Monday, August 19, 2013

#165. or, Elusive

  4:45 a.m., and I'm nowhere closer to that all elusive, peaceful sleep, than I was at 3:45.

  Except, I'm aware that I've failed at my attempt, with the small percentage of my brain I've allotted to ignoring the mosquito bite on my right middle toe, and inadvertently used it to scratch the heel of my left foot, unleashing a flood of euphoria that will most likely end up with my right middle toe being scratched into a bloody mess.

  I didn't actually want to get out of bed, on the off chance I accidently missed catching hold of the sleep that's been dancing playfully on the periphery of my brain. My brain, that seems instead to be content with racing through my great list of unfinished jobs at 100 miles per hour, since around 2:45 this morning.

  Yet, I've begun to string together a mix of words that are too good to ignore, and I know if I don't write them down, and I do happen to fall asleep again, they'll be lost forever. So that's why, at 5:45, I was sitting in the bathroom, scribbling words into my notebook, that have become sentences, which have in turn become paragraphs, and by 6:00 a.m., I've moved to the computer, because I need to write them down.

  Write them down.

  I've noticed the words have pushed all of the other noise out of my head, and it's now quiet enough in my brain, I could probably fall back to sleep. But now, it's the words that need to get out.

  Like I'm some sort of writer or something?

  The thing is, I don't really call myself a writer. I say, "I'm someone who likes to write." Which is sort of the same, but not quite. It's about as close as I can come to calling myself a writer, without actually saying the words. Sitting right there, dancing playfully on the periphery of my brain, like elusive sleep at 3 in the morning.

  I wonder if sitting on the toilet in the middle of the night, jotting words into a 3x5 notebook with a pencil, because you don't want to let them get away makes you a writer? Hopefully it does. I think I'd like to be a writer.

  Maybe I am a writer.

  .........a writer with a crazy itchy, right middle toe.


68 comments:

  1. I have jumped out of the shower and ran into my office and written things down. If I am lucky I even remember to grab a towel on the way out. I think I need a dry erase board in there or something.

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    1. Hey Holly,

      If I did that, I'd have to deal with my wife when she found me standing naked in a puddle of water, over the computer, hunting and pecking my way through my flash of brilliance. It probably wouldn't be even half as sexy as it sounds.

      The dry erase board sounds cool, but I'm always getting on my kids for taking too long of showers. It may have to wait until after they leave home. :)

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  2. Writer or someone that likes to write - it's still fun to read. :-)

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    1. Thanks Becky! It's nice to see you pop up in. :)

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  3. I heard a voice in the middle of the night say, "damn". Am I psychic, was my husband calling out in his sleep again, or was there a foiled intruder in my house, who upon seeing my wedding pictures and a man dressed in Serge realized he'd tried to rob the wrong house. In case I'm not psychic and my husband wasn't calling out I had to investigate. I reached for my bat... it wasn't there. I reached for the Bass guitar and investigated.

    I was Rambo!

    But I hate being Rambo and if I could ever gets my hubs to to be Rambo I would. So I'm not really Rambo. More of a Rambo HAVE to be.

    But you. You are a writer. Because you love it. You love it so much you deny sleep to do it. So yes, call yourself a writer!

    :)

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    1. Hi Rambo Carrie!

      Damn! I hope all was OK and you didn't have to bring some wayward intruder to his knees with your awesome bass guitar licks?

      Maybe I could be Rambo writer? That sounds pretty cools too? :)

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  4. This isn't even up for debate. You. Are. A. Writer.

    I hope the periods and spaces in between each word fully articulate the reality of the statement. :)

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    1. Hey VV!

      Periods and statements for dramatic effect duly noted!

      Thanks so much! :)

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  5. All I can fixate on in your post is insomnia because I've haven't been sleeping well lately either. But at least you got a good post out of it!

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    1. Hi Debra,

      I'm glad that insomnia isn't something that I have to deal with on a regular basis. Having it happen every now and then is bad enough! Hopefully it doesn't last too long for you either. Or maybe fuels your post ideas as well? :)

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  6. Believe me; you are most definitely a writer. Anyone else would have stayed in bed and not worried about jotting anything down.

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    1. Thanks Stephen,

      Believe me, I tried to do that but the post was practically writing itself and I couldn't pass that up.

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  7. Yep, you're a writer, Ken. Writing helped soothe your mind and you had the need to get it all out. Welcome to our world!! Muwaahhaa!!

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    1. Elsie! So nice to see you here! And thanks. :)

      Oh oh....evil laugh? Do I need to get myself a lair now? Those sound like so much work. :)

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  8. I have nights like that, but thank Goodness I don't write my thoughts down...nor put them in print. Whew. That's very scary.
    I have, however, jotted things down on post-it notes while at work and cram them in my purse. This is why sometimes I pull out my wallet and an entire post-it note pad comes flowing out as well...and I'm crawling on the floor in the supermarket trying to pick them all up before someone reads them and thinks I'm nuts.
    But yes, I agree. You ARE a writer. And a fine one indeed.

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    1. Thanks Lynn!

      That's pretty much the reason I started to pack my little notebook around. The funny thing is, it was the story that settled my mind and had I had the time, I'm sure I could have went back to sleep once I got that out.

      Also, I don't think you're nuts.....but if you are, welcome to the club. It's nice to have some company. :)

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  9. Anyone propelled from their bed in the middle of the night is a writer.

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    1. Perhaps, Joe.

      Except, 9 times out of 10, it seems I'm being propelled out of bed to pee these days, rather than write. I might be more of a pee-er than a writer?

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  10. Oh friend,

    Yes. One thousand percent, yes. YOU. ARE. A. WRITER. Bravo for you in finally calling it yourself. I am still not there. It is AMAZING how much you have grown since I first started following your posts. I love that you finally got up to scrawl your thoughts. Those are the gems to capture right when they are ripe. Insomnia hoovers, but what comes of it may be absolute genius. Keep at it, you writer, you.

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    1. And when I say I am still not there, I mean in calling myself one. You? Yes, I would shout it from the street corner. Okay, maybe not a street corner unless I'm peddling my body...no, I would proclaim it from the mountain top (there, that's better), 'Ken is a writer!!'

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    2. Hello, My friend!

      From a mountain top! High praise indeed! (see what I did there?) ;)

      I look back at those older posts sometimes, and a lot of them aren't really that good. Some have potential, and could stand a good rewrite. I know I still have a long way to go, but it's a cool thing to see the progression from those days.

      I get caught in a trap of trying to write something really well, and just letting people know I'm still alive because I don't post nearly as often as I'd like. Well, I do try to write those "here I still am posts" really well. I just seem to be way more selective as to my subject than I used to be.

      Also, don't be so hard on yourself! I've read your posts and have been swept away with your words. I can remember thinking, I wish I could do that, while reading your posts. You're a writer too! Carrie is a writer! :)

      (that's a lot of exclamation marks. Sorry for that.)

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  11. I think that you are good writer and I enjoy your posts because you make the mundane interesting thorough your creative wording.

    I am new to writing and I hope that with time, I will improve, but I love the process.

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    1. Thanks so much! I have a lot of mundane in my life, so I do what I can. :)

      I'm pretty new to this as well. I wish I had paid more attention way back in highschool, because I really like writing and I know I've forgotten more about the rules of grammar than I still retain.

      It's the community of bloggers that have helped me so much. They're supportive and suggestive, and I wouldn't be able to spill these silly thought out in nearly as a creative manner without them. :)

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    2. I think that it is great that you have found support in the blogging community. Suggestions from other writers are invaluable. When in doubt, you can look up the grammar rules which I do often. My favorite site is Grammar Girl because she explains the rules simply and gives tricks to remember them.

      I am also open to constructive criticism. How did you get help?

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    3. I'll certainly take some time to check out the Grammar Girl site. Simple works really well for me. :)

      Mostly, I asked. The first time I posted at Yeah Write, I was stressing like crazy. I asked somebody I follow that posted there before what they thought of the post I wanted to submit, and she helped me polish it up a bit. Also, I was talking with Erica on twitter about most of my posts being too long to fit there most of the time. She looked over one of my posts and what she suggested to help, became glaringly obvious once she pointed it out. I still have pretty long posts, but I always watch for what she told me now.

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  12. Yes, it does. You're a writer. Repeat after me: "I'm a writer." (I don't hear you!) Again, now..."I'm a writer." Now, keep scribbling in that notebook, hopefully not during the wee hours, because I always enjoy reading your writing.

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    1. I'm a writer!

      It still feels odd to say. But I will keep scribbling, I promise.

      Thanks so much! :)

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  13. You explained insomnia, and the flow of inspiration, so well.
    My ideas come to me while driving which is quite inconvenient!

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    1. Thanks! I get a lot of ideas while I'm driving as well, except it's usually when I'm tooling about in my tractor. So, a lot less traffic. :)

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  14. Yup, you're definitely a writer.

    1) Because you wrote this and this was fascinating to read and your voice is fantastic.

    And

    2) From your writing, you've inspired me to write more.

    Therefor, I crown you Sir Writer.

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    1. WOW!

      I hadn't ever really considered that anything I write would ever inspire somebody to write more. I think I need to let that sink in for a bit.

      Sir Writer! Does the position come with a sword or a pen? Hopefully a sword....I like swords.

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  15. I know what you mean about calling yourself a writer...I feel the same way...its so riddled with self doubt. I read your stuff and say "yup hes a writer..." I read mine and think..."hmmmm, not so sure..." I think we all do that at some point.

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    1. Hey Zoe,

      I think we all probably do. Like you, I read everyone else and wish I was that good. Perhaps that's the thing that keeps us working at trying to be better at this than we are.

      That's not such a bad thing. :)

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  16. I finally gave in to calling myself a writer in the last year or so, but it still feels like a borrowed sweater. My turning point? Realizing that not everyone narrates everything that happens in their life. I think in sentences and images and words, words, words. If that doesn't make me a writer, I don't know what does...

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    1. I know what you mean. It's difficult because I do this other thing that feeds my family, and I've dedicated pretty much my entire life to it. But the writing, it's there and I can't ever see it not being a part of my life. I might be trying to make them both work together, to make it OK. I'm not sure. I just know this is deep inside of me.

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  17. Anyone who carry me from insomnia to a mosquito bite to writing on the toilet and still hold my interest surely has contracted the designation of writer - or malaria victim. Let's go with writer.

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    1. I think my blood has pretty much everything that can possibly be in it, that you can get from a mosquito by now. So I'm ruling out the malaria.

      Yes, lets go with writer. :)

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  18. You are a writer! I think it's one of those elusive titles we all struggle to claim. I've enjoyed your pieces here, and I think your middle-of-the-night drive illustrates it even more. :)

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    1. Thanks so much! I always enjoy it when I can make a post work here. :)

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  19. I think I have the exact same feeling - like I'm being a fraud in some way. I keep expecting someone to bust me for false representation: "So, we hear you've been calling yourself a *writer*, sir..."
    But I agree with Joe in the comments up above - if writing stops you from sleeping, you're a writer!

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    1. I know, right?

      If the false representation, writing police show up looking for me, try to blow them off my scent. I'd like to do this for a while longer.

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  20. You're definitely a writer, my friend. I know what you mean though; I feel like I can only call myself a writer if I'm Mary Higgins Clark or something. (That's the first one that popped into my head, don't know why. lol) But that feeling of not wanting to let the words get away? That's so the way it is. In songwriting too. I always have a notebook or a small voice recorder nearby and I end up with all these crazy snippets of thoughts and ideas...sentences...phrases. It's fun, isn't it? Capturing those moments that hit your brain and molding them into something that will be there forever.

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    1. Thanks Linda!

      I would suspect it's an even stronger feeling with the song writing. That small twist of phrase to catch the listener.

      Even though I've had various notebooks, I've only recently dedicated myself to trying to have it with me ALL the time. Besides the obvious benefit of having it there to put my ideas in, it seems to make me feel more writerly as well. I like that feeling. :)

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  21. A quick moment of silence for all of the thoughts I had that I swore were so good I would definitely not forget them by morning...You captured it all so well, including making my toe itch in commiseration!

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    1. There's been so many times, I've layed there crafting a perfectly wonderful post in my head, like molding a statue form a lump of clay. Only to wake up in the morning and see that statue has turned back into the lump again and I have to start all over.

      Sorry about the itch.

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  22. I'll go with "someone who writes" over a "writer" any old day.

    Writers worry about their craft and whether their material is worthy of their art.

    Someone who writes just tries to communicate an idea in their head.

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    1. Hey Katy!

      I think, basically, that's how I feel as well. There's so many out there who make a living at this, and who am I to come in say "here I am!, I can put word onto paper too! I must be a writer."

      I don't know, It's something I like to do. I suspect I'm never going to make a living at it, But I still have the desire to put words together. It's really a grey area.

      By the way, I'd call you a writer. :)

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  23. I think it's more about THAT you do it rather than HOW you do it-- so yep, you're a writer all right. A pretty great one, though I'm sorry about that itchy toe... :)

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    1. WOW...thanks so much!

      I think I'm improving. I know coming to Yeah Write makes me step my game up quite a bit. So in that regard, you all are helping me along.

      That toe! It drove me about crazy for a day and a half!

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  24. Insomnia's the worst, but if you get something good out of it, it's not all bad, right? Better than Candy Crush. From a "writer" to a writer.

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    1. Believe me, it doesn't alway work out like that. I think I got fortunate that night. :)

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  25. I carry my blog notebooks around with me all the time because I do this kind of stuff too. I mentally write blog posts when I'm out walking my dog, driving in my car and basically anything else I'm doing except when I'm trying to write. Weird how inspiration comes to us when we're doing something other than thinking about ourselves as a writer.

    And good luck on the itch problem :)

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    1. I always get thoughts when I'm driving a tractor out in a field. I think it's because there's no traffic, no dotted lines or anybody else around. Just me and my thoughts, and the tractor of course, but the situation tends to lend itself to being creative. At least for me anyways.

      I just came in from working on my broken down forage harvester, and a whole new hoard of mosquitos. I suspect more itching is in store.

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  26. Sorry, you sound like a writer to me. ;)
    PS- HATE insomnia! I usually read myself to sleep, but perhaps it's the words needing to get out?

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    1. Thanks! :)

      Whether you're letting the words in, or letting the words out, as long as it helps you get some sleep in the long run. :)

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  27. I think anyone who gets up in the middle of the night to sit in the bathroom and write words is most definitely a writer. This captures that frustrating middle-of-the-night-can't-sleep-to-save-my-life feelings absolutely perfectly.

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    1. Says the young lady who gets up with the birds to run when the day is brand spanking new. I think I'd call you a runner.....and a writer. It's what we dedicate our time to. :)

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  28. Don't we all do this, though? Avoid labeling ourselves as "writers." Feeling that it is too presumptuous to refer to ourselves in that way if we don't have a best selling novel or work for a popular and published written publication?

    So, I have this phone case (bear with me), and I really love it, but it keeps breaking apart, so that it is now finally just falling off the phone. I have to replace it. I have a few extra. One, I bought on a whim and it has a pic of a typewriter on it, and says "Writer" on it. For some reason, I just can't put it on my phone, even though I really like it and really need a new case. It feels like a lie to walk around with something like that screaming out to the world. Why is that?

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    1. OK, so you have a phone case. This spring, I got a tattoo on my forearm that's a piece of a Stephen King quote about writing. ".......one word at a time." As in, how do you write?

      Like your phone case, I thought about having it, to put out there for a very long time, even though I really liked what it said. In the end, I decided, even if everything I write is crap, I still like doing it. It's part of who I am. So I went ahead with it.

      I think you should use the phone case. :)

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  29. It's so interesting to me that so many of us struggle with whether we "count" as writers or not. I think there's this sense that "real writers" are only people who interminably sit around coffee shops with ink soaked hands or publish gazillions of books a year. Like "real writers" have to be jaw droppingly committed to the craft or phenomenally commercially successful. But surely a thing can't be defined solely in terms of extremes... I don't know... Leave it to writers to ponder this question at length, though!

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    1. But surely a thing can't be defined solely in terms of extremes.

      I like that thought.

      I was surprised that so many others struggle with the same hesitation to tag themselves as "writers."

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  30. i love when i feel so inspired that i can't sleep or i'm running and can't get home fast enough to get my thoughts down. i don't know when we ever feel legitimate to call ourselves writers. but i still love to write. :)

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    1. That's exactly it. I love that feeling too. Even though it's a relatively new one to me, I think it's helped me to slow down a pace or two and try to see the world around me. There's a lot of inspiring things out there.

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  31. I hate not getting that well needed sleep for various reasons. Myself, I worry a lot for friends and family - thus I wake up every other hour basically all nights. It's exhausting. And it doesn't really improve when I can't do anything to improve the situation for my friend either, and being told not to worry. I can't turn that off, wish I could. Perhaps then I'd be able to get some sleep, until then guess I'm stuck laying awake at night. Worrying. No itchy toes though :P.

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    1. I can't say that I have this all the time. It just seems to happens more at the busier times of the year for me. The bad part is when it's things that are out of my control, like you're describing. I hope you can find a way to block it out.

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  32. If you define yourself by what you do, you're a writer. If you define yourself by what you'd like to do, you're a writer. If you define yourself by late night nonsensical rambling that becomes sentences, you're a writer. If you define yourself by fantasizing about knifing a bloody gash into your toe to release mosquito demon juice, you're a crazy fuck... and also a writer.

    Great post, Ken. I think a lot of us feel the same way.

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    1. Thanks Reanna!

      Now all I have to do is find the time to actually write something. Hopefully, something other than in the middle of the night. :)

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  33. The only thing stopping you from calling yourself a writer is fear. It sure isn't your writing, because it's wonderful. And anyone who gets a writing quote tattoo surely has the heart for writing. And for sure if you are writing down your thoughts in the middle of the night, you are a writer! So stop monkeying around and call yourself what you are. A writer. A great writer.

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