Fire Starters

Fire Starters are posts that, for me, are little more than curiosities and questions. It can be a little bit of a catchall, but it’s a good place for me to think through a topic or idea.

On The Late Mr. Ralph Wilson

I have always been and will always be (unless they move to LA) a Buffalo Bills fan, and this week, our great owner Ralph Wilson, one of the original pioneers of the AFl and the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, passed away at the age of ninety-five.

Can’t even argue with you on this one. It may seem corny or lame for me to write about football and football culture here on my writing blog, but it’s a big part of my life, and the Buffalo Bills have been at the center of that. So, if you don’t like it … too bad.

Ralph Wilson was a kind, generous, patriotic, and loyal man, and his presence will be missed in the city of Buffalo and by all Buffalo Bills fans. It’s been a sad week for us, especially with our great face of the franchise, Jim Kelly, undergoing cancer treatment this week for an aggressive recurrence. We wish you well, Jim.

Below are a couple of videos that were when Ralph (one of a very owners inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame) was inducted. The first is famous sports writer, Chris Berman, doing a tribute to Ralph:

The second video is of Ralph Wilson’s acceptance speech. He’s a very old man, so be patient, but I thought it was a touching speech:

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Why 90s Kids Love 90s Music

Have you ever noticed how annoying people who grew up in the 90s are about music? Well, I am one, so watch it! I think the reason we love that music goes beyond the fact that we grew up in that era (though that helps), and I’d like to explore those reasons.

Nerdvana? Seriously? So, I was in a particularly 90s-like area the other day (grungy, the ex-cool part of town, angsty music), and I was talking to another 90s friend of mine about that era of music and culture. Of course, culture and music are slippery, in that, they cannot be summed up as a singularity every decade, so for the purpose of this discussion, I am talking about early to mid-90s grunge and folk music.

So, the first thing that I think 90s kids love about 90s music is the earnestness. There was no irony in those early 90s lyrics. It may have been difficult and obfuscated, maybe best represented by lyrics like “A mulatto / An albino / A mosquito / My libido / Yay!” But all that aside, there was a feeling at the time that music was actually making a difference. The culture was aggressively shouting for political and social change (not so different from the late 60s), and we reconnected with a more earnest (in my opinion) approach to music, eschewing the over-produced party music of the 80s. That that, Reagan! “Jelly beans, Nancy?” … Nevermind (get it?).

You’re embarrassing yourself. Not only that, it felt like that age of music was better for women. We had female song-writers who weren’t just pretty and put on stage for their beauty (as Tom Petty so accurately describes in his song “Joe” off The Last DJ album) but were great songwriters and played music traditionally owned by men: Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Dar Williams, Dolores O’Riordan, Sinead O’Connor, Fiona Apple, Shirley Manson, Sheryl Crow (before she got lame), and others. This feels, in looking back, a huge shift from the 80s pseudo-hyper-masculine face of popular music, though people like Joan Jett and the women from Hart were movers. Now, I recognize and concede that Indie music (where I find any and all good music at this point) today has some great female musicians, but I’m talking popular music here.

Remember the good ol’ days? Okay, gramps. Not only that, many of my favorite musicians of different eras put out amazing albums in that time, maybe their best work. Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, Into The Great Wide Open, and Echo are perhaps my favorite albums of his. R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People came out in 1991. Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind is a classic. Johnny Cash’s unforgettable American albums began to come out in the 90s as well. The list goes on …

So, what’s your gripe with modern music, lamo? I guess I would say that I’m tired of the American Idol approach to music. I’m tired of image over substance. I’m tired of dishonest music, where pretty people sing karaoke to lyrics and music written by someone else (and yes, I know this has gone on for a long time, but it was not always so rampant in our popular musicians). I think the Indie music scene is exciting, though often “ironic.” It’s solid stuff, but lacks the sort of punchy hope that came along with the early 90s music scene.

You may disagree with me. I’m sure you will (unless you’re a 90s kid like me … at which point, I would say, “GET THEE TO THE 00s, BENEDICT ARNOLD!”), but the point is, every era does some things really well. I’m just highlighting why the 90s were a special time in music. Maybe it is just loving what we’re used to, what we grew up with, but I do think it’s more than that. Besides, my personal favorite era of music is the late 50s – early 60s. What do you think?

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Dealing With The Past

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my past, how it has shaped me, and what I have become as a person. It’s tempting to say that the past “made” me some way, but it didn’t. I make me … if I make the choice to not conform to the shaping others have laid upon me.

I’m sorry for the disturbing image, but it will serve as an illustration. This passage is taken wholly out of context, but I’m going to repurpose it: Numbers 32:23b says, “be sure your sin will find you out.” I feel like it could just have likely have said, “be sure your past will find you out.” That’s the thing about the past. It doesn’t leave us. For all of us, we have shaping that takes place, that teaches us about ourselves, and no amount of time will change that shaping.

The old adage goes, “Time heals all wounds.” It doesn’t. It’s like every other wound. If left untended, if ignored, if left to its own devices, it will fester and become infected, like in that picture of the eye above. Time heals nothing. Time rots us. It’s medicine, it’s caring, it’s effort to fix a wound, and that doesn’t make it easy, but not dealt with, that wound can and will ruin us.

We take those emotional wounds or teachings or shapings, and we project them onto the world we live in. We have to. It’s what we know. That may look like projections onto others, onto strangers, onto loved ones, but maybe the most insidious is the projection onto oneself.

When people have been shaped to feel some way, taught how to interact with themselves, they internalize it, and they become the greatest abuser, because they carry out whatever dialogue (even nonverbal actions speak loudly) that has shaped them and continue it. The past does not die. It haunts us, it blinds us to the world around us and inside of us.

The sad thing is that we take on these negative emotions about ourselves, we see ourselves through perhaps a disrespectful, even unsympathetic lens. There’s a saying that goes, “People see us as we see ourselves,” and I think it’s true. So, the relationships we carry on in life mirror the relationships we had early on, and it creates a confirmation bias. It ends up feeling like Murphy’s law. We start to say, “Of course, that happened!” “Of course, that didn’t work out!” “Of course, I didn’t get what I wanted!” And the world becomes predictable … it is exactly what we expect: disappointing.

Maybe that’s where it starts: respect. Respect, to me, is the lowest form of love. It’s what the Bible talks about (in my opinion) when it says to “love thy neighbor.” Yet, how hard is it to respect ourselves (much more, love ourselves), to demand better, to treat ourselves as we would expect of ourselves in how we treat others. Seems the Golden Rule must go both ways in that regard.

There’s no outrunning the past, only dealing with it. It’s an ugly thing, and for some of us, many of us, it’s something we’ve let fester too long.

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My Site Is Now Mobile-Ready

So, I have been lax about making my site responsive to various screen sizes, but yesterday, I decided to fix that. We’ll see if it works out.

The iPhone is better. Well, I have been a bad web designer, in that, I have not made my site very nice for phones or tablets. I spent some time yesterday trying to remedy this issue, and I think I did. It’s nice to go to a site that is very readable with a phone.

It’s tricky business, though, what with all of the various phone and tablet sizes. I mean, I use an LG Optimus G (because Android phones are better), and its screen size is only a few pixels smaller than a jumbotron (JUMBOTRON VS. MEGABUS! KIDS SEATS ARE JUST TEN BUCKS!). It’s tough to make the size optimal for all of the various screen sizes, though I think I’ve done it with a fluid enough approach that it’ll work.

You’re really scratching the bottom of the barrel this time. So, I have an assignment for my loyal reader(s). I’ve done testing on the devices I have, but I was wondering if you all would test my site on your electronics (phone and tablet and jumbotron) and let me know if it is working well. There will be different functionality with each size. For example, on the smallest screen size, the top menu will disappear, and it’ll just be the blog.

You’re asking for favors now? Anyway, I know this is a bit of an imposition, but I want to make my site a good experience for my readers, so any feedback you could give in the comments would be welcome. Thanks.

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Thank Cyclists and Walkers

For a while, I’ve been cycling or walking to where I need to go whenever I’ve had the chance. With this has come some abuse from drivers. This is why drivers need to lay off the horn and thank people that choose not to drive.

What a hipster you’ve become. Back in 2008, I used to work for a software development company called Atomic Object. I loved working for that company, and I still enjoy it when I am thrown a contract web design job now and then. They’re a fun, productive company that values their workers, but I think the thing I take most from that job is their lack of reliance on cars.

Grand Rapids, at least to me, is not what I would think when I think cycle-friendly cities, but at Atomic Object (from this point referred to as “AO”), almost every employee bikes or walks or runs to work. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s built into the culture there. So much so, that the company volunteered to buy me a bike helmet. So, I got an old road bike and starting riding every day to work. It was great. I got in better shape. I saved money on gas and registration and insurance (I parked my car for about a year), and it was a lot of fun.

Well, la dee da. Since then, when I’ve had the chance, I try to walk or cycle when I can. But the thing is, car drivers aren’t often too happy about it. I’ve had numerous people honk their horns at me, shout obscenities at me, and on a few occasions, run me off the road. Many car drivers seem uninterested in the signs that declare “Share the Road,” and feel that cyclists are simply nuisances that slow them down for a few seconds.

Now, I will admit that many cyclists are rather annoying. They don’t follow the rules of the road. They run red lights. They take up too much of the lane, but many many cyclists are good citizens … and if I judged car drivers by how many of them broke rules or were inconsiderate, well … it wouldn’t be pretty.

So, what are we thanking you for again? So, cyclists are good for the economy … or more accurately, they cut costs. Think about it. By cycling instead of driving, I (and millions of other cyclists) cut down our purchasing of gasoline, which decreases demand, which should (though sometimes this is hard to see) cut down the cost of gasoline. Not only that, cyclists and walkers are exercising more, which is improving their health, and in this world where our medical costs are all tied to each other, this is beneficial to the population as a whole. There is the environmental aspect, and, no matter how you feel about environmentalist, you must admit that the world is a little better place to live with less exhaust to breath in. And then there are more practical benefits, like that each cyclist or walker you see, that’s one less person who will take a parking spot. Especially in urban environments, this is huge benefit.

Is this where you “teach” us a lesson, oh wise one? I’m just saying, I know cyclists and walkers can be minor inconveniences, and when you’re in a rush to get to work because you woke up ten minutes late or just have general road rage, it’s hard to be patient, but just remember, what they’re doing is beneficial to you too. So, stop with the honking, the shouting out windows, the driving people off the road, and the complaining, and be thankful for cyclists and walkers … and cyclists, please follow the rules of the road.

There. My sermon is finished.

About time.

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A Thought (or two) on Barbecue

And you people said I couldn’t write poetry. Did you see that clever rhyming title up there? Pretty poetic, eh?

Poetry doesn’t rhyme anymore, stupid. As some of you know (and some of you don’t know, but I’m about to reveal), I’m kinda crazy about BBQ. I love the stuff. But first let me lay out to you what I think BBQ is: Pig. BBQ should be pig. BBQ does not “Moo!” or “Cluck!” or “Nay!” (though BBQ’d horse sounds interesting, what with my longstanding disdain for horses and horsekind {meat and weapons-testing, I say!}).

That’s speciesist! Maybe so, but for me, the ultimate test for BBQ is a pulled pork sandwich. And no, not the sauce. I feel like good BBQ should not need sauce (though there is a place for it … just it shouldn’t need it), and it should be tender and spicy, with a hint of sweetness and varied textures on its own.

OK, we get it. You like BBQ. Way to go. Well, here’s the thing. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling of late, and I have to say that I’ve not been blown away at all by the BBQ in the South. I’ve been to cities in Georgia, as well as Nashville, Memphis, and others, and the BBQ places that people seem to rave about are, I dunno, decent at best. They always seem to be at these fast-food sort of joints that serve decent BBQ (not amazing, but good) on cheap white buns on paper plates.

I figured the South would be chock-full of amazing BBQ, but I don’t feel like it is (unless I’m missing something). I mean, some of the best BBQ I’ve had is from Detroit at Slow’s BBQ (though they are guilty of calling “Moo” and “Cluck” BBQ). My brother Seth also made some of the best BBQ I’ve had in his smoker the last time I visited him (It makes me want to buy a smoker… or try making the Alton Brown homemade smoker).

Keep talking, Yankee! I guess I’m saying that I’ve been disappointed by the BBQ I’ve been exposed to in my visits to the South. Sure, I don’t know it very well. I don’t know these cities. I don’t know the little hole-in-the-wall places. But I had this dream in my head that BBQ joints in the South were like breweries in Michigan. Maybe they are, and I’m missing ‘em. But thus far in my travels, I’m not finding amazing BBQ.

If I’m wrong, correct me. Tell me where to go. I’m desperate to find it.

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My Top 5 Favorite Youtube Channels

I love Youtube. People love to get together and share their favorite videos, so I thought I’d expose some of my favorites on this blog, giving them some love.

Youtube? Seriously? So, Youtube has been around for a while. Duh. Well, it’s got a lot of fun little shows and channels, but here I’m going to focus on Youtube original content. In reality, I probably watch more Good Eats or Flying Circus on Youtube, but most people know about those (if you don’t … SHAME!) So, here are my top five favorites to follow and watch when I want to learn something or need a pick-me-up.

5. How It Should Have Ended, or HISHE
This show is a lot of fun, and it has a creative and unique animation style that I love. It takes movies and suggests in a humorous way how it should have ended (if that’s not clear enough by the title). Here’s a fun example:

4. Wheezy Waiter
This guy makes these hilarious, pseudo-teaching videos that involve him and a number of his clones (they often end up in the alligator pit). He’s capable of time travel, punching eagles, and going toe-to-toe with the sun. Check him out:

3. Screen Junkies, particularly Honest Trailers
Honest Trailers is a hilarious and honest take on movies. It points to the flaws, the weaknesses, the absurdity of many modern movies, and it does so through the voice of a hilarious movie narrator. Here’s an example:

2. Crash Course
John Green is an excellent and funny Youtuber, and he’s on a number of channels including Mental Floss. He’s funny, and Crash Course is made up of twelve-minute videos that are educational, well-balanced, and fun. Here is a good example:

1. Glove & Boots
Glove & Boots is, to me, the funniest Youtube channel I’ve come across. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s smart, and it’s puppets. This is one of my favorite videos. It makes fun of hipsters, one of my favorite topics of mockery (they’re so easy):

Well, thanks for helping me waste more time. Well, that’s my list. I hope you liked it. I’m curious what my readers favorite Youtube Original Channels are. Share them in the comments below.

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A Culture of Shame

Shaming seems to be the method of choice for converting hearts and minds to our ideas these days (hardly something new). In this post, I examine this backwards approach and its negative repercussions, and offer other approaches.

What a horrible book! I know. I hated having to read this book as well, but when I think of shaming, I think of Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and the Puritans. It’s an awful book, I think, but it does show the power of shaming.

I mean, think about it. There wasn’t a discussion in the book about the morality of adultery, there wasn’t a forum on the nature of marriage, there wasn’t a question as to whether or not a spiritual book should be enforced through secular laws. No, the rules were not to be questioned, and anyone who disagreed with them was a heretic or worse.

Thanks, Captain Obvious. Well, fair, but I feel like the lesson we’re missing in all of this is that we apply these same tactics today. I guess I’m sick and tired of the sort of shaming and shouting down that takes place in our social and political dialog. Most times I read an article or hear a disagreement about an issue, name-calling like “SOCIALIST!” or “FASCIST” or “BIGOT!” or “IDIOT!” are thrown around, as though that actually proves a point.

I mean, we want people to come around to our side on an issue or an idea, right? Does shouting them down, or shaming them, actually do anything more than build resentment? Yes, they may not voice their opinions anymore, but that’s because they’ve been beaten over the head with the bludgeon of self-righteousness.

Dissent is a beautiful thing. In a class I was not expecting to like at all, the teacher totally diffused my reservations and hesitations by not only allowing some dissent in the classroom, but welcoming it. It was an amazing experience. I felt listened to. I felt like I could share my view wholly and then have it examined in a fair forum. In that setting, because of that culture, I was able to do as much learning as I have in any class.

Unfortunately, dissent is not generally welcomed in our culture right now, but it should be, no matter how absurd. The reason is, if you trust that you are right, then you should have no fear in allowing someone to share their opinion. You have truth and logic on your side, so you will be able to hear where they’re coming from and explain why your view is correct. Sadly, I think the reason this feels so uncommon is that people rarely take the time to really understand the logic and arguments of their own view, much less the opposing view, so associating with a particular view becomes about nothing more than identity. A person in that mindset identifies an opposing belief system and simply pairs it with a stereotype, and the name-calling begins.

Without trying to understand a view that is opposite of one’s own, there can never be growth. If something is the right idea, it should be able to stand when set up against an opposing idea, and that should act to confirm a truth, but sadly, it seems there is little curiosity for opposing thought. We all want to be branded as right or knowledgeable or some other label and be patted on the back by our increasingly-homogenous circle of friends.

That’s what it seems to boil down to: identity vs. curiosity. What good is it to be right (in your own eyes) if you can’t convince people through sound logic and calm reasoning of your point?

Stop being a jerk, Adam! I know I’ve been accused of ideological bullying before, and yes, I have had to do some learning. Point is, if you think silencing people by shouting them down or shaming them is the equivalent of gaining a convert to your way of thinking, you’re sadly mistaken. If you want to be an intellectual bully because the majority of people that surround you agree with you, go ahead. But if you’re interested in finding the truth on topics, it takes questioning your own view, testing it (which is a painful process, and homogenous friends will not often understand) to see what makes it through the fire, and seeking out and trying to understand the opposing view and its basis.

It’s funny. We talk about each other like the other side (THE OTHERS!) has this frightening motivation behind their beliefs, but I’ve found that most people are rather well-intentioned. I feel like if we sought each other out and realized that, we’d be able to have productive discussions, end the shaming, and perhaps even make some converts to our way of thinking. Or (GASP), we may even become convinced by a different viewpoint.

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Sexism Against Men

Hurray controversy! I take a look at how men are portrayed in pop culture and society, particularly as it concerns relationships, and I question whether or not it is sexist.

Grinding an ax, I see. I have this terrible habit. As I go through my favorite news feeds, I cannot help but click on websites that claim to offer relationship advice, as I find this sort of thing fascinating (more often than not, fascinatingly wrong). Very often, men are talked about in broad and sweeping terms as creatures incapable of dealing with emotions, of being antisocial, of not being able to make deep friendships like women, and so on.

Today, I came across an article in the Yahoo feed called “5 Secrets Men Keep From Women,” and it has some real gems. My favorite, though, is this little section, quoting a, so-called, doctor named Dr. Leman:

Asking a man “why” questions will make him feel like he’s in trouble and immediately put him on the defensive. Try giving him a command instead. Remember, men like things to be simple and laid out for them clearly. Think of the guy you’re dating as a four-year-old who also shaves. Most adult men can be summed up like that; they pout, act like kids, and sometimes even throw a temper tantrum. Many of their reactions can be infantile.

Are you really getting worked up over this? Well, no, it’s not just this. But I have to say, can you imagine if the article said something like this about women? This article would never be put on Yahoo’s feed, and rightfully so. I guess what I’m saying is, I feel like it’s become acceptable to talk about men this way, and I’m getting tired of it. Removing sexism and sexist attitudes does not mean reversing roles, but removing the sort of generalizations that go along with it.

This seems pretty obvious, but these sorts of things do not just show themselves in silly relationship advice columns, but in pop culture as well. I mean, Peter Griffin (along with many TV dads) is essentially just another child. Another troubling example comes from the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond. The show is (kind of) funny, but essentially, that humor comes from the main character, Ray, being terrified of his wife. Across the web today, we see lots of talk about verbal and emotional abuse in homes, though rarely is it talked about from the male perspective, and this show is a perfect example of such abuse. I know, it’s a weird thing to talk about, but the main character is frightened of his wife. It seems like no big deal, but imagine if a wife was portrayed on TV as being terrified of her husband. This would not seem so funny, I don’t think, but sadly, these things happen.

It’s just jokes. Get over it. I suppose I would if it were isolated, but I’m tired of the societal expectations we create for young men. I’ve heard it said that the men of my generation are a Peter Pan generation, that they don’t want to grow up, but I wonder if the acceptable yet absurd notion that men are basically children has had an impact to that end. I believe if you treat a person like an animal or a child, you can’t expect them to act otherwise. Sadly, I feel like we’ve lowered expectations for boys and men. Boys are told that they are immature compared to their female counterparts, and men are portrayed and talked about as ape-like, uncouth, violent, childish, shallow, and aggressive. We talk about female sexuality as being a beautiful thing, but male sexuality is stil often pictured as violent, aggressive, and victim-making. Rape is a big word on college campuses these days, as well it should be, but we often don’t talk about the fact that it can go both ways. Sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances are sort of laughed off or disregarded among men. This ought not be. It is cruel and wrong when women are talked about in generalized terms, and the same should go for men.

Obviously, rampant sexism against women was acceptable in the not-at-all distant past. I know this, but again, reversing the roles does not remove sexism but displaces it. Thing is, we talk about men in this patriarchal and hegemonic fashion, but little boys had nothing to do with the choices of their fathers and grandfathers, yet they are made to feel the burden of that reactionary guilt. In essence, we have Peter Griffins today because of the Archie Bunkers of yesteryear, but what do you suppose is the impact of these sorts of models, assumptions, rules, and expectations?

Isn’t this blog supposed to be about writing? Indeed it is. You know, as someone who has chosen creative writing and liberal arts as his arena of choice, I don’t always feel comfortable in those clothes. I mean, I don’t feel all that comfortable sharing my opinions on this topic. Sadly, being a guy who believes in self-reliance, who loves sports and can name most everyone on the roster of his favorite teams, who loves meat and laissez-faire capitalism, I do not feel wholly welcome in academia. I often feel the need to censor my ideas, or at least, that I need to have a persona that matches the culture, and though I work hard to not restrict myself, I do often feel like I would be seen as less of a “writer” (persona) if I was more myself.

Get to the point. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m tired of the sort of sexism that is allowed when we talk about men. I’m tired of the acceptable generalizations and the idea that men are ape-like, unemotional creatures. Generalizations that are acceptable in society create expectations for the upcoming generation. The deal is, we ought to respect each other, both in life and in personal relationships, and making sweeping judgments, whether presented as jokes, advice, or whatever, is foolish, no matter what gender or race or group.

OK … I think my ax is sufficiently sharp now.

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My Life As An Insomniac

Here I discuss the difficulties and frustrations of being an insomniac writer. I’ll go into why it hits creativity especially hard and maybe just vent a little … since I’m awake anyway.

Can’t sleep, huh? Even when I was a kid, I remember struggling to get a good night’s sleep. And for that reason, I’ve basically loathed sleep my entire life. Some people talk about sleep like it’s something they do for recreation, and this has never made sense to me. It’s like wrestling with someone I can’t possibly defeat.

I’m not a person who generally lies in bed and stresses, though I must admit I do that on occasion. It’s more that it’s like there’s a switch in my head that won’t go off, like I can’t go into sleep mode, so I lie there, empty-headed, trying to relax, but nothing happens. I would say that on most nights, I sleep less than five hours, often less than four. I can’t remember the last time I had a solid eight. I’ve tried most everything from sleep aids to getting away from electronic devices to various techniques, but I’ve not had anything that worked.

Boo-hoo. Well, this isn’t all venting (though that’s part of it). My inability to sleep is especially difficult as a creative person. For example, I know, for me, that I work best when I have a routine. That routine helps put me in the mindset to work, and I work best in the morning.

Problem is, no matter how effective my routine is, if I’ve only slept two hours the previous night (like last night), I will not be an effective creator. It takes a lot of energy to be a creative person. For me, I have to bring that to my work, so my inability to sleep destroys that, and I go around feeling like a zombie (BRAINS!) the rest of the day.

Insomnia destroys any continuity I have in my life, so that routine I was talking about … well, it becomes not so routine. My vision is blurred, and I struggle to focus, so reading can be difficult. Also, one of the first things I struggle with when I haven’t slept well for a while is with language and word recall. It’s infuriating, embarrassing, and difficult. It makes me feel like my brain doesn’t work properly.

I have a solution! Work while you can’t sleep! Yeah, that doesn’t work … at least, not for me. It’s not that I’m not tired at night. I’m exhausted. I’m desperate for sleep. I wish I could be productive in those dark hours, but I’ve not yet found a way to be. I mean, I can read to a certain point, but at some level, it depends how the previous nights have gone.

I’ve seen way too many 4:00AMs in my life, and I don’t believe there are many more lonely places than that. I know a lot of people struggle with this. When I see the routines of my favorite authors, most every one of them starts early in the morning and goes to bed early. I wonder how many of my writer friends have similar struggles, and I wonder if there is a flexible routine or a decent solution they could recommend.

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth
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