When I wake up, I do not panic. I turn around and enjoy the darkness. I capture my enjoyment of it—the silence, my breathing, and tracing the bizarre shapes floating on the ceiling—in long lazy stretches. But too quickly, it slips through my fingers like water in cupped hands.
Pop! And my brain takes over. It is 1 a.m. on Friday and I don’t have a post for Sunday, which is when I update my blog.
My idea book is filled with words, phrases, whole paragraphs even, written when inspiration caught me mid-cooking, mid-vacuuming, mid-driving, mid-praying, and mid-listening-to-the-C.E.O.-at-the-company-meeting. Each spree ends with the acronym T.B.D.L. (to be developed later). Words that I imagined would bring me fame, have lain there, on hiatus, waiting to be developed later.
This small exercise book is a contradiction of who I am, for I am as organised as the T that begins my name. However, here, my words begin inside the margin and jump the lines, leaping over the light blue boundaries that would suffocate my creativity. I recognise the frenzy of inspiration and the rush of words tumbling from my mind, in my illegible handwriting.
As I scan through, in the glow of my bedside lamp, nothing I read seizes my attention. I cannot strike the balance between what I want to write and what I think my readers want to read, so I power my laptop. If I read other blogs, perhaps I will find it.
Browsing is an apt term for what I do. Channel surfing paints a truer picture. I join the millions who roam the internet foraging for content. Too much choice is a bad thing. It can leave you undernourished instead of well-fed. Skimming headlines, clicking links, scanning blocks of text, skimming headlines again, I am a victim of “content anorexia”. I eat, but I do not digest, never able to hold anything down.
After a while, I see the word diaspora. It is spelt with a capital D in the middle of a sentence, a straight line and a curve that scream my name. Something doesn’t feel right. The pieces come together. Aha, I have spelt diaspora with a small d on my blog.
My weakness shows when my strength is magnified. It is painful to watch. Perfectionism drives me to find the post on my blog. Perfectionism drives me to start a Google search. Too much choice is a bad thing. I cannot cover the 3,647,400 results, which Google search engines deliver in 0.29 seconds, but I can try.
Diaspora from the Greek, meaning scattering, dispersion…. Diaspora, often initial capital letter…. Spell check the word diaspora on our website…. the body of Jews living in countries outside Israel…. African diaspora… the slave trade and its effects…. Diaspora cultures … the dispersion of communities throughout the world. The diaspora of English into several mutually incomprehensible languages…. The Polish diaspora amounts to 40 million… How to say diaspora in Swahili…
When my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., I think about three things:
One, that this is the alarm before the real alarm. It is the alarm that I “snooze” while I attempt a half-sleep, punctuated by thoughts of the real alarm.
Two, that I was right. I had spelt diaspora correctly with a small d, which was suitable for my context. This small victory does not bring elation.
Three, that I do not yet have a blog post for Sunday.
My eyelids now feel as though cement bags were dropped on them. And adrenaline departs from me in waves, rousing pain in my limbs. I know much more about diaspora than I ever intended to know. In secondary school, a teacher once said that no knowledge is ever wasted. What will I do with all this information I gathered about diaspora, information that is already fading away, slipping as I am, under my sheets?
The real alarm buzzes at 6:15 a.m., and I “dismiss” it without thinking, for nature exacts her pound of flesh.
When I wake up again, I panic. Light streams through the blinds and I know I need a miracle. 7:05 a.m., in the shower. 7:13 a.m., dressed. I have never put on make-up in the train, but there is always a first time. My black bag is big enough to hold my life, so I toss the things I need and the things I think I will need inside, and because I cannot remember if I brushed my teeth, I fling in my toothbrush and toothpaste for good measure.
7:19 a.m., I begin the sprint. I see a man walking his dog, shoulders hunched up, chin half-buried inside his coat, in contrast, my coat is open, its tails flapping in the wind. And for once the cold is my friend.
7:23 a.m., I stumble into the bus. So, what if people are staring at me? When I flop into my seat, I drink in gulps of air and think, Usain Bolt ain’t got nothing on me; no, nothing, except age! Up diaspora!
© Timi Yeseibo 2013
Image title: cartoon couple 04 vector
Image credit: Center Spiral Notebook by Tom Kuhlmann http://community.articulate.com/downloads/p/667.aspx#
image designs: © Timi Yeseibo 2013
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