"I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead"

“I’ll sleep when I’m Dead,” sang Warren Zevon in one of his memorable songs.  Oh how I want to sleep while I am living, but it ain’t happening!. So here I am, catching up, writing early morning pages, mourning the days when sleep came so easily.

Perhaps the shift from Winter to Spring makes us all restless. Central Texas is in a liminal “in between” state which lasts about a week, when the temperature can vacillate between 80 something to 39 degrees.  One day we wear flip-flops and by evening we are scrounging in the back of our closets for the Ugg boots. We are constantly adjusting our air-conditining and heating, and it makes for some uncomfortable nights, alternating between sweat and freezing.

Or maybe it is simply age and the restlessness that comes from knowing that the horizon–the end of our days– that once seemed so far off is steadily approaching.  Whereas in youth, one is flush with TIME, by middle age, we know that we will never accomplish all that we have dreamed of, and can barely make time to do some of the most pressing things on our “bucket list.” And so at 3:00 am my mind is  flooded with all the things I want to do–the swimming, the tennis, the yoga, dance. The friends to see, the places to go.

I wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts of art unfinished, lying in flat-files, and art yet to be made.  (Ah, the joy of the formless, shapeless vision, that has not been birthed into real life. It can remain perfect in all ways, flawless in concept and execution.) I go over in my mind colors, techniques, writing styles.  And morning comes with the rush of necessary mundane tasks– and the vision recedes…poof!  Perhaps this is why journaling is such an essential practice. It helps to tether those ideas onto something concrete, if only a page in a sketchbook. It keeps the mind connected to the body through the physical act of drawing, writing, coloring.

Perhaps this sleeplessness is the result of having neglected my sketchbook yesterday. I made art, but I did not draw enough.

“To sleep, perchance to dream…” I catch the first glimmers of light from the sun which is about to rise.  Instead of cleaning my studio, it seems wiser to creep back into bed with sleeping husband and cat. Perhaps this bit of blog-blathering will have helped to quiet a racing mind, and sleep will come unbidden.  And when I arise again with the morning in full bloom, the first thing I will do is draw my way into another day

3 Comments

  1. sharon…
    that is such an awesome blog you wrote.
    it really makes me think that i should be journaling. your comment on time is so right on. i was just talking about this the other day. how
    when you are a kid time moves so slow. a
    summer vacation lasts forever. getting to 16
    so you can drive takes a lifetime. but once you hit 20
    suddenly times starts moving quicker and
    quicker to where minutes, days, weeks and
    years wiz by. we must enjoy every minute remaining.
    have a great day and thanks again for the thought
    provoking writing. magically, louie

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Louie. I wrote it at 5:00 am when I was just unable to sleep. At 3:30 pm I am NOW ready to sleep, but am staying up to participate in SXSW movie festival. How are you?

    Reply

  3. Wow – I could have written that post myself! I constantly struggle with not having enough time for my art. Working full-time, being a wife, homeowner, etc, pretty much takes it all away from me. And just this week I was totally struggling with having not gotten enough sleep so I had to make up for some of it this weekend which, of course, cuts into what little free time I have.

    But if you don’t get enough sleep then you are not at your best when you do have the time to sit down and create. Tough choices!

    Maybe it’s comforting to know that you are not the only one?

    Reply

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