Burn, baby, burn

I keep my house a cool 65 degrees in the winter. Friends and family know to dress in layers when they come over. Echoes of Jimmy Carter’s “put on a sweater” come from my mouth when the kids complain; we’re all fans of flannel pajamas.

During cooler seasons, on my bed I keep two comforters, one down and one heavy as an x-ray vest. In addition to cozy pajamas, November to March is made for flannel sheets. Oh, and the two cats sleep on my bed, one near my right foot and one near the left. The more layers of warmth, the better.

But for the last two weeks, with temperatures still struggling to find spring, I have been waking up at least three times a night on figurative fire. I’d call this “night sweats” except that I don’t actually sweat; no middle of the night t-shirt change is required. The pattern goes like this: I kick one leg out from under the mass of warmth. It’s not enough to cool me down so I kick the second leg out. I flip from sleeping on my left side to the right. Then I get cold and climb back under one layer, and then another. Repeat at least three times. The cats don’t move.

During these hot flashes, my usually frosty hands and feet burn hot enough to fuel a city. Seriously, if Elon Musk could find a way to transmit and store that heat, I’m sure I could power something and at least then I wouldn’t feel so bad because nothing irritates me more than interrupted sleep.

Is this “the change” inviting itself into my life? I don’t particularly welcome change, and especially with D.C. area temperatures predicted to soar to the 80s by the end of the week. (I will not turn the AC on in April, I will not turn the AC on in April, I will not turn the AC on in April.) I can only hope “fire sleep” is a temporary condition.

 

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the drafting table

Sleep begets sleep. That’s what I’ve found when it comes to the boys. I can’t explain it but when they were babies, the better the nap, the easier bedtime was. And now, if I put them to bed early, they sleep later. It even works for me.

I’ve learned the same is true when it comes to writing. Writing begets writing. Words beget words. Plot begets plot. I don’t quite understand this is anymore than I understand it when it comes to sleep, but the phenomenon is rather consistent with my personality. When I find something I like to do (sleep, cook, exercise, drink wine) and it turns out I’m good at it then I want to do it every day. And when I don’t do it, I don’t feel like myself.

Until yesterday, I had written every day since January 1st. You already know I crushed my January goal and I’m close to killing February too. But about 24 hours into a headache last night, I cut myself some slack and gave my brain the night off.

That didn’t come without an internal struggle. What if skipping a day killed my momentum? What if it takes me another six weeks to streak again? What if I return to my story and find it sucks? But in the end, a rest was what I needed. And while I haven’t had a chance to sit down at the computer today, my characters and their lives are never far from my thoughts. And I’m not freaking out at all. Really.

After all, I’ve got 63,000 words and counting.