Tuesday, May 18, 2010
365 Photo Project - Day 137
Location: Healdsburg, CA
I slept through the night last night. First full night's sleep in more days than I can remember. It felt good to wake up with the lightness of a good rest. Sometimes I forget how important it is.
I used to take naps every day. I read an article how a 20-minute nap around three in the afternoon could do wonders for your energy, rejuvenate the mind and body and so I decided to try it. I had this job on a weekly paper in a small town outside Washington, D.C., which was about a mile from my house. So I got to eating lunch at my desk most days, then sneaking home for an hour in the mid-afteroon for a 20-minute nap (yeah, I timed it). Afterward, I'd go back to work and feel like a new person. I don't know if it was my youth or the nap or the fact that I exercised like a mad person back in those days, but I remember feeling sharper, quicker, more on my game, especially when I took that quick little power nap.
Plus I loved the feeling of crawling into bed in the middle of the day, letting sleep was over me. Those first few moments when my eyes got heavy and I started to fall into dreamland were addicting they felt so good. Over time my body got so used to the routine, I could fall asleep around 3 p.m. on cue. The tough days were the ones when I couldn't break free to get my 40 winks. I'd have to drag myself through the afternoon like I had lead in my shoes.
I used to write in my head when I slept. Whole sentences, paragraphs, pages would appear to me in my dreams. Not all of it was usable but it was a big part of my writing process. It's how I wrote the opening page of my first novel. I wonder sometimes if getting older makes us slower not because we're older age-wise, but because all the small stuff suddenly seems so important. We have bills to pay, responsibilities. people who rely on us. In some ways I feel I've let this steal my creativity, like boxing it up on the top shelf or storing it in the attic.
Could it all be because I don't nap anymore?
Writers have to work almost every day. Believe me, it's not easy. And by not easy, I'm not comparing it to digging ditches. It's just hard to maintain faith in yourself. This is something I talk a lot about here. It's possible, I'm having a crisis of creative confidence. Even saying this, I know I'm making progress. I'm putting myself out there and I'm writing. Every day. But it's a bitch when you know in your heart you're making progress and yet you've nothing to show for it.
Then I think perhaps I'm thinking about it all wrong. I should listen more to my writing hero, James Lee Burke. You can't be worrying about all that extraneous shit. Focus on the work. Take it one day at a time and believe in your vision and see it through and you'll know when it's done. When it works.
Jim Burke is a smart man. I've got his words on my wall over my writing desk and in a real sense, I feel I'm starting to recapture that post-nap euphoria of my youth.
Trust the work, keep my head down and plow ahead.
Watch out world, I'm coming.