But I am a night owl. Shame that doesn’t work with the parent thing, huh?
Sleep and parenting. Parenting and autism. How many conversations have we had around these topics. Nobody gets enough sleep. And if we try and talk about it the one-up-manship starts. And believe me I know that Little A’s solid seven hours every night is more than a lot of people get if their child is on the Spectrum. And if I didn’t know I’ve been told! But this isn’t a moan about that again just a comment that early mornings suck. But they particularly suck if you are me and a night owl.
Yesterday was a good day because I got enough sleep. It may have been accidental but Little A read his clock and didn’t come into our bed until 6 (that’s a lie-in btw). I also took an afternoon nap (sorry housework) because I have a week off from work and why not. I need to take care of myself right now.
The benefits of this sleep and home made food I had the energy to make was a productive evening of writing. When I say that I mean 3 hours writing, editing, feeling inspired. The sparks between the synapses were palpable. The energy I get from writing and being creative reminded me a little of myself. Think Oprah calls it being in your “flow”. It’s a magical force and something that needs to be, that must be and it felt good.
Reclaiming the night owl may take some effort. I’ve thought for a while I need a retreat to write or may be just the occasional night away. A more realistic step might be to ignore the sofa and television a few nights a week. Whatever it is I know that I need more of it in my life.
The most fantastic story just came to me via another mum at school. At the weekend a vulture swooped down towards her daughter who sat upon her shoulders. The woman ducked at the child came to no harm. She told me to ask who she might tell – she wants word to get out so people at the school are on high alert so I suggested the council or local paper. You’ve got to understand, we don’t get a lot of vultures in Surrey.
Now though I have discharged my duty of helping her with my suggestions, what can I do with this fantastical moment? I am tempted to make the vulture into a pet of a local wizard who guides my main character to her magical destiny. But really where do you draw the line at drawing directly from real life?
There was nowhere to go today. I tried a coffee shop but it was too noisy. As the clock ticked down til the time I had to return to my little boy I was desperate for a little space. As the café manager spoke loudly on their phone by me I could feel the frustration unfurl in my chest like a cat from its nap, unhappy to be disturbed.
I found myself at the library with forty minutes to go. School children used up desks, littering them with paper. I missed the heaven of a carrel at University. In my days at the University of London library there were even blissful rooms you could rent. A desk, a hard chair, a view of concrete below and the best part: a door. These private moments were spent reading, scribbling and often staring into the back of the mind rifling through thoughts. What a pure privilege.
Life now is a long way off the unimaginable hours I had then (and often wasted). Now, a baby cries in the children’s library, school girls chat and the incessant click of other computers interrupt my scattered mind. Today, I have to remember to send a birthday present, buy some cooking oil and worry about a school event. My mind has always been cluttered but the mundanity of life overshadows it all.
The quest to find the perfect quiet spot continues.
I carry my notebook all round the area for writerly moments. This means I spend a lot of time mentally reviewing places for too loud music, wobbly tables or chatty staff (big no nos). My old favourite has been somewhat demoted recently…
Sitting down I shoved aside the milk, realising the tea cup was still half full I looked around and the woman on the next table, “Oh, is someone sat here?”
Her response, “It’s probably alright, don’t suppose anyone’s pissed in it.”
Confounded I mumbled something about “I thought maybe they had gone to the loo” but my voice trailed off.
Scowling as I scanned the counter for my order she offered a more cogent explanation, “There were two people but they’ve gone.” She laughed but I was just glad my toast had arrived so I could busy myself buttering it. The laughter kept catching me and I looked down to suppress it but it shook my shoulders in involuntary quivers.
In my mind I was debating whether she meant to say “spit in it.” I also couldn’t fathom why she thought I wanted to drink the leftovers rather than use the table.
I didn’t get my notebook out that day, I was too busy scoffing down my toast and willing the woman to move on as soon as possible so I could laugh out loud.
I may be late to the party but I have been testing out technology this week.
IAWriter is great for when I have a few ideas on the go. I love the feature where it tells you how long it will take you to read. Albeit that can be depressing too, how can this chapter I have been slogging out only take 3 minutes to read?
Hemingway is a revelation. I don’t follow all its rules. Screw you, I like my run on sentences! But I also like seeing the readability score going down. I feel like it has made me think particularly hard about adverbs (haha). I know they are fussy. What I have really noticed though is where they show I am lacking confidence. I was reading
And it inspired me to find that balance between finding the perfect word, and letting your speech seem colloquial. The speech will definitely still use adverbs because that’s how I speak and blog, obviously.
Thought for the day, can you name a character Fred Stone? On the one hand it’s an old-fashioned name for a stubborn character in his 80s, on the other hand, Fred Flintstone!
Lacking creativity when naming my characters is a perennial issue for me. It’ll do for the draft!
It’s been a tough few weeks. Little man is too hyper to go to sleep most nights. And other family things have troubled my mind. I have found myself escaping. A coping strategy that I have long employed. There’s the bingeing on audiobooks when I am sat in the darkened hall waiting for him to drop off. Then there’s the Netflix binges if he does go to sleep-the reward for being blessed with an evening- that keep me up past my own bedtime.
It occurred to me this morning though I may have excellent reasons to escape my real life, I don’t want to lose the chance to have the life I want. I do deserve a break but still, still there’s the damn book. The one I am writing. The one that inspires me and comes to me in flashes. The one I am meant to write.
Sitting down to finally type up pages and pages of scrawled disorganised scenes this morning I resolved once again to escape into the world that I am creating. I often read that to write you need to read. I subscribe to this advice whole-heartedly but my aim this coming month is to use the novel as an escape. Not always, that’s not realistic. Surely it must be possible to sometimes indulge in something that does not distract my mind but instead engage it?
Does anyone else write in odd places? It seems appropriate to my own experience that I should write sat on the top step just waiting for the chance to creep down the stairs.