Just 15 minutes….

The clock is having a staring contest with me.

It just rolled to 9:46 AM, and I’ve challenged myself to write for 15 (now 14) minutes. This isn’t a post about making it count. This is the self-brainstorming 15 (now 13) minutes that I give myself when I am looking at a blank page and wanting to create something brilliant.

In looking at the gap between 14 and 13, I’m now thinking I’m a slow typist.

I could write about the way that I watched 35 people start singing from the same book of music this week (not literally – but figuratively – because ACQUISITIONS ARE FUN!) I could write about the squirrels chasing each other through the trees right now that are keeping Bug’s active attention. I could also write about the now 11 minutes I have left to come up with SOMETHING BRILLIANT.

But I know that brilliance in 11 minutes or less is left for another day.

I’m tired… and now I’m thinking about Mrs. Dalloway.

Because when I said/thought, “I’m tired,” my next thought was “I should just stream of consciousness this bitch and get it over with.” So – of course – at that moment, my watch would flinch and say “TIME TO STAND!”

To which I firmly and in no uncertain terms told the face of my twitching, glowing watch – DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

9 minutes left.

Back to Mrs. Dalloway… she was so concerned about her party… the flowers, the seating chart, the people, the conversation. What did it all mean? Especially against the backdrop of Septimus Smith – such a refined name – losing his mind and eventually plunging to his death, just as Richard did in The Hours. I remember when I wanted to be moody, because I equated moody with interesting, thoughtful and intelligent. I did not equate moody with difficult nor unlovable, but I think that’s what it actually made me. Moody meant living outside the moment. It meant taking all the power and energy of creating something in that particular space and sucking it into a hole inside my heart and churning it into dust that I could save for a moment when – on a gray and gloomy Saturday morning with just five minutes – I could pout on the couch and act like I was More Important Than Whatever It Was You Wanted to Talk To Me About.

My inner editor is fighting its instinct to scroll back up and read all of that in the precious under four minutes I have left. I definitely need to work on my accuracy so I’m not wasting time hitting the Delete key so often. I’m backing into three minutes left to come up with a prompt. Mrs. Dalloway, when you were so concerned with your party, did you stop to hope that connections would be made? Because I think now that I need to go find you again on your pages and read it with 26 more years of experience than I read you the first time. I feel like I’ve known you my entire life – and yet now, perhaps, not at all.

Less than 2 minutes. I could write about the connections I made. Or my wingman (wing woman?) telling me about the recon she did to determine who of our attendees I had the most in common with and how I should reach out to them.

Making those connections – I can’t force or contrive them. I’m not the one to step forward and be that connector. But maybe in the last few seconds of my 15 minutes… I need to be.

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