The 2:00 am Inspiration


I am not one of those people who falls asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I can remember, even as a small child, lying awake in my bed long after everyone else in the house had waltzed merrily on their way to Dreamland. My imagination could roam uninterrupted and it was wonderful.

As I got older, however, those late night wide-awakers weren’t as welcome. School, work, marriage, motherhood and life in general didn’t tend to tolerate sleeping until noon or afternoon nap times. I will admit, however, that there may have been the occasional power down in the office cafeteria during lunch hour. Those were not the inspiration years.

But now with a bit of so-called retirement under my belt, the ideas and imaginations have returned in great abundance. They were never actually gone – just waiting to come out at night when I am trying to sleep, of course.

So, being a results oriented person, I decided to take advantage of that late night wide-awakedness and be productive. I made up a silly game. I lie there in the dark and go through the alphabet, thinking of the most bizarre and unusual adjectives that begin with each letter. I don’t write them down and by morning I’ve forgotten the words I chose, but when I sit down to write I’m amazed at how many of those words come to mind. Especially those that begin with letters A – G. I’m usually asleep after that.

I am also amazed at the inspiration a single word can provide. That tough plot point becomes clear, a piece of dialogue opens up, a character finds an answer . . . all because of a crazy game I play when I’m falling asleep.

Don’t underestimate 2:00 am.

And maybe tonight I’ll start at the letter H.

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