I've Taken to Reading the Writer's Almanac

First published September 2011

I've taken to reading The Writer's Almanac
in the morning
before I get up.
It arrives around 2 a.m. into my gmail basket
And joins around 200 I've saved
hoping to read later
but put off so long
that I deleted a hundred a few weeks ago
totally unopened.
It starts with a poem
and that often gets me thinking,
and sometimes thoughts that
shouldn't start a day or even end one
(must I think of Mom and Dad
before I've brushed my teeth?).
Then the birthdays of writers
or actors
or things,
like the Metropolitan Opera House,
or geniuses like Tchaikovsky or Sibelius or Schubert,
although the Composers Datebook,
which joins the Almanac at about the same early hour each day,
has more of those
and sometimes I confuse the two.
But there's the short biography
or biographies
of writers who actually write
or have written
and were read and had thoughts
that I sometimes shared
or more often wondered at
but never wrote down myself.
Should I start the day
thinking like that
or take that dream, that nightmare, that obsession that robbed my sleep,
and chew on it instead
with my oatmeal (instant, not steel cut, no patience)
before turning on the TV
and the computer
and driving all thoughts
of any pedigree
out of my head
for the rest of the day?
Before I get out of bed, I've taken to
fumbling for the android
behind my head
to read the day's arrival
and then delete it.
Next, back to September
to catch up on those
late summer thoughts
and birthdays now long past
and send those to Trash
with the other thoughts
and poems that demand more contemplation
than I can give
while starting the day.
But I must catch up
and clear the Inbox, and
I've decided at least one old Almanac each day,
rewinding through hot and wet August and sticky July,
until the past is erased and I'm back to the daily Almanac
I've taken to opening
first thing in the morning
to nibble on other people's thoughts
to start the day.
Why not?
Perhaps I need find no words of my own at all today.
Rehearsal will have other people's words to learn,
and singing other people's poems to others' musical fancies
to the heart's delight.

Copyright © 2011 by Susan Kirby