I’ve been something of an insomniac my whole life. Bear in mind, of course, that I have no medical training, so me declaring myself an insomniac is rather similar to a person who has no idea what a carburetor does (don’t worry, I do) talking about internal combustion engine hiccups. Whatever the technical name for it, I lie awake pretty much every night with my brain running like the gerbil convinced he’s actually headed somewhere worth going on his wheel. I’m not usually anxious about anything; it’s not that I can’t sleep because I’m upset or nervous or beating myself up about something. I simply cannot turn my brain off.
Last night, I went to bed shortly before midnight. That’s a pretty good bedtime for a weekend. I am most certainly a night-owl and I would work all night and sleep late into the afternoon if I could find a job that would let me do so. Since I’ve never wanted to be a blackjack dealer or a nurse, those jobs aren’t for me. Even though it was technically still a “weekend,” my Monday morning to-do list started hollering at me as soon as my head hit the pillow. All the teachers out there know my list woes: it is pretty much impossible to enjoy Sunday at all because thoughts of Monday start beating at the door like an attacking army–and firing flaming arrows at my shingles–well before noon.
Anyway, there I was last night, thinking about school, thinking about all the crap I have to accomplish before Spring Break, and willing my brain to shut down and let me rest. Finally, I used my teacher voice and told my brain to just quit with the damn school already.
Amazingly, my brain complied. Then it picked something else to run circles around.
It shifted me into thinking, simultaneously, about two manuscripts I have in process. I don’t know how my mind decides to stage a ping pong match between two very different pieces of fiction at that time of the early, early morning, but mine did. The very pathetic thing about a ping pong game between me and me is the fact that I’m pretty much sure to lose.
Here’s what I came up with. One plotline is going to involve gangrene. I sort of knew I would have to incorporate rotting flesh into the story to roll with the guilt complex I’ve seeded for my protagonist, but the bits came together last night. Putrefaction and guilt go together like Cheez Whiz and toast, man. The second plotline, which will be a reworking of my 3-Day Novel from 2011, is going to have a human skeleton worked into a number of main scenes, and not in a CSI way. If anyone has information about the skeletons used in teaching hospitals, I’d love to hear from you; accuracy is sort of important here. I’m not planning to overhaul the novella I wrote, just hoping to build it into a full-length piece of fiction. Oddly, as much of a ray of sunshine as I appear here at Blue Speckled Pup, my fiction is dark, dark, dark.
I really toyed with the idea of getting up to write last night. There were moments when I really did start wondering where I left my glasses before I turned off the light so I could do something productive on my laptop. Unfortunately, Sunday reminded me I have to mark a heap of stuff before the new school week, and getting up to write something unrelated would be a major blow to my productivity for my paid job.
Solution: someone offer me a paid job writing. I promise I will work all night if need be to finish, sometimes more than one piece at a time. I’m a trooper like that.
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