19 January 2011

In Bed with the Captain

“You never know someone until you either sleep or work with them.” -- Anon

In my Captain’s log today, I invite you into bed with me—and you’ll wish I posted you on night watch.

Midnight.  I’m awash with ideas for my blog. By half past, I’ve caught a second wind. More ideas. I stop. What the hell am I doing? I’m reworking one novel and trying to finish another. I don’t have time for this. Finally, bleary-eyed, I hit the sack. You, my fine friend, are conked out, breathing as soft as an anemone. I flip-flop and tug blankets while monkey mind throws more ideas at the wall. You yank back the blankets. I roll onto my back and turn my mind to my novel, hoping to calm the creative beast with a focused problem instead of a wide-open ocean of possibilities.

Three o’clock.  I wake up. You sleep like a deep-sea creature. Grrr.

Why am I awake? What the hell woke me? I slip out of bed and head for a glass of water. Monkey mind starts tossing out more ideas for the blog. I shove it back to the novel problem, hoping that will let me sleep, hoping I’ll dream a solution. What will the sisters do after they meet up in Paris? Will they find Rachel and how? What do they want from each other? Back in bed, I punch my pillow and am certain you’re dreaming of mermaids.

God, this is hell. I flop like a freshly-landed fish. I yank at covers. I throw your arm off my waist. Concentrate on the novel problem. Yes, and hopefully I’ll have answers in the morning.

Five o’clock.  I’m awake again, the dog of nightmares nipping at my heels. In the dream, I’m running from room to room in a house I don’t recognize. Whenever I open a door, looking for an exit, I find a room with a single bed, a neat, but tiny room that could be a servant’s quarters. And excuse me for mixing metaphors, but these Stepford Wives’ rooms have exactly the same blanket folded exactly the same way at the bottom of the exact same bed. I run up and down halls, yelling for someone, anyone, but no one answers. I find no way out. That’s why I wake up.

I slip out of bed. Light’s dim, but enough to walk around the deck. Back to bed? Or stay up and make tea? I don’t need help analyzing the dream. So you’re afraid you’ll sink with this ship? None of your ideas are different or interesting? Now that you’re on board, you can’t leave? No one’s there to help you. Okay, you’re a bloody basket case.


You call my name, and I head to the bedroom. “Can’t sleep?” you ask. I crawl into bed and snuggle up. You pat my (choose a body part) and say, “You’ll figure it out.”

“Hmmm,” I say, thankful you understand. Hopefully, the next time I wake, I’ll have an answer about my novel’s sisters and can write it down before it evaporates like the morning fog. You, thankfully, will not talk to me, understanding the fragility of these dreamy ideas, and will go on deck to take charge and hopefully bring me strong tea in a large mug. Oh, and please. Close the door behind you.

Forever Yours,
Captain Val

Coming Up!
“Cartoonists Make the Best of Friends”
“Why I Hate Writing”
“Sink or Swim: the Dangers of the Writing Life”