Morning thoughts


Analogy for an early morning mind

Every single morning I wake up full of thoughts. Do you?  Embarrassing confession: I find them remarkably interesting. They start in my head and gallop around until they reach a certain point of satisfaction, then flow out my feet, treating my body like a drain pipe.

Because I live alone, nobody hears my morning thoughts or gives me feedback. When I lived with the Professor, I would tell him my morning thoughts (or dreams) as soon as he woke up. In the end, he found this intolerable; he likes to wake slowly and calmly, I suppose.

If I ponder one of these thoughts in company with friends during the day, this usually interrupts the communal flow of conversation. They exist in a satisfactory way inside my own head, like hermits. If I attempt to talk about them in company, they often flap around like black crows. Their natural environment is in my brain, before I flush them out.

I don’t put them down on paper: I just put them down, as in animal euthanasia. I have no idea whether the same thoughts regenerate and circulate again and again, perhaps in a spiral. Am I repeating myself to myself?

Miracles on the fly

This question interests me because sometimes I am positively thrilled with my morning thoughts. I think, “Wow! I wonder whether anybody in the history of the human race has ever thought that thought!”

A thought will feel amazing, surprising, and above all unique when it has allowed itself to be thunk past three or even two stages. That’s the difference between a thought and an idea. No PhD theses or 24-volume novels spring up ready-to-write in the early hours; but sometimes the potential manifests itself.

Are they worth trapping?

What if I wrote down my morning thoughts every day for a year? Then I’d see how much cogitation recurs, how much goes down the drain forever, and how much develops over time, building upon itself.

One day I woke a bit too early, and started wondering whether I would think anything worthwhile or useful or interesting this morning. (Note the elitism emerging already.) And then, assuming the worst, I started wondering whether I might cheat, by recycling something I thought a day or two ago.

How daft. I thought for a moment that I would jot down a few of my pre-6 a.m. thoughts without censorship or judgement.  Yet immediately this seemed like a chore—instantly changing the essential nature of any poor little morning thoughts that might struggle past the sentries.

Thinking in Marrakech

That week I was staying in Marrakech for a family event, which doubtless generated surplus thinking time. The traffic is unpredictable. You’re walking down a narrow lane, maybe empty, maybe packed with people and stalls, when whoosh! out of nowhere, a car or motorbike or donkey-cart crashes around a corner and misses you by a whisker.

Anyway, bear with me, I’m laying the groundwork for an analogy.

I discovered that I experience danger in a different way from three of my sisters. When death misses them by a millimetre, they jump, they are momentarily scared, as anyone with half a brain should be. But apparently I’m wired badly. The situation might be genuinely dangerous, but I found it amusing, as if the world was putting on a pantomime for my benefit.

The death rate from traffic accidents in Marrakech is high, I am told.

Was that a thought?

So far, I have recounted an anecdote plus an observation. I’m not sure that deserves the grand label of “a thought.” My mind is just a toy, and I like to play with it. Morning thoughts are not right or wrong, but sometimes strange and funny—to me. They’re not brilliant or moral or enormous or inspiring or alarming. Just entertaining.

Like the traffic in Marrakech.

P.S. Self defence instincts are three, not two.

  1. Flight.
  2. Fight.
  3. Write.

THIS POST was written in October 2014 and transferred from a non-Wordpress blog. Comments were as follows:

Mike Wilkinson:

Good to read your post Rachel. I wake up early in the morning and ponder on thoughts. I find early morning the most creative time for me. Some thoughts I add to which sometimes translate into action, while other thoughts sit on the drawing board waiting for another time.

Deborah Dennis:

Amazing that u wake up full of thoughts…I usually think I want to sleep more…I think u should write them down for a year and then look back on them

Rachel McAlpine

Why don’t you do the same thing too? You might be surprised. Or not!

The rhythm of idea-generation is something that interests me too. If it peaks at a certain time of day, is that because of your own circadian rhythms, or just because that’s a quiet time for you?


9 thoughts on “Morning thoughts

  1. Robyn Haynes says:

    I’m not alonnneee! Spelling is dodgy but does that have the desired effect? I simply want to convey I have them too – these ‘morning thoughts’. Sometimes I have them on waking and often they visit when I’m on my early morning walks around my neighbourhood. Whenever they occur I’m grateful and happily let them off the leash for an unfettered run.
    So glad to have found you again Rachel. Lovely post!

    1. Thank you for your comments: they mean a lot. They mean my morning thoughts are not just hooting into an empty room but heard and played with by at least one person.
      I have not mastered WordPress which is why I disappeared for a while. But the community is so interesting that eventually this will be my weekend residence online.

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        Ha ha! Mine too. I have met so many interesting people with thought provoking perspectives

  2. toutparmoi says:

    OK. My morning thoughts usually run along the lines of, I’d cut my throat for a dollar. Fortunately things always look better after breakfast. And, BTW, there are 4 self defence instincts, not 3. Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Talk Your Way Out of It. I could never understand what evolutionary purpose the human ability to tell porkies served until I figured that one out. (And I didn’t do it in the morning.) Of course, number 4 leads to writing – especially fiction.

    1. Clearly you are a night thinker. (We all have our moments.) Talking-your-way-out-of-it has sub-categories. It’s best to be skilled in least four: falsehoods, flattery, fudging it and fiction.

  3. roshendalal says:

    I wake up full of thoughts too–and go through the day full of thoughts, and end the day full of thoughts!
    At times I write them down. If I read them years later, I am amazed–who is the person who wrote that? I no longer know.
    Enjoyed reading about your experiences in Marrakech–come to India–you will have many such experiences!

    1. I know exactly what you mean: the pixies were responsible. However, I often don’t know what I meant, two weeks later. I tell myself nothing is wasted.
      Thanks for reading! I’ve been once to Delhi for a conference, and once to Bangladesh for a wedding. Still hoping for opportunities to revisit that astounding continent.

      1. roshendalal says:

        Delhi is my favourite city. What sort of conference? And a wedding in Bangladesh! Next time you have an opportunity to visit, come here.

  4. Really! It was a conference on technical communication. Your area sounds enchanting.

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