I’m gonna be honest with you, as I always am. Probably too honest really, because I know I over share and while that feels fine late at night, it always seems strange and foreign in the morning. I don’t know why. There have been so many times I say things late at night out on the internet and then wake up and think, “Did I really say that?” and go and delete whatever it was. And you might think I have just had too much to drink at night but you would be wrong. It’s not about the beer or wine or whiskey so much as the late night tired mind and body vs the early morning freshness of mind and body. Well actually the body has little to do with I think, it’s mostly about the mind. IN ANY CASE, I have had this dilemma lately where it’s too early to go to bed and too late to go to the studio and so I’ll start off by explaining that.
Many evenings I get done with work and get done with hanging with the family, and get done with checking and responding to emails and checking news headlines, and I get stuck. It’s too early to go to bed. That’s not to say I can’t just go to bed early because I can, but when I do I find that I wake up 5 or 6 hours later and am restless and end up getting my sleep cycle out of whack. For example: if I go to bed at 10 I am likely to wake up at 3 or 4. I think it’s because my body mostly wants to sleep in the 5-6 hour range. Waking up at 4 I should just get up and go get stuff done. But I don’t. I lay there and toss and turn and wish I could keep sleeping and wait for the sun to rise. I tell myself I will just get up at 4 and go to the studio or start some project but I never do. I think, “Oh it’s still so early I can get in a few more hours of sleep.” But that doesn’t happen. One of my goals is to actually get up when I wake up and try to see what I can find to stay busy. I can go to the studio and paint or work on stained glass, I could write. I could draw. I could work on an audio journal. Those are basically my go to things I do. I really don’t read or watch videos or whatever normal things most people do. I sometimes think about how nice it would be to sit and read a book or watch a show but then if I ever try I get entirely bored. Anyway, I have learned that going to bed at 10 just messes up my sleep.
If I go to the studio I find that it is best to have 3 hours to work. The first hour to two hours is getting into the thing and the third hour goes by in what seems like minutes and everything gets done. I often go to the studio at 10 even though I know I don’t have the time I prefer but many times I am ready to go to the studio and it is 10:45 or 11. Not enough time to really even get into it. I know I should and I could just as I should and could get up at 4am and get things done, but I don’t. My favorite time to sleep is midnight-6. I usually sleep straight through and enjoy the half hour of laying there awake waiting to get up. But if I don’t go to the studio at 11 and I want to wait until 12 to sleep and I am eager to stay away from mindless computer surfing (which always feels like a time waster) then I am stuck with writing.
That’s why I am here. It was 10:45 and too early for bed. I refuse to waste time surfing the web mindlessly. It is seldom I find any inspiration there. The studio work I have to do needs a bigger block of time and so I write. If I am confused about why I don’t get up at 4am when I am clearly awake? and if I am perplexed about why things I say at night seem stupid in the morning? Well, neither of those things seems as puzzling as the fact that I decide that writing about my sleep habits is the best thing I can think of to do with my time. Why do I often think that opening up a page and stream of consciousness writing will be the solution to my problem of not being sure what to do next? Why is it that I think that the navel gazing exercise of explaining my mind workings in excruciating detail will be either worth reading or worth writing? And for a guy so caught up with efficiency and purpose the only real benefit to this exercise is adding a post to the list, pushing another post down the page, and getting my mind good and empty in hopes of a better nights sleep. Because I will say that often my best dreams come when my mind is empty. My best ideas come when I’ve cleared the closets and shelves that are my “to do” list. I think I need a whole new paragraph to expound on that:
When I want to do a big project at work, I feel compelled to clean up and clear out all the little things that I’ve had going on. I must finish. I have a shelf full of junk people have dropped off and I can’t take on something big until that shelf is clear. Empty. Ready for new junk. When I unload my mind anxieties with writing then I am able to have the most wonderful dreams at night. I often have dreams where I am flying. I am soaring like a bird above the trees and buildings. I am traveling to faraway places. I am having fun. I am sometimes even showing off my abilities in flight. I only have these euphoric dreams about 4-6x a year (more and more lately though) but they are so intoxicating that I can still enjoy a taste of them now, weeks and months later, and I still remember the feeling. This is the first time I have associated the idea of clearing out my mind with good dreaming but I know it must be a factor because when my mind is full I wake up with night sweats and anxiety. Who could fly around if they were anxious and with a load of crap on their minds? But getting my ducks in a row means clearing and cleaning. I have always hated that we throw so much stuff away in life. We spend our days consuming and filling up garbage cans and landfills. We stupid small humans should not stack up trash around us but instead use the trash to make our world more interesting and colorful. So there is the root of my compulsion to glue things up as they come in. And because I do people bring me their junk and now I am compelled to find a home for it all. To decorate with the junk that comes my way. I’ll glue up the plastic pieces that seem to have no meaning and no use. I’ll glue up the strangers beer can collection. I’ll clutter the page with the words stuck in my head. I’ll keep unloading the words until they form sentences and paragraphs.
I’ll keep glueing junk to the walls until they have a purpose more meaningful than a landfill.
I’ll keep writing until my words find a meaning bigger than my bedtime.
When I attack a project I go full on without a plan. I always open a page and start writing with no idea what I’ll say. When I make art it is just me starting something that seems right and finding out where it leads. I often am very unsure of myself in the middle but I always know that if I keep going I can find the resolution. If it’s not working then I just keep going until it works. My wife makes fun of the fact that I often work in a hurry as if I’m about to “get caught.” I do feel like I have to hurry but mostly because I have so many more things to get done. I do wonder if I’ll run out of time before I get it all done… you know- die. What if I never got to finish all my stained glass windows I want to do? What if I never got to paint the murals I want to paint? What if my book remains unfinished? What if I never build the huge sculpture thing I want to build under the airplane? I’ve got to go fast because yes, I could get caught. and also I could die. I could die getting caught or I could get caught dying. What will be the last blog post on here? What will I have said and what will I have left out?
The artist in me wants to leave a lot behind. As an artist I want the things I make to outlive me by a mile. I am here to make things with my hands. I am here to throw out ideas and chase my tail for a spell. I am here to entertain, to spread light, and to inspire.
I am here to talk in circles and draw in squares.
It’s not like I have a choice. It’s jut who I am. I want to be the loudest invisible man you’ve ever not seen or not heard. I want to write things that no one reads but that are out there to be found if they are needed.
And now it’s 11:52 and my mind is almost blank. Maybe I can have one of those amazing dreams tonight. Maybe if I lay there and think about my breathing instead of what I need to get done tomorrow. Maybe if I can get the last few words typed out here by midnight, and think about flying as I fall asleep….
Maybe I’ll sleep straight through until 6 and get up and feel rested and wonder why I wrote all this crap. Maybe I’ll always have good dreams. Maybe I’ll make something tomorrow that will be the best thing yet.