The trick here is not to get overly involved in writing. It’s 2:30 a.m., a normal time for me to wake up and be sure there is no sense lying in bed hoping for sleep to return. So begins a well-known dance of mine. Rule One is Don’t Get On the Computer. So I’ve already broken that one. The computer offers too many stimulating distractions, too many prairie dog holes to explore. The most reliable formula for resuming sleep is to read a novel, perhaps with some tea or, in the case of this week’s chest cold, a vitamin C packet in water. Rule Two is Don’t Read the Newspapers. They like to arrive early in the morning on my Kindle, though not this early. The digital paper boy is still asleep. But if I’d awoken at, say, 3:30 a.m. instead of 2:30, there would be the Financial Times to avoid on the Kindle. And there is always a copy of The New Yorker to set aside. Rule Three is Don’t Write Anything. It simply goes without saying that the process of watching my words arrive on a screen or even a piece of lined paper is too energizing, too stimulating to accept the lulling back to bed and a few more hours of restful oblivion.
So I’m breaking all the rules here tonight, except that I’ll go fetch some of that Vitamin C drink…. It’s called Emergen-C Immune Defense, and this time I went with Ruby Lemon Honey flavor. The only concession I’ve made to the rules so far is that I don’t have a plan for a theme or some clever turn of the writing toward something Worthwhile. I’m just enjoying the feel of the MacBook Air’s keys beneath the pads of my fingers. The one-week typing course I took at Wayland High School one summer during high school was the most valuable single week of my education.
The truth is I miss writing. I used to set aside several hours each morning to work on preparing my packets for teachers while I was toiling for my master’s degree in poetry at Bennington. Now those hours are vaguely classified as creative, even if I’m working on the condo Board’s decision in a Pet Policy fine hearing. When I’m putting together a podcast the gap doesn’t seem so far, from the level of creativity I used to insist on each morning and how my mornings go now. I blame Twitter, mostly. But I’m not going to tumble all the way into daylight-level mind energy by putting up a coherent statement on that topic. I love, Twitter, too. Rule Four is If You Violate Rule One, There’s Still Hope if You Don’t Check “Just One or Two Tweets.”
So I’ll stop there, and I won’t hunt for a photo or graphic to adorn this night notes. I’ll move to a chair in the living room and settle into the final pages of The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling. You might think it’s a bad choice, with it’s dismal sci fi view of the world in 2060. But it’s a novel, a world that’s other than the one that awaits me when morning officially comes. I’ll unsleep the Kindle and read it slowly until my eyes close for a moment, then a few moments, until I’m sleeping more than I’m reading and I can sleepwalk back to bed for the rest of the evening. That’s how it usually goes, even when I’m breaking most of the rules.
Rule Five: If you break Rules One and Rule Three, DO NOT REVIEW AND EDIT. Send the night notes into the night as if you dreamed them….