Where Did They Go?

June 24, 2008 | 1 Comment

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By: Dennis Bates

I’ve been sitting here staring at a blank page for more than an hour now and somehow I knew this would happen.  How can a mind that was so full of great ideas, keen insights and thoughts that were sure to make people go ooh and aah about three a.m., when the rest of me wanted to sleep be so empty right now? It is truly one of those mysteries of life for people who write, and I will never understand it.


At two o’clock this morning I couldn’t slow down the little creative gremlins running through my head. At three, I thought my head would explode. One idea after another paraded itself across my brain like a marching band playing 76 trombones. Now granted, the trip across my brain doesn’t take all that long, but the noise was still deafening. At four, I had almost convinced myself that I might as well get up and write down some of the things my mind kept conjuring up so I didn’t forget them. But I was so sure I would never forget all those nuggets of wisdom and duffle bags full of deep thoughts, that I convinced myself not to do that.


At about four thirty I finally fell asleep, and shortly after six I woke up again. It’s a bad habit I have. I got up early to go to work for so long that I still wake up early even though I’m sort of retired.  


“Great,” I thought, “I’ll have all that much longer to write and get things done today. I made breakfast, had my mug and a half of coffee and then turned on my computer. My fingers were twitching, poised for greatness, yearning to impart wisdom.


Nothing. Nada. Zilch. A big fat zero. My fingers just sat on the keys in front of me and gave me the raspberry. I don’t know how they do that exactly, but sometimes they do.


How can that be? Where are all those pesky little critters that tormented me when I wanted to sleep? They were so full of mischief just a few hours ago.  Did they sneak away to get some sleep themselves because they stayed up all night? All I know is if I find any of them, you ‘d better believe I’m going to wake them up and keep them that way.


Ideas are like new born babies. If you let them get away with staying up all night, they will sleep during the day and everybody will think they’re adorable, but mom and dad are the ones who have to stay up all night listening to them, not getting any sleep in the process. You just can’t let them get into that routine because you don’t have the luxury of sleeping anytime you want; only they do. You, on the other hand, have places to go and people to see and you can only see most of them during the day.


You have promises to keep…and miles to go before you sleep.


I had to bring that up, didn’t I? Yawn.




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  1. Peg Phifer says: June 25, 2008

    Oh, boy, can I relate! I’ve had more nights like that than I can number. And not only about writing. There’ve been things like redoing some of the rooms in the house . . . stuff like that.

    On one night when the writer-ly pests kept me awake I decided to write some of them down. There was only dim light coming into the room from around the draperies, and I didn’t want to wake up my husband, so I stealthily pulled out a pencil and pad of paper from my bedside table and began to write, strugging to stay on the lines. Finished, I put them back in the drawer, turned over and went straight to sleep.

    In the morning, all ready to convert those words of brilliant insight to the computer, I found I couldn’t read a single thing I’d written. Nothing! And they were so GOOD. I struggled and struggled to remember what had danced through my head to no avail. They were gone. Vanished in the twilight as if I’d never written anything at all.


    Yeah, I know what you’re talking about.



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