Morning Musing

5 a.m. from my bedroom window. It ain’t what you call “dark.”

It’s 5 a.m.  I’ve been awake since 2:30, when the seagulls decided they wanted to hold a concert right outside my window. In case you haven’t heard a seagull lately, its cry falls somewhere between a half-cranked motor and a baby being stabbed to death.  Seagulls like to fly over the courtyard out back of my apartment, and I like to watch them…but not this early.

Since I’ve been in Edinburgh, my sleep patterns have been disrupted.  Partly that’s due to sleeping in a strange bed, one that lacks multiple blankets and too many pillows.  Partly it’s the light situation. I can tell you that around 3:30 the sky was definitely turning lighter, and I’m used to dark nights and black-out curtains back home, so that my bedroom is cave-like and no light enters in to bother me.  (Yes, yes, I could wear a sleepy mask here—and I have one—but I never can keep it on my face long enough to let it work.)  I also miss my cats, especially Jenny, who keeps me company at least for a little while as I sleep.  All of these things combined have contrived to keep me up later and to sleep less deeply when I finally go to bed.  Even my Fitbit has been giving me poor sleep marks since I’ve come to Scotland.

I’m not sure why I couldn’t just roll over at 2:30 and fall back asleep.  I guess I do have some weighty thoughts on my mind.  For one thing, I remembered I promised to write a blurb for a new poetry book, and I was suddenly panicked that I was late with it.  (Turns out I’m not; it’s due mid-July, not mid-June). For another I guess I’m worried about my class.  Discussion is going really well and what I’ve graded so far has been good, but teaching a new class is difficult and I worry my students may be disappointed with me.  (I’m so used to teaching creative writing these days, that teaching literature seems just so much harder than it used to be.)  And finally, as I mentioned before, I’m lonely, and also finding it hard to write.  My Dad asked me if I’d written a lot of poems since I’ve been here when we talked on Father’s Day, and I bashfully admitted I have not. (On the other hand, I didn’t write about Venice when I was in Venice, but when I did finally write about it, I came up with a book.  So perhaps a book of Scotland-related poems might be percolating in the back of my mind?)

I suppose I’ll wind up taking a nap at some point today—I suspect I’ll just crash.  (But hopefully not while I’m teaching. 😊)

Anyway, I just wanted to jot a quick blog for my five loyal readers, and to take a picture of 5 a.m. so you know what I’m dealing with.

Worrying, Whining, and Waiting, Oh My

I haven’t really said this to anyone, but since I finished my book, I’ve been feeling really edgy–and worried. Edginess is not surprising; after all, after you’ve put as much time into the book as I have, with characters that you know inside and out, now that their story is done, you don’t know what to do with yourself. How do you say goodbye, except to say it? But now, what are you supposed do you do with your time?

The worry, of course, is probably typical of anyone who’s ever finished writing a book. I’m listing all my current worries:

  1. Why won’t the people I’ve given the book to read, read it? (How dare they be busy with their own lives?)
  2. What if they’ve read it and hate it?
  3. What if they didn’t mind it, but that’s the best they could say for it?
  4. What if no one publishes it?
  5. What if someone publishes it?
  6. What if it gets published, and no one cares?
  7. What if gets published, and people say they like it, but because I always mistrust people, I don’t believe them, and I stay a curmudgeonly old crank convinced everyone secretly hates me and my writing?
  8. What if I can’t write anything else?
  9. What if I can’t write anything else?

That last worry is probably so familiar, everyone feels it.  I listed it twice because the fear is smothering me–that if I’m lucky enough to be successful, I’ll be a one hit wonder, like Harper Lee.  (Of course, if your book is To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s probably just fine to coast the rest of your life and literary career… I should be that lucky.)

I’ve just been feeling like I have no words right now.  I don’t know what to write.  I feel like there are no poems inside me.  I feel like there never will be again.  I feel like I’m in mourning.  Or maybe I’m having the writer’s equivalent of postpartum depression.

This is coming off as overly dramatic and needy, isn’t it?  You’re probably telling me to STFU.  Believe me, I tell myself the same.  You’re probably also thinking, Why don’t you wait and see what happens, and quit being such a whiny little bitch?  If no one reads/ likes/ publishes your book, so what?  You’ll live.  There’s people dying of Ebola virus, did you think of that?

(Great, Ebola.  Now I’m worrying about that too.)

The truth is, my writing group has read my book, and they like it.  I should accept that they like it.  Chris has read it and likes it.  My Mom has read a good bit of it and she likes it.  But a part of me thinks, well, they only like the book because they like me.  So they “don’t count.”  (Isn’t that some kind of ridiculous thinking?  They’re the ones who should matter the most!)

Ugh.  I’m just a big tangle of insecurities and vanity and… STFU JC Reilly.  And go to bed, while you’re at it.