Do Writers Sleep? Are Our Words the Dream?


I constantly question this as I find myself working to the dimmed cast of a computer or TV.  I remember driving for Metro Transit in the Seattle area on the night shift.  There was one route where the bus had a layover in a residential neighborhood and all you could do is turn off the bus and wait to head back downtown.  This was long before Kindle made its presence and your only option was to talk on your cell (no one else was up at the time except other drivers on the road like you), or read a book by flashlight.  The people in that neighborhood wanted the bus service, but didn’t like to hear the airbrakes, the sound of the bus running, or the feel of the 60 foot troglodyte vibrating their homes if a driver unwittingly took the speed above 5 mph along their tightly vehicle-lined corridors to main thoroughfares.  So I sat in the cooling dark and one house was always lit up on the top floor in the same way my home is lit these days.  The man sat in front of his computer enslaved to whatever activity his computer dictated.  He was always in casual clothes and his attention never strayed from the Internet Goddess diffusing his features with the same blue cast.  I remember thinking how cool it would be to work from home like that instead of trolling the streets for the often forgotten and neglected of society.  Night shift drivers usually transported homeless people from downtown to a night shelter including those who refused this miniscule convenience.  They literally rode the buses all night sleeping until the last bus was recalled to the bases.  They usually only had to wait a little more than an hour before the next day’s routes rolled out where they finished their slumber until the business crowd reluctantly joined them.  Bathing was optional—until the driver couldn’t handle the smell anymore.  So I sat thinking of the tranquility that this man’s low light computer interaction belied to me.  Who knows, maybe he wasn’t a writer; maybe he was a financial trader desperately trying to work out the market nightmares that had started to show its weaknesses back then.  Maybe he was engaged in a fantasy world of gaming conquests.  Maybe he was a beta-tester for Facebook or Microsoft platforms like my cousin was.  Maybe he just didn’t want to deal with the woman wearing his ring that had provided him with beautiful children or possibly a chain around his neck.  Who knows, but it is interesting to realize that I am sitting here around the same time he was, writing, thinking, and wondering if sleep is as natural as they claim.  When I was younger and responsibilities were taken as seriously as “Rea-Al-It-tee” TV shows, my two favorite activities were sex and sleep.  I often complained that I didn’t get enough of either and when a choice had to be made on which was going to get my attention…. it depended on how much longer I could stay up.  I ran on fumes perpetually sleeping about 2-3 hours in two or thee days.  My friends often asked me when I had last slept, but I was usually too tired to figure it out.  Eventually I would start dream talking with my eyes open. Half the time I was answering the people in my dreams and the other half of the time I was answering my friends who kept asking me “What are you talking about?”

 

Maybe it’s just me, but night seems to be the most conducive time for me to write.  You rarely receive phone calls (well sometimes I do because I have been called “she-who-never-sleeps.”)  The dogs are asleep.  After sex…well the 2nd or 3rd installment, I was wide-awake.  What better inspiration than a delicious tactile encounter.  Other inspirations were the intriguing passenger characters that rode the big bus at night; they didn’t all sleep.  Daylight seems almost too invasive for hardcore connections of the mind.  I do it, mostly for college, but those scholarly journal researches need to be done in the bright of daylight, some of them are a little, ahem, dry!  I do miss sleep and always sex.  Can anyone every get enough of either?  Come on I’m not even a nymphomaniac!  Sleep will come.  It always drops down on me when I force my brain to stop with a nice inspirational audio book like Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting by Dr. Wayne Dyer.  Anything that focuses my attention on my goals lifts me to the sandman’s palace.  I just need to put the headphones in and I be dreaming!

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