The term came out of one of those word jazz sessions Kristiana, M. Lee and I were having the other day, at my expense. At the time it was FiveOWriMo. Later I changed it to FiveOWriteO or its colloquial fiveowriteo. Of course, both are based on the now famous NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which has, over the years, kicked a significant number of people off their duffs to take the plunge, resulting in huge gobs and boatloads of words getting launched during the month of November and some manuscripts actually becoming published works of whatever. Even I managed to assemble 50,000 words one November spurred on by the collective frenzy. Don't ask. The deal with FiveOWriteO is to write for five minutes everyday, one day at a time. Of course, a commitment to write five, f-i-v-e, 5 little minutes a day will only be of interest to individuals suffering from writer's block, which includes me. "Writers write, Owen" . Smirk all you like, writer's block is a drag. So, of course, the important thing about a FiveOWriteO is the word "write" because write is a verb.
And yes, I've been telling myself for years to set a daily time and write. I used to tell myself to write four hours a day. When I failed at that I lowered the time to two hours a day, that became one, then one half-hour, which worked until it didn't.
I've been doing my fiveowriteo for about a month now and have gotten quite attached to this little morning interlude. God, that must sound so pathetic. I am embarrassed to discuss it, even here, but now Roy at Blogorahma has upped the stakes and started occasionally posting his five minutes worth (thanks a lot, Roy). His, of course, are good. Mine are not and they are really short but, these days, I'm grateful to be writing at all so, in the spirit of fun and fair play, I am posting this morning's fiveowriteo.
It's hard to make a beginning without a starting point. I do not have one. I start over and over from the middle of nowhere. Is it some kind of twisted snobbery to forego a beginning? A foundation? An idea? The spiral continues its twist. Over and over, Billy (Collins) starts at his window. It is not his privilege alone, something he himself makes abundantly clear. "The poets are at their windows." And I am at mine only, for now, my window is the screen porch.
I am sitting in my screen porch. It is morning. The black birds are at work on the peanuts and seeds. It is 2:26 PM in Addis Ababa. I have never been to Addis Ababa but have wondered about it since I was a child. It's storybook name did, and does, require it have narrow, winding, sand-colored, not streets, but passageways opening occasionally into markets or bazaars alive with people, animals, wares and food of every description and ablaze with color and sweltering in the shade of makeshift canopies and tents and throbbing with a cacophony of voices and music and people looking down on the scene from their tiny balconys leaning out from the surrounding sand-colored buildings and all this, childhood and Addis Ababa, far, far away from Alligator Creek and the dive-bombing black birds who have, in the time it took to go there and come back, snatched all the peanuts from under Frida Kahlo the Squirrel's memorial pineapple palm tree before the squirrels get any because they just arrived late again.
Friday by Roy deGregory
Monday by Billy Collins