Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Four In The Morning And You Can't Get A Wink Of Sleep

First things first today, a bit of business to see to. I was surprised to get a nod from Christine at her blog Christine M. Grote. She gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award.

I've been following Christine for awhile now. She's a thoughtful writer with a variety of subjects to write about. Her family is one such subject, particularly her father and her late sister, the latter of whom is featured in her book Dancing In Heaven. I've also come to enjoy her photography and insights on life. If you haven't found your way to her blog, check it out. You'll enjoy what you find. 

I thought I'd use the opportunity to shine the Kreativ Blogger spotlight on several blogs, and so without further ado, here they are.

Many of you of course know Norma's blogs Windchaser's Journey and Sam's Story. What you may have overlooked is her writing blog Beishir Books, which highlights her past works and her works in progress. She's a novelist and creative soul who got me to really make a run at writing.

My good friend Beth Muscat runs several blogs, including Shameless Reviews and Promotions, which you may have overlooked. I'd have to give her the nod just for the creative way she makes me fill the cuss jar for speaking about winter.

Erin Lausten is another friend and fellow member of the Writers of Mass Distraction. I'm currently reading through her book Unexpected, a roller coaster novel playing around with time travel. If you haven't seen her blog before, check it out. It's a lot of fun.

I'm also reading through Shelly's book Secondhand Shoes, a comedic character study. While many of you do know her blog The Life of A Novice Writer, I'd suggest you check out her second blog, Secondhand Shoes, A Novel, which is a good companion for the upcoming book.

All four of the above are, of course, members of the Writers of Mass Distraction, of course. Along with myself and the rest of the group, we're a twisted and yet creative bunch of writers. You can find our work over at our joint blog, assuming you haven't already subscribed. Check it out!

There are two other blogs I follow that I think you ought to get a look at as well, if you haven't already. Carla White is a fellow Canadian who writes on a variety of themes, including food, life, and the occasional walkabout over at The Water's Edge.

Finally, another Canadian (we're everywhere, don't you know?) that I've gotten to like is novelist Tracy Krauss, who writes Christian fiction. She can be found at Tracy Krauss Expression Express, where she blogs about writing, reading, themes, and life in general.

And there we have it. Check these blogs out and say hello!

With that, on with the business at hand....

It happens every once in awhile to all of us. That night where sleep doesn't come easily, if at all. There are any number of reasons why you're not sleeping. Perhaps you're deliberately doing so, because you have an exam in constitutional law (anything but that!) in the morning and you haven't even started studying. In which case, why on earth are you on the internet reading this blog?

Other times, however, you don't have a choice in the matter. You'd like to get to sleep, but it's just not happening. The reasons can be many. Some nights you're sick, and that keeps you up. At other times you're feeling emotionally down, and sleep evades you. Believe me, I know.

Perhaps it's a guilty conscience. Perhaps you're a puddy tat who just ate a tweety bird, and a disembodied British voice is tormenting you with the full magnitude of your crime. This has you pacing back and forth, thinking that every siren you hear means they're coming for you...

Yes, obviously I've seen my share of those cartoons. I was always rooting for Sylvester, but that's just me.

Then again, maybe the reason you're still awake, staring at that clock near your bed, wondering why you can't nod off, has to do with noise. Perhaps, for example, a squirrel or two have decided to move into the walls of your home and persist in running about at three in the morning, making noise, chattering away, even putting on the coffee and having friends over.

Well, you might as well give it up. So you get up out of bed, head out to the living room, turn on the television, and see what's on. Maybe something suitably boring will do the trick and make you nod off. If not, a profoundly boring book might also be ideal for your purposes.

The most boring book I've ever had to read. I quit after two chapters.

So you've settled in downstairs, found the remote, switched on the television. What might you find? Well, I'll tell you, because of late I've experienced this. You see, the squirrels have taken up winter residence in the walls of my place, and seem to take the greatest delight in making lots of noise. That sort of thing gets really annoying at three or four in the morning.

So I've found myself coming downstairs, turning on a television, seeing what's going on at that time of night. It turns out... not a lot. Here are just a few samples of late late late night programming.

Infomercials. Lots and lots of infomercials, paid ads, and the lot. Soap opera actresses hawking skin cream. A guy who sells seemingly everything, including spray paint that's supposed to cover bald spots (yeah, right). Gym membership infomercials. And oddly enough, infomercials for adults only chat lines, dating service, and what can best be described as "adult entertainment novelties." With demonstrations of said novelties. Yes, vibrators getting shown off at four in the morning.

There are newscasts on the American local channels. At four in the morning. Honestly, who's watching the news that early in the morning? Is this a taped rebroadcast of the late news? Or are these anchors being punished by the station for running over the owner's foot by being exiled to the four A.M. live show?

Perhaps you'll find yourself drawn to one of the movie channels. If you're lucky, you'll find a gem. If you're not, you'll find yourself watching a Three Stooges short (I never did get the Stooges). And if you're very unlucky, you might find yourself watching a Republic serial from sixty years ago about a woman pulling a Zorro, disguising herself in black, riding on a horse out of a hidden cave behind a waterfall, and chasing bandits on a runaway wagon that goes off a cliff (incidentally, if anyone could identify just what that is, I'd appreciate it... I only saw the end of it, and no cast list after the cliffhanger ending.... damn you, serial cliffhangers!).

You might be a sports nut. Well, there might be a taped rebroadcast of a game on at that hour of the night, but odds are, you'll be finding yourself watching something pointless, like golf, or cricket... or poker. Honestly, people, poker's a game at a table! It's not a sport! Why does this sort of thing turn up on a sports channel?

As you're channel surfing, you might end up coming across a well coiffed sanctimonious "evangelist" doing his Revelations-filtered take on the weekly news, interpreting everything as a sign of the end times, and quoting scripture from memory, while his plastic surgery preserved wife and co-host repeatedly says, "that's right!" You might find yourself puzzled as to why the Sanctimonious One starts telling a story that insults the Presbyterian denomination. I was certainly puzzled. I imagine he doesn't get many donations lining his pockets from Presbyterians, so that makes them a fair target.

Maybe you have satellite television. In which case you'll have countless music channels. Somewhere among the classical music channels, there'll be something playing Brahm's Lullabye. That could send you right off to dreamland.

Assuming the squirrels haven't come downstairs and are now taking the party to the wall directly behind you.


  1. First off, thanks for the nod, partner!

    I had a great cure for insomnia before our whole freakin' country went digital and rendered my TV band radio useless. I would tune on to reruns of Oprah. Listening to her worked better than sedatives....

  2. What causes my insomnia is POETRY. Yea, that's right poetry. I am at that place in the tween: just as a settle in and close my eyes and a poem will pop into my brain and gnaw on it until I get up and write it down. Dang it. Almost as bad as squirrels.


  3. Love the fat squirrel!!

    I've lived in houses where there were critters running around in the walls. Not sure exactly what those critters were, but regardless, they can keep you up at night. I hope you get some least if the little buggers are going to party all night long, you'd think they would be nice enough to invite you...

  4. BTW, William...thank you so much for the, if only I could figure out how to get it on my blog(s)!!

  5. Congratulations to my fellow Writers of Mass Distraction on the Kreativ Blogger Award and of course to Carla who has a very fun, imaginative and oft times delicious, calorie inducing and even martini laden blog!

    I remember the late night television commercials yapping on and on about truck driving school.

    By the way, was the cliff and waterfall scene in Romancing the Stone?

  6. Not that I know of, Eve!

    Republic Studios (and others, for all I know) used to do these serials before films, ten or fifteen minutes, always with a cliffhanger ending that brought you back next week. In this case, the woman's riding behind the wagon, shooting at bandits, and there's a fight going on in the wagon between a good guy and a bandit. The wagon comes loose from the horse team, and the wagon goes running off a cliff, followed by a "to be continued next week" teaser...

  7. Congrats on your award, William, and for these awesome links. About that noise, ear plugs! I keep Macs on the bed stand, just in case.

  8. Thanks William (and Eve!)... such kind words.

    Squirrels freak me out. I once had one that constantly sat outside my bedroom window and I was so paranoid about it that I couldn't get any work done. They are schizo little creatures, I swear. I hope they vacate soon!

  9. Oh my goodness, I so understood this post. Sleep is a major thing, especially when chasing a dream. I LOVED the pic of the squirill (I can never spell that word) on coffee. The idea is hilarious. The pics you find are always hilarious.

  10. I don't have insomnia often, but with my schedule I've got plenty of experience with late-night TV. I used to watch the History and Discovery channels until they went the reality route -- now it is indeed the news channels.

  11. Insomnia and I are old companions. This post has given me some more ideas on how to fill those sleepless hours!

  12. William,
    Lol, hon. :) Yep, we all have those bouts of insomnia. Loved the homour about thr squirrels causing the insomnia, and about them even making coffee and inviting their friends over. Lol. :)

  13. It really sucked having insomnia as a child. I watched a LOT of infomercials! At least now that I'm a grown up, I can always OD on Benadryl. Puts me right to sleep!

  14. Thanks William and great post.

    Insomnia is in general not a big deal for me. My day is so nuts and I am usually working on a sleep deficit anyway I usually fall asleep relatively easily. Except when my characters stick their heads in. Which has been just about all the time lately. I have had some issues with several lately and despite the lack of sleep, I still can't get my brain to shut down. I need to finish this first draft on book 2 just so I can get some sleep. Maybe then they will shut up long enough for some.... nuts, I have another idea coming. Ok, so I plan to sleep in my next life.

  15. Thank you for your kind words, Willam I'll have to check out your recommendations. I'm still trying to catch up from the days I missed as a result of my surgery. I'll get there.

    Keep up the great work. The last time I was up at 4:00 am was when I was writing Dancing in Heaven and my brain was composing the story in the middle of the night without my consent.

  16. Insomnia and squirrels. Dear God, what are you doing to me!?


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