It seems frankly bizarre that we sacrifice around a quarter of our lives to an unseen agent over which we have no control whatsoever. We succumb to an invisible force which has dominion over us, both physically and mentally. Decisions as whether to sleep on our left or right, front or back, are abdicated to such an extent that, when we do wake, we’ve no idea in what position we will find ourselves! Similarly, as we drift off – easily or with difficulty, also out of our control – we have no idea what mental tricks will be played on us during the night.
We are a little like hybrid cars: one fuel during the day, a different sort of charge at night.
Having gone to bed most often in the ‘amber’ or ‘red’ zone, obviously the ideal is that, in the morning (and at a decent hour!), we find the power light on a steady green and we are recharged for the day ahead. But often the light doesn’t quite make it all the way to ‘green’. We are disturbed by the sound of the weather outside, imagine we hear a noise downstairs, are woken by a sudden movement from our partner, or are forced – by nature no less! – to visit the bathroom.
Often I am woken by words.
From somewhere I will suddenly become conscious that I am writing something in my sleep. It could be anything: a line for a poem, a sentence for a book, even a single word. There could be an idea for a plot twist – or an entire plot! – or the resolution of a ‘writing problem’ I’ve been wrestling with over the previous days. At some point my friendly other self says “This is too important to lose. Wake up!”
I’m never entirely sure if this is a gift or a curse. Whilst it often feels like the latter, I’m more inclined to the former – even if it does mean that all too often my recharge light hasn’t managed to get all the way to ‘green’ before the first cup of tea of the day…