January 14, 2010
I’ve always wished I were one of those people who could sleep anywhere. You know the type: relaxed, a smooth river-washed stone, without a care in the world. When they’re tired, they curl up in anyone’s a bed, or on a dingy couch, in the backseat of a car, under a table, wherever they can find a body-length of space to rest their head. In an instant they’re fast asleep, in another world, far apart from reality. Day or night, in quiet or a tsunami, they’re long gone for an undetermined amount of time, then off they go with the rest of their every day lives.
Me, I need the perfect conditions for sleep. Very rarely will it be before midnight, and all to often I’m doomed to failure after 3am. It usually has to be my bed, or the rare occasion of another bed if another pre-approved body is in it, and/or if the situation demands it. The temperature has to be just right: cool, crisp like an early spring morning. Consequently, I need multiple coverings – while scarcely clad, mind you, but at least a sheet, a cover and a blanket. Over-sized quilts are always preferable. The mattress has to be long enough so my lanky frame doesn’t hang off the end, and it is neither too firm nor too soft – a neutral surface in which to stretch out on. After almost a decade, I still have not found any mattress better than my childhood bed, which has long since been passed to many another home and probably ended up decomposing in a dumpster. I still mourn that bed. Most important perhaps is the need for a large but not overly stuffed pillow that I can hopefully hold onto in the middle of the night (a body will suffice from time to time).
Yet even with all that preparation and specificity, the act of sleep is still a difficult process. I will toss and turn, from stomach to side and to stomach again, the pillow will shift sides multiple times and I will slowly curl myself up into a small insurmountable ball, cocooned and seemingly safe in a tangle of warmth and comfort and blankets within a cool, dark and harsh world.
It is then that the dreams find me. Slowly at first, a hazy, shifting menagerie of hopes, fears and the past days events. Then, as the night progresses they broaden, elaborate on nuisances that become grand myths and mysteries and horrors. They twist and turn into parallel realities and contort into grotesque creatures. As the night wears on, a story is created, or rather recreated. Very rarely are they pleasant to the naked eye, and even rarer do they make sense, least of all to me.
And then, when the light filters in to my nest of comfort, they are retold again and again, flipped over and analyzed in my sleep-hazed rational mind. Then, without conclusion or understanding of the purpose behind my brain’s bizarre creations, I write: put pen to paper and tell a story in all its detail. My pen follows the paths my own mind created over the period of a dark and heavy night, and continues until the connections in my addled brain waves find other interests.
I do not claim to know where most of my stories come from. How my own mind comes up with exotic and ridiculous adventures through life I will never know, nor do I care much to know. But as a result, I find attachment in this delicate balance between reality and the imaginary, stretching the boundaries of fiction to borderline fantasy. After all, what good is reality without a bit of fantasy? It is the fantastical, the whims that push people’s desires, their hopes and aspirations, their fears and their pain.
I’ve always wished to be someone who could sleep anywhere, anytime. But though I would probably sleep better than I do know, I would hate to lose the irreverent connection I think to share with the supposed dreamland. My own brain can serve as my muse, and I pride myself on being self-sufficient.
However created for any writer, to me the story always lies in the details. I can never envy the person with a hazy outline of their last dream, when I can remember, if only for a short time, all the smells, the tastes, the colors, the feelings. It takes one thing to create a story, and another object entirely to create a world. It is this object that I am honored to feel that my brain possesses and that I can utilize in my stories. While I may not understand my own dreams at first, when looked back on, I can see the details and their significance, and built upon those to create something universally appealing.
Thus, if most of my stories come from my non-waking state, I can comfortably argue that each of my pieces helps reveal a bit about myself. While I can separate myself from criticism, I do not claim to attempt to remove myself from my stories. Rather, I can find myself in some shape or form in each piece, and I find the completion (or supposed completion, as I find none of my works to be ever complete) of a story to be a development of my character.
If a body can come up with a story in a moment of sleep, at a point of weakness, a short story is prime to create a world in a limited amount of pages, of time and space. It is a grand challenge; one this sleepy writer will take gladly. If you are a writer, and you can sleep anywhere and everywhere, congratulations, as you will probably live much healthier than I do. But in every detail of my dreams can find themselves in my stories, and not only develop a world for my readers but add to my world, and for that, I’ll take the difficult sleeping.
This blog is a long beginning to the creation of an artistic statement. In the last several months, I’ve come to the realization that my interests are not only multi-faceted, but also ever changing. Most importantly, they always find a way to coincide with one another (for better or for worse). As my life has twisted and turned, as some doors have opened and some have shut, I find the balance of my creative energies between various projects and ideas increasingly interesting to study.
Thus is my attempt. This is a creativity journal, a publishing place, a diary of creative inspirations, projects that succeed, projects that fail, musings on life and art and how often the coincide.
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