Monday, November 08, 2004

Days 3 through 16

Hey, remember when I resolved to get up at 5:30 a.m. each morning for a week? I only managed it for three days. Then I settled into a pattern of rising at about 6:30 instead. It wasn't hard, and I was feeling great about the work.

Just one problem. I also started needing naps. Some days I'd stretch out on the couch for a 5 p.m. "catnap" that would stretch two or three hours. If it was my night to make dinner, I didn't get back to my desk until around 9.

And the time would fly. It would fly, you might say, on the wings of my inner night owl, who was delighted to have me back again and who kept me going until 2 or 3 a.m. That was fine for a while, because I was still getting about seven hours of sleep. The only weird thing is that I wasn't getting them all at once. I was getting them from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., and then again from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Does this pattern divide my days? Or does it double them?

In the last four days, I've started going to bed at 4:30. I learned that if I get really tired at 3 a.m., I can be assured of a brief second wind at 4. if I just push through it. Sure enough, 4 a.m. comes and I'm alert again. Not to be trusted in operating heavy machinery, of course, but alert.

Tonight looks like it will be another long night. The good news is that rest is coming. (Good thing, because I know I can't keep this up.) I get to sleep the "sleep of the just" (as A. likes to call it) tomorrow afternoon because a) I cancelled part of my office hours; and b) I today handed over a new article draft to our little reading group. It's the first work I've ever shown to this group of people and I'm a little nervous about it. (Many of them also happen to be friends, which makes it harder somehow.) But the good news is that it's another good chunk of writing done, another step closer to the goal.

That's worth some lost sleep, right?

Actually, I'm not sure. Would you laugh if I said that I live for sleep? In all seriousness, I think it's one of the greatest physical pleasures there is. Remember the good-bye speech that Thornton Wilder wrote for Emily? Among the sacred in-life things she would miss was "sleeping and waking up."

Just one more week of stress. Have found myself channeling What Now this week: "All will be well and all will be well and all will truly be well."

(p.s. My lastest nutritional nadir: This weekend's writing was fueled almost entirely by iced tea and pretzel rods. At least that was a little bit balanced out with a couple of tomato-feta omelettes.)


At 11:13 PM, Blogger What Now? said...

M., You're not channeling me so much as channeling my channeling of Julian of Norwich. A friend likes to tell the story of his Texan spiritual advisor who paraphrased Julian of Norwich thus: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and every damn thing is gonna be just fine."

And I'm sure all will be well, but I have to say that you've got yourself the craziest sleep schedule I've ever heard of! Whatever works for you is great, obviously, but I'm a traditionalist enough to think that going to bed earlier might be a good idea.

As for the writing: Good for you!! Handing over work to be read by others is a scary, scary thing that is, in my opinion, about the best thing that one can do for one's writing. So kudos to you!

At 1:14 AM, Blogger ~profgrrrrl~ said...

The tomato feta omelet sounds really good. Homemade? Or did you go out for it?

MMmmmm. I used to live in a city that had lots of great greek diner type restaurants. Oh, how I do miss that.

The whole sleep thing is confusing. Can you function well with those broken up long naps?

Trying to decide ... to bed now, attempt to get up early and write (must must must finish book chapter under penatly of not publishing it) or try to stay up and write. Hrm. Your schedule is inspiring me, but I'm not sure to do what.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger New Kid on the Hallway said...

Tee hee, What Now?, I love the Texan take on Julian! (Will have to share that with my class when we read Julian next week!)

I'm glad the sleeping thing got you through the writing. I'm just impressed that you can get by with 7 hours of sleep - I can only do that for so long, and then I crash; I really need 8 hours to be clear and functional. But I sometimes wonder what our sleep patterns would look like without our jobs to structure them... Anyway, it's great that you got the writing to your writing group!

At 1:51 AM, Blogger Mel said...

I've often found great clarity of mind around 2 or 3 a.m. But by 4 I start getting weird. But your nap schedule sounds great to me. And if it's any consolation, Leonardo da Vinci worked in the same way, sleeping only 2 or 3 hours at a time, then working, then sleeping, etc. I have a good friend who does much the same thing and is insanely productive. Whatever works!

At 6:19 AM, Anonymous no Way said...

live for sleep? sleep for live?

It´s that real? Do you like more what you sleep than what you live?
Are you waiting the whole day to the night?

That´s very serious sentences, but that´s how I feel now.

But I´m not talking about dreams I´m talking about rest.

I wanna rest for live!!


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