It’s 11:45 p.m. Do you know where your sleep is?

I can’t find mine. I’ve fallen into the habit of not being able to settle down to write until after 10 or 11 at night, and not finishing up and being able to try to sleep till after midnight or 1 a.m. And then, sometimes, not even then. It’s wreaking havoc with my daylight hours; I am drowsy and nod off at my desk, I nap at lunch, I am bleary and unfocused. I yawn all day. I want to train myself out of it – make myself go to bed earlier, forsake my laptop, do all the things they say you’re supposed to do for good mental and physical health – but then I won’t get any writing done, and now that I’ve started again it’s like a flood of words in my head and I Have To Get Them Out. Or what, I don’t know.

Part of this is because there are so many things I want to NOT forget, and if I don’t write about them, I am afraid I will. No, I know I will. W used to say he took pictures so he wouldn’t forget the things that we did; I wrote words. So many words! Furiously, as fast as could get them from my brain to the keyboard. So I wouldn’t forget.

I was reminded of that tonight, when I read an email from a friend who is writing a book on sex and grief, and wondered if I would be willing to contribute a few words. In her email, she pointed to several posts I had made in the days after W’s death, and just before things got “real” with Viper. I was a little hesitant when I saw the posts – could I go read them without feeling all those feelings again? Would it still hurt? Like photos, I’ve been very careful with what I go back and read. V had had me promise him, actually, to give him a heads-up if I was doing so, so he could prepare himself for the fall out, whatever that looked like. We never knew what it would be – sorrow, defeat, bitterness, withdrawal, despair. Even anger.

I didn’t feel any of those things. Well, sadness a bit, yes, but it was a gentle kind of sadness – but more than that what I felt was…gratitude. To my previous self for leaving those words there for my now-self to read. I had forgotten those feelings. No, I don’t want to feel them again, I don’t want to relive them, but they are part of me, and I want to know them. I want to remember who I was then, and know who I am now. And I want to give that to future me, too.

So I sit here, watching the clock as I pound away at the keyboard, knowing I will be wiped out tomorrow, but unable to contemplate sleep while I have all these words clamoring to get out.

Comments

  1. Brigit Delaney

    I totally get it. I get up at 5 just to have time to read or write. If I write, I often find myself unable to quit, and then I’m late. The call to write can be deep and necessary. But your body needs rest. I understand a busy life, one that doesn’t easily offer time for writing. And I also have sent myself to bed early only to find myself tossing and turning with ideas. Maybe you could try time blocking? It isn’t a perfect solution, but it does ensure a specific amount of dedicated time for things. And maybe use a timer? I find if I write right before bed or right when I get up, those are the times I am most likely to go over my alloted times. But they are also the times my mind is the most open. I guess what I’m saying is, I understand and wish you the best. Just take care of yourself.

    Reply
  2. J. Lynn

    Hi Jade, thank you for “putting to paper” what many of us experience. I do my best writing first thing in the morning and late at night as well. Which of course are the most inconvenient times as I’m trying to get the family going for the day and then get a sort of decent amount of sleep to do it all over again.
    I love this post as I put up one similar not too long ago called Frenzy. There are just so many ideas and I know I’ll forget what I really wanted to say if I don’t get them down right away. I started using a Writer’s tools app in order to jot down the important things like people/characters, main ideas, and little things that may be important. That way if I don’t have enough time to write it all at once at least I didn’t lose the idea.
    You may already have something like this, but thought I would share. It has helped me get past the 11:45pm do you know why your brain won’t shut up phase lol. Good luck!

    Reply

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