Dreaming Awake

I cannot sleep for the best of reasons. I am three quarters of the way through my first major rewrite of my first completed novel and I have discovered that the story is one I actually enjoy.

It is the curse of readers who become writers: we know good literature from bad and our first fumbling attempts at writing are almost always terrible. Not only that, first novels tend to be like first time mothers delivering a child: arduous, excruciating, and seemingly interminable.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, of course; we pretend they don’t exist for our own sanity. As Anne Dillard said, “Out of a human population on earth of four and a half billion, perhaps twenty people can write a book in a year. Some people lift cars, too. Some people enter week-long sled-dog races, go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, fly planes through the Arc de Triomphe. Some people feel no pain in childbirth. Some people eat cars. There is no call to take human extremes as norms.”

Well, it’s taken me nearly two years and untold hours of mind numbing labor, and I am lying awake through the few precious hours of sleep I am afforded because I cannot stop writing. I don’t want to leave the world I’ve imagined. I don’t want to leave this conversation with my characters before its finished.

Sleep-deprived as I am, I want to stay and dream awake.