It’s 4:40 AM and I’ve been awake for 3 hours. I’ve been desperate for sleep and I still find myself waking at oddball hours with words and thoughts racing through my head. Today is a perfect example.
I worked normal hours, got a haircut, dinner, and then spent an hour or so with my parents. We watched TV, sat in the hot tub, and eventually I bid them a goodnight. It was probably 9:00 PM. I read my Stephen King memoir for a few minutes before becoming suddenly, and unavoidably, exhausted. I’m asleep within seconds; lights on, book in hand, no blankets or sheets. Just…completely…out.
Now, historically I’m a terrible sleeper. It normally takes melatonin, GABA, valerian root…I could go on because, really, I’ve tried everything to help me sleep. Not only is it impossible for me to sleep without help, but once I’m asleep the slightest sound or movement wakes me. Also, I have sleep apnea. Major sleep apnea. And I refuse to wear a face mask contraption thing because, quite simply, it’s impossible to sleep with that thing on my face. I won’t even get into the sex appeal aspect of wearing a fighter jet’s oxygen mask at night. It’s not Iron Eagle sexy. It’s nowhere near Top Gun sexy. It’s closer to Bubble Boy sexy. Which is to say, of course, not at all. I digress.
I awoke shortly after midnight with my book on my nightstand, lights off, and several warm blankets on top of me. You may be thinking, a Mom is always a Mom, but no, sometimes Dad is Mom, and even though I have nothing to backup my theory, I know it was him who checked in on his 34 year-old son, who is estranged from his wife and kids, and had words of encouragement ready for me before finding me asleep, and tucked me in. And I don’t feel embarrassed, or as if I’ve regressed. I’m thankful for their strength and willingness to step in and let me know they are ready to catch me, if needed, from this free-fall.
And Stephen King is talking about process and method and the familiar spark hits and ignites the writer in me.
My room is cold. I move upstairs and it’s dark. And even though the book I’m reading is a memoir, it’s still Stephen King. And part of me thinks about Carrie, about Cujo, and about Jack Torrance. And because of that, my surroundings are transformed into what he would create, and I’m nervous. I stretch out my arms to feel for a wall or a light-switch and I think about the possibility of touching something else and examining this object a split second too long, as I realize too late, that it’s the arm, hand, and blade that brings about my violent demise. And all this despite the fact that I don’t read horror.
But this is how my early morning goes. There is no blade, no midnight intruder, and I grab a bowl of chips and some milk and return to my reading. But not before I publish this.
Book Thoughts, On Writing, Stephen King