Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Haven’t Said Anything In a While

I can’t sleep. I tried. I really did. I laid down and everything. It just wouldn’t take. For starters, we have an extra body in our bed; for some reason or another, while I was downstairs finishing up the catalog work I lamented on last week, Natalie found her way into our bed and has completely monopolized my side. She sleeps like Jesus in Rio, so I’ve got to contort myself into odd shapes to make room. Usually, after about three mintues, I need to change positions, as my arms and legs begin to fall asleep without the rest of me, but I can't because I run into a pint-sized bed hog. Frustrated (I'm not a person who wakes easily), a well placed shove soon compacts the mother-daughter bed-hogging duo into a multi-octave snoring symphony not unlike out-of-tune dueling banjos. It’s a “round” of Row, Row, Row Your Boat set to the tune of a REM-sleep-induced snore, like bears hibernating.

At this time of night, the moon is perfectly in line with my bedroom window and is shining right on my face, and although it is like sleeping outdoors (which I enjoy), it doesn’t make for easy sleep when it is near full. Through the course of the night, an expanse of moonlight will slowly creep down the length of my body and the only cure is to close the blinds. Given the record heat (today’s high on my temperature gauge on the patio recorded a sweltering 113 degrees… granted, that’s in direct sunlight, but that kind of heat hides in the walls of the house and only comes out when I get settled into bed), closing the blinds might keep out a fraction of the cool air that’s available out there somewhere in the night and I don’t want to chance missing it.

Of course, not helping my temporary insomnia is the fact that I can’t turn off my brain; I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but mine is always “on.” Like I’m over-dubbing some kind of running commentary throughout my day, I end up tricking myself into a mental conversation over the stupidest topics. I considered the moon, which made me think of a time a few days ago that an airplane’s shadow flew directly over me, eclipsing the sun for a fraction of a second. I marvel at the geometry in that moment, and then spent about 40 minutes trying to figure it out. The sun, 93 million miles away, is at some unknown-to-me angle to the Earth (23.3 degrees?), and it’s during the summer so it is more north than normal, and it is at a specific time of day, say around 1pm. The airplane, approximately a mile up, is flying somewhere in all of that open air, and the shadow of it flies right over me, like blinking without closing my eyes. Sure, it doesn’t sound that impressive, but if you think of all of the variables that have to be perfect for something like this to happen, it is quite amazing. And I think about those variables.

See, it’s a stream of consciousness like that (and this) that keep me up at night. And it isn’t just tonight, it’s every night. I either have to be so tired that I fall asleep on the way to bed or three sheets to the wind in order to avoid these sometimes hours-long chats I have with myself. The horror is that I can’t turn it off, ever. I think about turning it off and I try to convince myself to stop thinking and drift into slumberland, but the very thought of trying not thinking is a thought that keeps me awake.

It doesn’t help that I had a bunch of Diet Coke tonight, more than I should, and Elsa is outside with the plans of getting back inside by using her only tactic: be so annoying so I get entirely upset and I grab her by the scruff of the neck to drag her in. Sure, she takes one to the back of the head, but at least she sleeps with a roof over that head. She’s manipulative in that regard, and her yelps, so randomly spaced out over the course of the 20 minutes it takes for me to lose my temper, provides a surprising shock every time she emits one; it resembles a wounded seal pup in search of her mother in a squall. Some are insistent, urgent, the kind that try to warn me that there’s a boogieman in the vicinity, while others have a somewhat forlorn doom about them, as if she’s relegated herself to the fact that she’s sleeping outside tonight and she’d better make the best of it, even if it means certain death in the untamed wilds of the backyard (where it is currently 84 degrees).

As you can probably tell, I’ve got nothing much to say, but I felt like I haven’t said anything in a while and many of you are getting bored by checking the site and seeing the same thing, as if I’m on sabbatical or something. Well, I’ve been busy, however, I did notice a past milestone on the Procrastination site: I’ve been doing this for two months and two days. I have written approximately 75,000 words which is about the length of a traditional novel. If only I had taken that energy and effort and applied it to my many ideas for a novel, I could be sitting in a posh hotel room on a book-signing tour instead of sitting here in my underwear clacking away at this keyboard… for free. I guess I could argue that even if I were in a posh hotel room, I’d probably still be in my underwear.

My problem, much with the busyness of my brain at ungodly hours, I have a tough time staying focused on one project over another, and as soon as I get settled into working on a project, something new comes up and I switch tracks. I’m like an ADHD kid in a room full of kaleidoscopes sometimes as I lose focus, switch my attention in other directions and shine the spotlight that is my life on something else. Sometimes, when that happens, I miss out on opportunities to develop good ideas. Take for example an idea I was working on five years ago. At work, I heard a CD called “Open Pipe Symphony,” which was nothing more than a collection of the sounds of famous F1 racecars (Click here for a sample), and I wanted to adapt it to the Volkswagen. With my brother’s help, I could easily put together a packaged CD for very little money but the return would certainly make it worthwhile. Well, two years later, I was sitting at my desk and a package arrived that contained exactly my idea to the letter (Click here to check it out).

That’s not all. Four years ago, I found myself thinking about the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I read as a kid. Jason had them all and I’d dip from the stack when the mood struck me. You remember, you read to the end of the page and are forced into a decision. If you choose one course of action, you turn to a certain page and continue the story, and if you choose another, you flip to a different part of the book. I figured, with the advances of DVD players, this would make for a perfect application for a movie. Imagine watching a movie where you could decide the outcome of the movie… and it would be different every time. Well, folks, I sat on the idea just a little too long: Click here to read about the movie. How depressing to know that it could have been me listed under “writing credits.”

It doesn’t end there, but I don’t want to be tempted to find a tall tower to jump from.

I guess the moral… and every tale of woe needs a moral to provide some value and worth other than a tale.. I guess the moral is not to wait when you have a good idea. Strike while the iron is hot, and, uh, um… well, you can add your own cliché here that explains how I feel about quick action. I’m tired. It’s late and I’m loosing my ability of coherency quicker than Dan Quayle at a spelling bee. Don’t worry, I’ve still got some ideas up my sleeve that I’m slowly working on.

I guess I’d better go back to bed and give this whole sleeping thing another shot; what a waste of time. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day, however, what with Kara working and the kids looking to me to provide them with more higher stimulation (more higher? I should be an editor) than watching Daddy take a nap on the couch.

Maybe we’ll play hide and seek.

I’ll hide in bed.

1 comment:

Tris said...

Fear not! Your DVD idea was scooped, but the one that is in production is being animated overseas, so it is sure to be dreck. Now is your chance to create one of "more higher" quality, Mr. Editor.


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