Awakenings

I have always gotten up early. As a kid, I never had trouble getting to school on time. I never had a problem making an 8 AM class in university…

[Amazon Alexa in the kitchen. Photo by me, March 11, 2021.]

It is different now. In the pandemic, like many of you I am sure, I have not been sleeping very well. Now I am rising not just a bit early. Often I am wide awake at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning.

When I do awaken all in life that needs “conquering” is crowding into my thoughts the moment I am conscious. Once all that hits, I am finished sleeping. Again, you may experience much the same.

I try not to disturb my wife’s sleep on mornings like that. Thankfully she is a heavier sleeper, and she has always also had the ability to close her eyes and put all of the troubles of the world aside. I always envied that.

[Rainy back garden, just after 7 AM. Photo by me, March 10, 2021.]

When I am troubled, nights are the worst. Yet what bothers me to the point of insomnia at 3 AM is NEVER as bad in my mind AFTER the day gets really going. It is only when I am first awake at that ungodly hour that I am most agitated by whatever is rushing around in my mind.

Does she know when I disappear downstairs or into the study absurdly early? Often, yes. Some of you may know this story, but it is likely new to others of you as well. When I was writing my first book over when we were staying in the Catskills for several months in 2012-2013, I would wake up at around 5 AM or so and write for a couple of hours before delivering the Mrs. her morning cup of tea in bed. (She is a tea aficionado, so I am under some pressure to get it right. She DESPISES tea that is not boiling hot and not just the right balance of milk and tea. “Bland” tea in the U.S. is a particular problem. One U.S. major brand for decades – if you are American, you know it; but I won’t name it – I am never allowed to pour her if I encounter it: I well know by now that it “tastes like dishwater. Blah.”)

In case I could not finish it, or it ended up appallingly bad, I did not want her to know I was trying to write a novel so I kept what I was doing completely to myself – which naturally was NOT easy. When I finally told her what I had been doing for several months, she replied that she thought that was fantastic (and that I had to tell my uncle especially). She added that she was greatly relieved to learn that was what I had been doing: “I wondered what you were up to on the PC at 5 o’clock in the mornings.” LOL!

That is approaching a decade ago now. Writing that first book seems like such a LONG TIME ago. When I re-read any of it, I think it accomplished what I wanted: it was meant to be a relatively “easy” read “page turner” – short paragraphs, short chapters, moderate description, and lots left to the reader’s imagination.

Early mornings now I may still be at it. Especially when I get into what I am writing, the problems of the current real world outside… disappear from my thoughts for a few hours. I hope in that way the books provide a similar escape for any reader. That is one “positive” of pandemic-induced insomnia, I suppose: I am doing something productive and for a few hours forget about any troubles.

Writing and reading are, in their ways, both therapeutic. I was writing some at “4 AM,” and I started this post about 6:30 AM and I will post it, as usual, by 9:30 (when the UK is awake). Hopefully, you had a good night sleep and will have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

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