Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Too Little Sleep = Too Little Creativity

When it comes to writing fiction for the past couple of weeks, I'm in suspended animation, hovering over the words, ready to record them, but ideas and creativity are trumped by exhaustion, and I lose what I intended to say. When I do write, it all looks like drivel.

So I read. Until I fall asleep. It's always a little disconcerting to waken in the night with one's nose resting firmly in the crease between the pages of an open book, or to be startled out of deep sleep by the solid thud of a book falling to the floor. And falling asleep with one's face pressed against the pages as if the book were a pillow--I recommend not drooling.

I've been re-reading the Barker & Llewellyn series by Will Thomas. Good stuff. I enjoy reading mystery novels, and these are particularly well written. I'm hoping to stuff my head full of excellent examples so that my own creativity will kick in again.

Tuesday night after work, I stopped by the post office to check my box before heading home, and Dad was there in his old blue beater of a van that's loaded with tools, a ladder strapped to the rusted roof. We talked for a bit, and then he invited me to share supper: beans and cornbread, Southern staples that are also comfort food for those of us who grew up on them.

Sitting at the small table in the old house that's still in the process of being remodeled, and spooning my share of the beans into a bowl while hanging out with Dad made me think of stories -- not ones I am trying to tell, but ones I was told. Sometimes they were simple and quick, sometimes they were complicated, but always there was suspense, and very often a punch line. The true stories were often the funniest. And the scariest.

My own writing lately has been bloated, self-important, cartoonish. I've been ripping out scenes, cutting dialogue, showing no tolerance for anything that smacks of "look at me" or "my, my, aren't we important". But even that sort of writing (editing) has eluded me this week. I just want to sleep.

Now, for a book with a soft cover, just in case it becomes a pillow--


Anonymous said...

Awww-The joys of sleep deprivation. I too am suffering this malady. I fell asleep at lunch today while sitting around the table "participating" in the conversation. I shall retire early tonight.

- Bubba

Anonymous said...

Just stopping by! Only my plaint is: too much work--not enough time to write down ideas!

Keanan Brand said...

Bubba! Hey, little brother, catch up on that sleep yet? Get any "feedback" from your snoring "participation"? (laugh)

It's Friday, and I'm still draggin', but I plan on getting some sleep some time this weekend. But first, I'm taking Mom with me to NWA to get the laptop repaired. The Mall is right across the street from the computer store. You know what that means: shopping. Oh, the joy.

Jade -- Thanks for the visit! If I've had ideas, they must have all leaked out of my ears while I slept.