For as long as I can remember I’ve told myself bedtime stories. I’m simply a lousy sleeper and have been since I was a baby. (My mom assures me I was one of those wide-awake infants.) So when I wake up in the middle of the night, I create stories for my own entertainment.
Some of them become actual stories, but most are more like artist’s experiments. The sketches, color tests and out-of-scale doodles of a painter, become images, lines and characters. I create all sorts of things when my mind simply won’t rest. These bedtime story doodles become the outlines and concepts that underpin full out story telling.
But nothing seems to be “born” whole. These bits and pieces don’t fit together in neat jigsaw puzzle, paint-by-number finished tales. I’m not diminishing the importance of those little pieces, just putting them into a realistic context.
I’ve often wondered if other writers do the same thing. I know that many writers draw on dreams, observations, memories — even articles in the newspaper. I do ALL of those things, all the time and yet… those bedtime stories often produce the most original tales.
Maybe it’s because I’m writing those bedtime stories for a very particular audience? Me. And when the story doesn’t work, I chuck it out of my mind when I brush my teeth in the morning and it’s gone.
An upside to sleepless nights… perhaps?