Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, April 25, 2005

Failure of the Day: Priorities

My insomnia is still as brutal as ever so I make an effort to go to bed and wake up around the same time on weekends as I do on workdays, which is considered good “sleep hygiene.” That means I’m up well before Chris, who stays up late into the night playing video games and generally getting in some quality alone time.

Weekend mornings I make coffee, eat a little something, and often watch a movie in my room while Chris sleeps. (I saw I’m Not Scared on cable during a recent early weekend morn and loved loved loved it, by the way.) Around 10 or so I head back to bed to read until Chris wakes up and then he reads for a while too. It’s all very domestic and sweet.

Sometimes, though, Chris wakes up earlier than he should, eager as he is to hit that ever-growing stack of comic books under the bed. So he reads a little and then slips off back to sleep and then wakes up, reads a little more, and slips back into sleep. That’s what happened this last Saturday morning; I was in bed reading and Chris had dozed off, his soft, warm head nestled against the crook of my arm.

It’s a good book; the protagonist is helpfully a neurosurgeon, although that has little to do with the actual book. Nevertheless, it sparked some ideas in my head about my own novel and I wanted to jot them down. Pen and paper were a few feet away though, on the bottom shelf of the nightstand. I couldn’t reach it without leaning my whole body away from, and thereby disturbing, Chris.

I thought about it, but decided against moving to reach the pen. It wouldn’t have bothered him; it probably wouldn’t even have woken him up, but I loved his head right where it was and right then, that was more important than the ideas for my novel. I tried like hell to keep the ideas rolling around in my mind, but I eventually forgot all but one of them. And it turns out I don’t so much mind. I have lots of ideas, after all. But only one soft, warm head.


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