 PM to the sound of typing, typing, typing in the next room (P’s office is across the landing from our bedroom).
(small wry smile here) All you “I want to be a writer” types: beware. You might get your wish.