Sudden early-morning wakefulness drove me out of bed just now. I don’t know where it came from: sometimes these fits feel like a ripple has passed over me, that only I (and maybe others, he said in a brief flicker of wishing-to-be-connected) have a sensitivity to. I wheeled myself out of bed, went to the bathroom, heard a single bird singing in the dark.
I do feel like I’m caught up temporarily in some sort of whirlwind. We’re approaching the winter solstice, and my desire to create and invent—if not always my capacity for it—is reaching its seasonal peak. I’ve just posted out all the copies of A Pocketful of Lies yesterday, and found myself, without really trying, ending the year with another of my January goals technically fulfilled. I’m published, after the fashion of vanity.
But my brainâ€™s also currently full of the dream that might have woken me up: a back-to-college dream that even now is fading, at least in detail. In it I was also convinced of my own potential in that eighteen-year-old’s way, and looking back I remember how misguided I was. Looking back is something Iâ€™ve been doing recently, in fact: I went through a large stack of papers from the past ten years, only a few weeks ago. It was probably that that precipitated APoL. It reminded me simultaneously how far Iâ€™d come and how qualified were all the things Iâ€™d accomplished. How thereâ€™s the meanest of creative miseries in becoming a repository for your own unpublished works, and words want to be free, and shared.
One lesson I have learned is that being awake at hours that nobody else is awake is no recipe for success or happiness. But solitude, which I can now finally experience without concomitant loneliness, can sometimes perform the same function as a complicated, confusing dream: letting me unravel all the knots in what I’m thinking about. Letting me see what it is I want most from 2007. Letting me look forward. I can’t wait.