I Need Sleep

I don’t usually like to complain here.  This isn’t a “personal journal,” but a “writer persona” journal–in other words, this place isn’t the unfiltered me, but the carefully-considered me, which is why I rarely write on controversy here–I’ll only do it if I can do it without rancorous language.  But this one touches on writing, so: 

My six year old has apparently decided to be the antithesis of the perfect child for a while.  She will not sleep through the night; waking four or five times on some nights (this after months of sleeping through the night).  She won’t just roll over, either–no, she’s got to get up, come to my room, and wake me (because my wife sleeps right through it; don’t get me started) to get me to take her back to her bed, where she falls asleep almost immediately OR lies awake for an hour or more.  

Ok, I’m an insomniac.  Did it have to hit her, too?  

This process makes her tired and cranky, and it makes ME tired and cranky, so much so that I’ve caught myself snapping at her over very silly things that don’t deserve censure.  Then I feel like a bad father and have to struggle not to “make it up to her” by overcompensating.  Then I get up at six o’fuck in the morning, get myself ready to work, then get her up and dressed and out the door by 6:40.  This is why I won’t be teaching a zero-period class next year; I need more time in the morning.  

Here’s the part where it affects writing:  I haven’t slept well in weeks.  I cannot seem to get anything written that doesn’t immediately make me roll my eyes at myself.  I wrote a scene last night: 342 words.  All of them horrible junior-high melodrama.  I was disgusted when I looked at them this morning.  I deleted all that didn’t work, leaving me with a net word count of FIVE WORDS.  This is not how one finishes a novel.  

I know what’s supposed to happen, I just can’t get it written.  

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About Michael Johnston

Father of a third grader, high school English teacher, writer. Forty-three years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA
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2 Responses to I Need Sleep

  1. Raven says:

    OMG. You get up, get yourself ready, and get your daughter ready from a dead sleep and it only takes 40 minutes? I salute you. It takes me 90 minutes to get one kid ready and that’s if I’m not working that day. I need a solid hour before anyone gets up before I can wake the kids.

    But on topic – life will happen sometimes. It’ll pass. 🙂

  2. It isn’t easy, but I move fast. I’m one of those folks who doesn’t like to wake up, but once I’ve made the decision to get up, I am at speed pretty quickly. It’s even easier in spring and summer, when the sun is already up when my alarm goes off.

    To be fair, I start dressing my kid when she’s still asleep, while talking to her to try to wake her (unlike me, she sleeps like a stone when she’s asleep) and she wakes up about halfway through it. I know I need to start moving her towards getting up and putting her own clothes on, but there’s just not enough time in the morning. We’ll begin over the summer so she’s ready for it next school year. On non school days, she dresses herself.

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