I am becoming over familiar with the 3 a.m. world. This morning I came down from the old part of the house where I have started to sleep so as to not wake Phil every time I turn over, stretch my knees, groan or decide to get up for tea, biscuits, comfort by the fire, reading, writing. 3 a.m. is a productive time in terms of ‘ought to’, ‘try to’, ‘will do’ resolutions. This morning was more interesting – when I came into the kitchen it was full of smoke. I opened both doors to swish out the smoke into a damp, dark night, found the problem, the wood-burner door not shutting properly and too full of logs leaning against it. The bustling around took my mind off my leg and the hypnogogic images – something to do with making cheese under adverse circumstances – the mad places where my mind ends up at this time in the morning.
I am writing a childrens/YA story at the moment. A space/planet/eco-paradise effort it is turning out to be. I like my band of youngsters -6 of them – all misfits in a virtual society running out of energy, options and any kind of purpose. I have taken them on a journey to the new planet but now all the problems arise – for me the writer that is. Is this apocalypse ending in The Tempest, monsters, aliens, environmental devastation or a Pilgrim’s Progress of mind and soul – is nature always red in tooth and claw, what would really happen if there was not just a seed bank but a planet bank too? It is interesting seeing where it might all be leading to. My most ‘mis-fit’ character has just decided to be cartographer and recorder, to keep a journal, to write themself sane in the middle of things, just as I am trying to do.
The last few days I have tried to follow ‘cool’ (the surgeon’s advice), rest and ice (the doctor’s advice) and doucement, doucement (re-education kinaesthetist’s advice) none of them has done anything much to tackle the 3 a.m problem and a tendency to descend into depression about 3 p.m in contemplation of the night to come. So here I am, periodically opening the door to the night and clearing more smoke, drinking more coffee and writing myself right (again). If I didn’t write I don’t know how I would be managing but I decide, tonight, kippered and over-caffienated that I am just going to go back to trying to be more normal. I will do the ironing and clean the floor, move back upstairs to my own bed and lovely bedroom, get up if I have to but go to my workroom and read and write without worrying about it – and clearing smoke on the way if necessary! It is the dislocation of the normal and the loss of independence that is worse than the swelling and the pain really. I am now very bored with this whole episode and wish it to finish tout suite. It is time to try and think more sublimely and get back to a more normal modus operandi.
I have the new John Burnside poetry ‘All One Breath – he is prolific with novels and memoir too – I read ‘A Summer of Drowning’ after getting sick of detective stories (3 a.m hospital reading) and it was like walking out into clean air, breathing again. He is an insomniac writer and so some of his poems really hit the mark. I’ve enjoyed Victoria Field’s new book ‘The Lost Boys’ too; like the last line of Garage ‘what will survive of us is stuff’. Well, yes. Like the little mis-fit in my story (I still can’t find her name) let’s be content at the moment with the mundane stuff of 3a.m and the map and record of the journey.