Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Writing in my sleep.


Over the years I have heard and read any number of ways writers go about their business. Most are relatively straightforward, others a little quirky. There is, for instance, a writer from Texas who strolls the streets at night with pencil and paper in hand, writing as he walks. There are people who do not write unless certain conditions apply: a prescribed number of freshly sharpened pencils all lined up; a favored selection of music playing in the background; a cowboy hat perched atop the head.
And so on.
Me, I can and do and have written things anywhere and everywhere. In airports and on airplanes, on the bus, alone in my office, at the kitchen table surrounded by family, in motel rooms, at all times of the day and night, in front of the TV, with a radio or music or nothing playing…. Well, you get the idea.
I also write in my sleep. Don’t ask me how it happens. But many (it would not be pushing it to say most) mornings, I wake up with a string of words stuck in my mind. If I went to bed with an advertising assignment pending, I would often awaken with an idea, a headline, and even a draft of the copy ready and waiting.
It happens with poetry, too. A couplet, a quatrain, a stanza, even the basis for an entire poem may greet me with the sun. Or dialogue—a whole conversation between characters—for a novel in progress. A way to say a passage, an opening or closing line. An idea for a character, a story, a detailed concept for a novel, the framework for an essay or magazine article.
Sometimes I even see it happen. In that not-quite-asleep-but-not-yet-awake time in the morning, ideas and words and phrases ricochet around in what passes for my brain and I just sort of lay there and snooze and watch as they turn into something useful.
That’s all for now. I’m going to bed. Maybe, come the morning, I’ll have more to say.





11 comments:

  1. Lucky man. As someone who struggles for hours just to get a few paragraphs into a readable form, I envy you, Rod. But I am not surprised--you always had the uncanny ability to write just the right thing when needed. I remember trying to get a billboard out of you for Ken Garff Hyundai, when the brand was first introduced. I don't remember what the resistance was, but once I was able to convince you, within minutes, you gave Randy something like, "Ken Garff has a New Car." It was perfect, as always, to introduce a new car line. Yup, I wish I could do that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See response below. I pushed the "post" button while still asleep.

      Delete
  2. Who is that writer in Texas? I'd trip and kill myself. But walking is conducive to thinking....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you, friend Brian. I remember that billboard. It actually said "Introducing Ken Garff's new line." and the art was an outline of the top of the car. It won an Obie Award. Those were the days (and nights). Then again, so are these.

      Delete
    2. Vicky--It's Patrick Dearen. So far as I know, he is still on his feet.

      Delete
  3. Good for you, Rod, that you write even in your dreams, or at least conceive of ideas during that time. I have thought a lot about your post about passion a few weeks back, and I think what you describe here would be considered passion, too, even if you don't like the term. I think it is merely a difference in definition. You take issue with that word, but describe that you are incessantly thinking about writing, writing in every possible situation, dreaming about writing. If that is not passion, what is?! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you, Tanja. What you say could well be true. But I would be more inclined to think so it "writing in my sleep" was something I did on purpose. But it seems to happen somewhere in my brain that doesn't require much active participation on my part.

      Delete
    2. ...it might be passion internalized... :-)

      Delete
  4. One of your best, brother.
    Do I sleep? Do I dream?
    Nope.
    I'm writing.
    Stay strong, you.
    JB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, John. Think how much more I could get done if I started napping.

      Delete