Thursday, 8 January 2015

Nocturnal scufflings

I'm feeling sleepy today.

Lots of things going on in life at the moment; my eldest daughter, a talented swimmer, has been moved up to the next squad at the swimming club and has started training a couple of days a week at 5.30am. Five-thirty-in-the-morning, in other words, and so requires her chariot to be available at about five fifteen and her alarm clock, breakfast-provider, chauffeur and cheerleader to be ready for duty at 5am. This has had knock-on effects on the rest of my life.

Sleepiness. I think this may be the year where I am forced to learn how to push on despite wanting my bed with a longing previously unknown to mankind.

So, here I am taptaptapping with strong coffee.

There's another reason that sleep is at a premium at the moment, and it's rather wonderful. I'm finding that as I settle down to sleep at night, my brain kicks in. While this has never been a positive before, I'm finding that as I let go of rational thought, so to speak, ideas are occurring to me. Little scenes, snatches of dialogue, quirky things to weave into my plot; they're coming to me in the drowsing stages of sleep.

I'm not sure how keen my husband is on this new development, as I am given to sudden lunges for the bedside lamp and then a series of scufflings and rustlings as I find the page in my bedside notebook and scramble for a pen that works (I once wrote down a long and involved dream that somehow seemed vitally important only to find in the morning that the pen I used had no ink in it). No sooner do I empty my brain onto paper and switch out the light than it happens all over again.

So this routine can happen several times in a night until some sleep hormone takes over and washes like a tide over the creative centre in my drowsy brain, sweeping all ideas before it.

This sometimes works in reverse, as well. This is not so good.

The other night I woke up abruptly in the small hours suddenly alarmed that there was a large and ominous plot hole in my book and unless I could find a way to fill it and smooth it over the whole premise of the novel was rendered useless. With this revelation came a rush of adrenalin which meant it was a good half an hour before I started to feel sleepy again, and so for that time I lay there in the wreckage of my embryonic novel trying to work out how to plug the gap.

When I woke up in the morning I realised it was quite straightforward, and a word of explanation early in the story meant it was all alright.

Some night-time moments of inspiration are to be heeded and others are to be disregarded. Unfortunately there's no way to tell which is which until morning comes.

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