In Search of the Empty Sponge: Good Luck.

The dog is snoring beside me; the family snoozes in upper chambers. So far, I have spent the morning reading and absorbing other people's ideas. What luxuries life extends to those who wake up sneezing at 5 am: allergy medicine, sleeplessness, and precious alone time.

Typically my morning routine is: coffee, computer, create. Today seemed like a good day to do things differently, though. Coffee, computer, catch up—that is, finally read all the posts from a circle of particularly productive friends who are making music, blogging, and writing poetry and posting online. I've been reading, watching, listening to their Facebook posts for a couple of hours.

Among those posts, my friend Kevin Harrington wrote a poem in tribute to the late genius songwriter John Prine. In that poem/song, Kevin said, "If everyone's talking, then no one is listening."

He's so right. For creators, givers, and do-ers, receiving can be a challenge. It doesn't really matter how much time we perceive that we have in life; we're still us, no matter where we go, and absorbing is sometimes a discipline. Absorbing is particularly difficult when you're full to overload.

One lesson of quarantine for me: A full sponge is a full sponge, no matter the size of the puddle—but we all need a squeeze every now and then.

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