Asher Jay
The Wild Creative


Studio updates and Field Notes

The Sunrise Expedition

January 4 2018

Another day to cherish another attempt to begin this book that I have been yearning to author since I coined it’s title in the Seventh Grade. The title is no longer applicable, but would have done exceedingly well as a best seller had I finished writing it by the ripe age of 21. This particular attempt was a lofty one, it integrated a most serious form of commitment to literary excellence - footnotes! It was inscribed in 2005 when I lived in a three story apartment in the Garden State.

Attempt 9

Yesterday I felt thoroughly impelled to record the sunrise in Hoboken, New Jersey, for reasons beyond my comprehension. To satiate this sudden urge to document an occurrence that I had predominantly witnessed only as a work of fiction thanks to Gnid Blyton, I decided that five alarms would be necessary to rouse me. Waking oneself when one’s memory distinctly recalls that no Starbucks outlets will be open can be quite the daunting challenge! Sensing my circadian rhythm’s reluctance I also called my roommate and asked her to throw me out of bed bright and early. She never sleeps so conscripting her to this duty of a more tactile alarm service was not of much concern to anyone in this world, besides she felt inspired and wanted to join me on this noble venture. I set one alarm under my bed, one atop my work table, one within my wardrobe, one atop the dresser, and one more by the sofa bed on the lower level…how many alarms is that? Arithmetic has never been my strong suit, so that was five to the count yes? At any rate I did wake up bright and early, empathizing profoundly with all the worms that were nourishing bird entrails[1],  and on soporific slow crawl to the piers we were passed by these two black or African American[2] blokes by a Deli. As their car sped out of its stationary inertia into its full gas guzzling, fuel inefficient glory, I distinctly heard one of them go “OwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwOwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwOwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww”


(My roommate): What in the world was that?

(Me): Horny Ebonics?

 Now this anecdote has nothing to do with the actual entries I logged at the pier, but since being pointless comes natural to anyone from not just England but the entire Commonwealth, I decided to indulge myself. I am self-assured that I have utterly kindled your interest with my inconclusive narrative style, and you simply cannot wait to read more about this riveting sun rise as observed from a most exotic, New Jersey. To oblige your anecdotal appetite I have typed out my journal entry from that morning, complete with footnotes. Feel free to read on past the cash register…

Jay’s Log (so named because it sounds like my morning deuce).

The Skyline at 6:00 a.m. was beneath a canopy of darkness, a scenic stillness that was interrupted only by the mottled gliding gulls, that settled by my side in hopes of stealing from me my jam sandwich. The twilight zone, which left me expecting nothing short of axe-murderers and serial rapists, slowly embraced a muddied orange light that eerily illuminated the horizon to the east. The landscape relieved of its cloak of darkness, suddenly grew less crime and death toll oriented, and all ideas relating to being jumped by dedicated killers evaporated with the rising hope of an open Starbucks.


6:07 a.m.: The south bears witness to dawn first and foremost, where the light reflects off the glass and concrete in the financial district. I hear the bird calls and the piercing cries of the gulls against the lulling sound of the Hudson. The waves intermittently deliver fresh coats of moisture to the piers, aided by the wind, whose multi-tasking ingenuity also blew my curls into ever complex knots.

My keen eyes observe another sea gull as it glides and assumes a perch upon the metallic railing barricading me from the cold waters. The George Washington Bridge to the north is clouded by a hazy shroud of reddish tangerine. The expanse of sky, interrupted by erected brick and mortar artifice, brightens, and to my left a lone aircraft departs JFK. Aboard the airborne vessel, one is certain to find a bunch of city birds - wired, ill-slept and cranky- being requested to strap on their seatbelts against their New York will.

6:21 a.m.: It is a minute before the precisely documented moment of sunrise, which can be found on the weather channel. I am cold and ill equipped for the hour, with a sweat shirt, sneakers and flannel PJs to shelter me from the elements. The wind is refreshing, carrying the chill of the water directly into my bones. A seagull ventures my way, spackled with brown, still a fledgling in search of its breakfast, perhaps in the form of my toasted jam sandwich… hmmm sneaky little devil. A photographer strides down the boardwalk with a grave sense of purpose, setting up his tripod and advanced photo operating system to capture this morning, to freeze all its fractions of change on to a static frame. 

6:22 a.m. I see the brilliant orange brighten a singular building on the jersey shore. Two buildings of smaller frame come in contact with the same intensity of orange to the south; perhaps on Ellis Island perhaps not– my local geography is akin to my general geography, both are horrendously inaccurate. I sniffle, it is still nippy and I am freezing my knickers off! By now the corner of the pier to my left is teeming with aspiring photographers, all here to capture the sunrise. Another sea gull cries out after my jam sandwich, by now I am thinking that I should have packed a picnic and made some new winged acquaintances. Alas there is a sign, do not feed local wildlife. Maybe not.

There is still no sight of the sun. Every sunrise that I have ever woken up for has lasted a lot longer than I cared for and been a total disaster. My previous attempt to behold a sunrise was over Mount Everest. The Himalayas at the break of dawn involved me catching glimpses of the snowy caps between fits of hurling my insides out onto exposed ground. Everyone was so ecstatic to see embrace the highest peak on the most exciting range with such ardor. I drained the romantic song of the mountains the rest of the climbers had woken up for, right out of that beautiful morning with my symphonic, violent expression of nausea. I was cold then as I am cold now, eternally underdressed and skeptical of the dark!

There is a veritable splash of carrot yellow to the left of the Empire State now. Its radiating aura makes me want to dub it the sun and call the expedition early so I can head on down to Starbucks for a Caramel Macchiato. A committed father walks a stroller; he seems to have replaced the baby with a dog probably due to caffeine deficiency.

6:23 a.m.: I have drawn a keen inference, between the number of people and the number of gulls occupying the piers, the latter increases in population in direct proportion to the prior. Lo and behold, I was right; the ginger halo by the Empire State was indeed the sun! I could have left two minutes ago in search of coffee. Blast! I suppose the earth’s battery was reticent of the cameras, and wanted to figure out its most photogenic angle before it declared its self on our sky. I cannot blame the sun for trying; it must be an embarrassment to continually have its spot activity publicized on NASA’s feed!

6:24 a.m.: The sparrows have alighted onto the piers to peck around on the left over crumbs of my jam sandwich. Ah the sun is here at long last, and I have mustered up enough mitochondrial activity to enjoy witnessing its physical ascension! The warm rays permeate the atmosphere defrosting me from thumb to big toe. To my best knowledge I do not have red hair, but my locks light up a virulent crimson at this hour, and I am happy for the temporary salon treatment, as it is free of charge. It is a gorgeous Saturday morning and I am glad to be alive. The morning has no smell as I am plagued by the sniffles, transferring the mucus back and forth between my nostrils, to temporarily alleviate each nostril of its stuffiness. This would have annoyed the heck out of my roommate but she seem to have fallen asleep, bless her heart. It is finally time for me to head home and work on my assignments. Another jogger, another dog, there is a pattern here, I know it!

I get my much needed cup of steaming hot coffee, and I read the quote on my cup holder, it appears to be crafted specifically for me:

“People don’t read enough. And what reading we do is cursory, without absorbing the subtleties and nuances that lie deep within – wow you’re stopped paying attention haven’t you? People can’t even read a coffee cup without drifting off.”

-      David Shore

(Creative and executive producer of the Television Drama House.)


[1] Early worm dies first remember? I am no bird, I could never arise prior to Starbucks employees, an addiction has forced me to relinquish evolution; ‘Grande Caramel Macchiato.

[2] NOTE TO THE PUBLISHER: Use whichever reference is more politically viable by the time this book is published.

Buildings Before the Break of Dawn by Asher Jay

Buildings Before the Break of Dawn by Asher Jay

Asher Jay