Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why am I awake at 3:52 AM?

Full disclosure, as a lifelong insomniac it's not that unusual for me to be awake between 3 and 5 AM. I used to fight it, but not so over the past few years. In fact, when I'm not in a house full of happily sleeping people I watch TV or read. I've seen lots of episodes of Scandal when I'm in NYC awake in the wee hours. Even home, like now, I play my Words With Friends turns. It's always fun when a fellow player is also awake. 

But no matter where I am, this is the perfect time to obsess. About money. About the missing plane. About my anemia. And now that I've started a new novel, let that obsessing begin! Is it any good? Does it make any sense? How is the person in Paris going to meet the woman in the bookstore????

Monday I begin a two week stay at The Hermitage, an artist colony on the beach (sunshine! Sand! Ocean!) near Sarasota, Florida. Hopefully I will return with 100 pages written, many books read, higher iron numbers, and a bit of color in my winter cheeks. 

It is hard to describe the joys of retreats like this for a writer (or any artist). Thinking is so vital to making art, and I've done some of my best work when I have days and days to do just that. In fact, much of my new book, An ItalianWife, was written at various stays at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY--as a second project to what I'd gone there to write! And yes, I have a second and third project I'm hoping to make progress on in my weeks away. 

Still, this morning I can't stop worrying over what I've written so far (all thirty pages!) or stop trying to solve plot problems. Ok. Or stop reading every news item about the missing plane. 

But I am growing sleepy now. Tomorrow, Sam and I are going shopping and then picking up the grandmas for dinner. Grilling burgers has become my go to way to pretend it isn't 18 degrees. In March. 

And if you are in or near New Orleans, come to the Tennessee Williams Festival this weekend. I will be there with dozens of wonderful writers. 

Even though I have not solved the woman in Paris and the bookstore problem yet, I do think I will go to sleep...