As far as I remember I’ve only slept straight through the night once in the last year. Used to be able to nap on the floor like my dad. Now I can go to the best hotel in town and it’s a crap shoot whether I’ll manage three hours uninterrupted. How is it that things have gotten so bad around here?

Last night I lay down with the sense of satisfaction that come from a job well done. At about five o-clock and just in time to watch the Chargers trounce the Colts on Sunday Night Football, I finished my new book, LITTLE GIRL GONE. I’ve been working flat out for six months so you might say I deserved a good night’s sleep. Well, never mind, there’s always hope for tonight.

I briefly knew a woman who did not go to bed until two or three a.m. and was up around five or six at the latest. Not exhausted, dragging, bleary-eyed. Apparently this was all her body needed. So, I wonder, am I turning into her? Should I give up on the ten p.m. bedtime? Write during the day, cook for the freezer at night? Knit and watch movies?

I also knew a woman who did her gardening at night. She was a dedicated environmentalist and claimed that her garden (which was nice but not wild enough for my taste) was bug free without pesticides because she picked the lovelies off the leaves at night when they were gnawing away, feeling safe. Maybe we should get new lights installed outside.

Read, you say, dig deep into the classics, improve your mind. Hobbes’ LEVIATHAN was a soporific when I was 21. But at night I need a rest from the printed word. So I bid my beloved goodnight, turn out the light and close my eyes and wait to see what happens. Mostly I stare at the back of my eyelids. The minutes tick by. Coyotes howl in the canyon. We’ve got an owl in the big pine. I make up stories, novels, epic trilogies. Sometimes I just compose first sentences to books I’ll never have to write. I used to wait to hear the plunk of the paper being delivered but they don’t do that anymore in our neighborhood.

Everyone has advice on the subject of sleep: meditate, read the Psalms, listen to rain tapes or Gregorian chants. Thank you, everyone for your ideas and I’ve tried them; but I think the way we sleep may be as individual a thing as DNA and fingerprints.

And speaking of fingers reminds me of keyboards: did I mention that LITTLE GIRL GONE is in New York as we speak, playing with the big boys and girls at Grand Central? Pub date January 2012.

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One Response to “Sleep”

  1. Nedra says:

    I’ve know people who need very little sleep and man, they can get a lot done. It is very individualistic. I think it can change depending on where we are in our lives too. I’ve never been able to go to bed early and waking up early isn’t my favorite either. It was nice when I let myself accept it and work with it. Everyone’s got their patterns!