Finding Silence One Page at a Time – 20 Months of Morning Pages

In 2002, Journals was released. It’s a collection of Kurt Cobain’s notes, letters, lists, and drawings. It could easily be argued that his music was his liberation, his way of finding nirvana. The collection shines a light on how Cobain thought. It’s an insight into who the man was behind the curtains, not behind the microphone. It helps you understand why he made the music that he did. I use Morning Pages.

For about three years now, I’ve been trying to write so-called Morning Pages. My sister shared the idea with me, and I thought I’d give it a go. As it turns out, I really enjoy it. When I’m working, it’s a bit difficult for me to wake up early enough to write out the pages, which can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. Even though I like to get up at least two hours before I leave work, I need all 120 minutes to wake up. It’s much easier for me to drink coffee, turn on some tunes, and write on a weekend morning.

I think that I’ve kept a journal for nearly 25 years. I remember laying on my bed and writing in a Hilroy notebook with a purple pen. My handwriting was much neater then. In fact, I remember having a red diary with white polka dots on it when I was younger than ten. 36 minus 10 is 26, so I’ve kept a journal for over 25 years.

My last notebook for Morning Pages was by Clairefontaine. It had 96 sheets and 192 pages. I thought I’d finish it in 192 days…it took me 20 months. Before I got this notebook, I was using my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. The analogue version of this exercise is much more satisfying. Nothing beats the feeling of scratching great ink with a beautiful pen on well-made paper.

It took me 20 months to get to this page.

In any case, Morning Pages have a particular purpose. They are meant to be written in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. When I’m still waking up, the gears in my brain are a bit tight and need the coffee to seep in before they loosen up. Granted, I probably think about what I’m writing more than I should. When I do write in a stream-of-consciousness fashion, I feel a great sense of relief as I close my notebook and put my pen back in its box.

Morning Pages set you up for your day in an interesting way. It gives you a moment to process all of the plans that you have for the day. More importantly, maybe, they give you a chance to materialize any lingering thoughts that you may have. For me, I sometimes notice that I’m repeating myself about a certain topic. When I notice this, I like to take some time to think about why that topic hasn’t been resolved yet. My finances come up a lot, and so does my work. There must be a correlation there.

I’m not sure what will happen to all of these pages after I die. I’m not sure that I’ll reach a level of fame by then like Cobain managed to do. I don’t write songs, but blog posts and journal entries. Still, like Cobain, Morning Pages shine a light on how I think, even if only to me. They help give me an understanding of who I am in a way that no other activity can do for me.

My mind is rarely ever quiet. I doubt Cobain’s ever was. A dam is opened when I’m writing, and I experience a bit of silence. I wonder if it was the same for Cobain.

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