It’s a very real possibility that yesterday I stumbled on the first line of the book I’m writing. When it arose in my mind, as I was falling back asleep after Eric and the dogs left for an early morning hike, that may have been the zero hour.
Or maybe it was later, when I wrote it down in my notebook, let myself follow that beginning for the length of a whole page.
Or maybe it was eleven years ago when the moment I was writing about actually happened.
Or was it that night almost 25 years ago when I stood over my first husband in the dark of the bedroom that had been ours, the night before our apartment was supposed to be vacated, when I’d already been gone for a month and I’d come back to do a final cleaning only to find him still living there, asleep in what had been our bed, and he told me he didn’t want a divorce, “please don’t leave me,” and I felt such compassion for him, knew I’d promised, made that exact vow, but also knew that by leaving I was saving my own life, so answered “it’s too late, I’m already gone.”
Or was it when I married Eric, my true partner, my only real husband? Was it when I went back to school, or when I finished my graduate degree? Was it when I first saw Obi, or was it when he was diagnosed with a treatable but incurable cancer, or was it when he died? Was it the moment Kelly passed, or was it later, in the moment I knew she was gone? Was it when I started Warrior training? Was it when I started this blog? Was it the moment when I made my first Mondo Beyondo list and I added this book to it? Was it on my meditation cushion or writing morning pages in the Rigden Shrine Room at the Shambhala Mountain Center during the Fearless Creativity retreat with Susan Piver?
Or maybe it was earlier still, in the second grade, when I first made the wish to be a writer when I grew up, the year Mrs. Heilbronner took to calling me “my little author.” Or maybe it was when I first learned to talk, to use language and words to communicate my experience, to name what I needed, what I loved.
Or maybe the true zero hour for this book was the day I was born.
It’s so strange to me still, how you can just start, simply begin, not even realizing until later, and even then not be entirely sure which exact moment was your zero hour.