The problem with posts like this morning’s yesterday’s the one from the other day (yes, it took this long to get back to that), besides serving only to rehash former insomnia-related posts, is that writing about feelings, even if articulated in a way that allows others to identify with them, pales in comparison to illustrating those feelings through storytelling using actions, allowing the reader to extrapolate meaning instead.

If the kitten would just curl up and sleep against me, I wouldn’t mind him at all. Instead he climbs up my leg, over my belly, back across my shoulders, walks around my head, purr like a hot rod idling in the driveway. He finally settles for a moment, then starts grooming himself. His repetitive movements jar my body further from sleep; his purr turns to a lick-bite routine. I push him away, but he only attacks my hand and returns.

Instead of peace, worries creep back in. The little tabby beside me for one. He needs his shots, needs neutering. My eldest daughter brought him to us in November, ostensibly for Nick’s birthday, but really a part of a rescued feral litter she needed to find homes for. We can’t afford another cat, I said. I can barely care for the ones we have. I don’t have time to deal with another living creature, I warned her. She brought him anyway. Tiny, vulnerable, eyes like a Margaret Keane painting. I couldn’t send him away.

Now she’s back home with another cat, a horse and the small dog she left with. I roll away from the kitten, tug the blanket over my chest and wonder if the horse minds the frost surely covering the ground by now. Some arguing over who should have blanketed him ensued earlier. I am sure that the horse can in no way be my responsibility. But visions of him sick or injured haunt me as I pretend sleep is still forthcoming.

Yesterday’s to-do list unfolds in my mind, the litany of things left undone. Perhaps I should rise, go to the computer, place photo, insert text, update the listings on this week’s Scene pages. Maybe pull the stack of papers out of the wooden box by my desk and see which bills are about to be late or get to work on Surfrider needs: update the website, order T-shirts, send e-mails about all the various events coming up. What if no one shows up? What if the information they seek is not there? What if we run out of shirts because we can’t decide on which eco-friendly, non-sweatshop brand to buy?

But the comfort of the bed holds me yet. I do not give up that peace might come.


I’d planned to make rewriting that post into a writing exercise, turning descriptions into details, trimming the adjectives and unnecessary wording, carving away until something finer emerged. But time, as usual, refused to stand still and now I can only move forward forward forward instead of back.

Crafting words together for maximum meaning and enjoyment inspires me; I am reminded of that each time I have occasion to really write. (I have a column in the NCJ and a newstory in the Eye, both out on Wednesday, so my personal work was at least put aside for professional reasons.) Earlier this year, when taking the online writing workshop, an oft-dozing-from-inactivity part of my brain lit right up – like surfing, I need to figure out how to fit more of that in my life. I know I’ll have more time when the kids are grown (which is not too far off), but what if, between now and then, my creative ability atrophies? My back goes bad? My knees give out? I’ll be 45 and washed up? Or will the years fall away, making me feel 20 again, only with wisdom and clearer purpose? (That’s assuming the kids all grow into some self-sufficent way of life in five more years, which may be high hopes indeed.)

Another thought I had during the online workshop was, I could do this. I could run one of these. Writing exercises and constructive critiquing gives me joy that I could pass on to others in a worthwhile manner. For a price. Years ago I had similar thoughts and had the sessions all mapped out – but I lacked the ability to make that next step, largely for lack of a meeting space. Doing something online, however? That I could pull off. Hmmmmm.