Wrapping up “Project June,” still obsessing about sleep.

142016In my last post, I pondered whether the absence of creating poetry while on my almost month-long writing retreat might be contributing to my inability to sleep.  My dear friend and fellow poet, Ann, was absolutely right when she wrote in a comment to that post that it sounded as if it was time to write a poem.  She also hit upon the fact that editing and revising are not the same as creating, and I can admit that a good portion of my time here has been devoted to the revision process … which is, as Ann pointed out, emotionally somewhat removed from the project.

A couple of weeks ago, while not sleeping, I came across a program on the Discovery Health channel about dreaming.  It was while watching this program that I got the title for that poem it was time to write.   When I got the first draft of this poem written last week, having to tinker with it was a nice respite from wrestling with revising the snaking prose that had already laid claim to its territory.

The last couple of weeks, I have utterly given in to my natural body clock, staying up until 3:00 or 4:00 and sleeping until 10:00 or 11:00 (when I could sleep at all).  I resent this condition in myself.  However, there’s nothing to be done for it, and since I have been completely on my own here, why not give in?  And yet, there is tension even in that “harmless” surrender.  Thus the poem.  Here is a stanza from the poem, which is still a draft, and is entitled Six Years of Dreaming.  On that Discovery Health channel program, it was said that the average person will spend six years of their lives dreaming.  Stanza 3:

Sleep has come to do an intervention
bringing with him
common sense, conventional wisdom
intuition … history.  All the self-righteous
and smug know-it-alls.
Naturally, I am repulsed.

It is still a draft, but I like the doing of it … and I slept great last night.  Tomorrow I head home, back to my family and, therefore, back to more reasonable and loving expectations.

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Running Away

shellCurrently, running away might be exactly what I could be accused of doing.  I am at our small beach house where I have been most of this month.  I have been coming here every year for the past 4 summers, during the month of June, in order to write and recharge.

Some years have been more successful than others in the area of writing, but usually I have been able to rest well, even if I have not been able to write well while here.  This year, oddly, I have not been able to rest quite as well.  One factor has been the weather.  We have had storms rolling in at night and these tempests have managed to intrude on my rest in two ways.  The first way is the most obvious: if I am sleeping, and if the storm is close enough, it wakes me.  The second way is both more appealing and less preferable at the same time:  the storm comes before I am asleep and so I open the blinds or go out onto the porch and become a spectator.  The thrill of watching a good storm, frankly, makes it difficult to settle down enough to later go to sleep.  I simply don’t want to sleep afterwards.

However, for me to blame my inability to rest completely on these acts of God is not the whole story.  Continue reading