Saturday, August 05, 2006

Insomnia and the Writer


With a book in full flow I'm regularly up at 3 in the morning, and sooner than simply lie there I trot off to the desk for an hour or so. In Santa Fe this involved walking across the land to a separate writing studio, which set me at odds with a bear that liked to raid the bins at that hour. The relationship became fractious, the bear bending hummingbird feeder poles to the ground to get at the liquid, chucking the compost bin to the side every night so I had to dig the stuff back in. The issue was resolved in typical Santa Fe fashion when I started leaving an apple out for the bear each night. It accepted the offering and left the household alone.
I'm not mid-project at the moment, and the insomnia is situation specific - this is a jet-lagged posting from the lobby of the Sleep Inn in Denver. It's a wonder to be back in this land again. In a while, when the sun rises, I'll head off into the Rockies and a base at Manitou Springs. This is the merriest part of researching my J.S.Haldane bio, folowing him up Pikes Peak where he famously led a scientific expedition in 1911.
He was not so much an insomniac, more someone who had inverted his day so that he worked through the night and expected his assistants to keep the same hours. No jetlag in those days of course, his progress was much more pleasing and gradual, but he was grumpy for quite a while on the mountaintop, forced to keep to the regular hours of the rest of the world. Then someone pointed out the seven hours difference in time zones between Colorado and Oxford, so that if he kept himself on Greenwich Mean Time his work rhythm had not been disrupted at all, and the man became happy again. As I expect to be. I don't mind following him down sewera and into compression chambers, but am glad he's bequeathed me this mountain treat.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home