I’m not Sleepy!

I don’t sleep around full moons or after late afternoon coffees. I continue to drink coffee on certain late afternoons and I continue to live through full moons. I know I’ll stay up at night but I think: how productive tonight could be! Maybe I could read a whole book.

But when night comes around, my heart beats in my chest and my mind runs everywhere. I lay there yawning, restlessly wishing for sleep. But this weekend (waning half moon and no coffee in the house) I just wasn’t sleepy. I never got sleepy!


What I could have done this weekend, had I thought of it. Instead I lay there, peaceful in my thoughts. What happened? Have I changed people?

I remember studying Shakespeare at high school and university and getting quizzed on whether I knew that insomnia meant that the character was troubled. Well, I thought. Is there more to it than that?

But maybe there is. My thoughts at night weren’t troubled. I thought a lot about The Bachelorette, about Harry Potter, about where I would walk the dog tomorrow and would I go swimming before or after dinner? I was interested in a lot of different things but I didn’t feel like reading.

What I didn’t think of doing was writing. I’ve been writing one hour a day (which is great!) but when that hour is up, proud as I am, I move on. I read or I watch television or maybe I do my school work. Or, like, I leave the house! But I think I’m scared that if I go back to writing then maybe I’ll max myself out and I won’t do my hour tomorrow. And if I don’t do my hour tomorrow then will I do it the next day? I am so easily persuaded, so influenced by my worst self.

Maybe I’m up at night because I’m supposed to be writing. Maybe one hour a day has put me on some roll! Maybe the time I have invested in my writing is spawning more creativity – nervous energy that keeps me up at night because it wants to be used for something. And because I’m lazy and it’s dark in the room I am not reaching for a pen and am thinking instead. And yes, my dreams are really creative, but could I be using this for writing?

So I plan to never sleep again and write a lot! And with that decision is born a writer: insomniac, paranoid, probably alcoholic.

Falling out and in


I read this on the bus this morning. I was supposed to be reading Harry Potter 2 (The Chamber of Secrets) as per a roommate Harry Potter reading challenge, but I had also brought along this book, On Becoming a Novelist. It’s my third time reading it. I’ve started developing a habit where I keep it next to me when I’m writing. I thought that maybe instead of looking at Facebook I could look at a book called On Becoming a Novelist.

 “If the promising writer keeps on writing – writes day after day, month after month – and if he reads very carefully, he will begin to “catch on.” Catching on is important in the arts, as in athletics. Practical sciences, including the verbal engineering of commercial fiction, can be taught and learned. The arts too can be taught, up to a point; but except for certain matters of technique, one does not learn the arts, one simply catches on.”

So this explains it: I’ve lately begun to feel that I’m catching on. The feeling came from writing every day for one hour. And one full hour! I could fold laundry or eat a snack in that hour if the temptation so struck me, but I would keep my mind immersed in my novel for that hour. Then Monday came along and I broke tradition. I wrote for forty-five minutes. On Tuesday I broke the hour into two halves. And I have since lost the feeling of catching on, and instead I’m catching up.

It’s weird that I’m writing a novel! What better, more regular things I could be doing with my time than trying to remember a secret world I have created and am trying to express to you through poorly turned phrases. And then I go back and I try to make the phrases turn nicer. And why should you even care, I made up this world! It is of no interest to anybody, including me. I have to force myself to live in the world for an hour a day, and still I fold laundry and I eat snacks! Shouldn’t I be spellbound by this magical world I have created?

I wonder how JK Rowling did it – I mean how she really did it. Yes, she thought up the story on a train, and yes, she planned the whole series of books out before beginning the first, but really: how could she have done it? How could Snape’s character and story line be so complete from the first book? How could clues and minor characters be introduced so early and then play such a large role later on? How the heck did she think up the Voldemort-Harry thing? Most importantly, how did she possibly invent things like a whomping willow or howlers? Did she not have Facebook? Did she write for more than an hour a day?


(from en.wikipedia.org)

There was a time last Spring where I stood at my dad’s drafting desk with this repetitive playlist on and papers spread everywhere. And I loved it! I worked for four hours at a time.

I think I forget about what it is to catch on when I feel like I’m catching up. It’s like love: how could that possibly be a thing? It’s like childbirth; it’s like the Grouse Grind. You don’t remember how bad or good something is when it’s a completely immersive experience. It completely owns you and you are in it. I need to go write a novel!







Guessing Wrong on Jeopardy

I’m always shouting out answers to the television like I need the money, like I’ll get the money. I do it when I’m not paying attention, if I hear a word that makes me think of another word. I think it’s good practice – if I can play Jeopardy while typing this blog post, then when I really try to play Jeopardy, or really try to write a blog post, I’ll be a wiz.

I don’t know what inhibition gene is missing in my head but I find it hard not to guess at Jeopardy answers. It’s the same way when I know some misinformation about a topic of conversation being discussed, the same as when I read the headline of an article then try to tell the story. I think that knowing a little bit of everything makes me smart. It really doesn’t. Guessing things that sound like fourteen-letter words starting with O doesn’t make me smart. I don’t even feel smart when I guess “what is invisibility” to a Jeopardy answer about the power of Harry Potter’s cloak. It’s simply that the thing I said out loud at that moment was the correct answer.


(from Bibliophilopolis blog)

I do the same thing when I write: I let my inhibitions go. I’ve subscribed entirely to Hemingway’s shit draft theory, so much that I’ve forgotten there’s a point where he must have gotten past that. I’ve actually forgotten how to write essays, though I did it for four years. I wrote three essays for school lately before realizing that I used to make outlines for these, that this process actually helps my writing. Before I realized that the solution to everything isn’t shouting out wrong answers without reserve. There is something in waiting for the right moment.

The current state of my novel is a fifth-generation verbal diarrhea. I am filling in gaps (gaps I identify in alarming CAPS LOCKS: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? SLOW DOWN!!) with paragraphs of anything that comes to mind. I hope a later-me, a modified, mature me, looks back at these new paragraphs, and the ones that remain from before, and is able to pick through them with some semblance of shrewdness. I hope I stop losing all my money on Jeopardy in the mean time.

WAnt to write a post but can’t see screen

Hello. I am only one foot (I should say a third-ish of a metre) from the computer screen and everything is fuzzy. This intro even looks okay, from this distance. I can’t see anything because I left my glasses in a bag that is being transported for me from one place to here, but had to stop somewhere else in between. (I made a spelling mistake! I see red!) My glasses are in that bag.

I became nearsighted in eighth grade. It was the year a lot of things changed, including I was no longer able to see things. I thought it was neat, this new disability. Then I realized glasses and braces together meant something.

(photo credit to if you just type in Baby Wearing Glasses)

My eye sight started getting progressively worse. My dad kept asking the optometrist if it was because I read so much. He would walk by me reading and ask me to look up from time to time, to focus on other things. I tried, but I remember spending three hours on a Saturday morning reading from Harry Potter Six. I sat crying and rereading for the rest of the day. I always try not to reveal the ending of Book Six of Harry Potter to people. I tiptoe around it, like we all know but we’re still trying to forget.

Eyes became not such a big thing when I was granted the gift of contacts. Two years ago I got cool glasses, so now I consider my nearsightedness a gift. But the idea of not being able to see one day – let’s say my eyesight got even worse, or I was lost somewhere in the very predicament I am in now – and how sad that would be continues to haunt me. I don’t worry about the practical side of it. I worry instead that I wouldn’t be able to read. Or I would write and not be able to read over, to get past shitty-first-draft stage. I would have a day where my fingers were shifted over by one key on the keyboard and everything qiyks ewas kujw rgua.

What the heck would I do if I lost my eyes? I always think, like I am being asked, that I would give up (heroically) my ears for my eyes. Music? I can’t even tell you what pitch is. Speaking to people is always second best to text messaging them, to reading their poetry. I would give up my tongue, I think, for these retinas.

I need my eyes. It’s getting hard. I can’t even see my blog posts anymore.