Sometimes I wake in the dark, early hours wanting to write about something. Go on, get up and write, I urge myself. The bed is so warm and the air so frigid, I never do. In the light of morning, I have no recollection of what inspired me in the dark. Not surprising really, since these days, I never remember so much as a flash of a dream. Nights are delicious, nourishing voids.
Not that I don’t miss crazy escapades of the remembered subconscious, waking with a sense of having had adventures -but only a little. In years past, I suffered so many sleepless nights worrying, that I savour this gift of solid sleep, these nights, slumped on the couch by 9:00 PM.
Most nights, I try and read before conking out completely, curled up under the quilt – what luxury. The stacks of books-to-be-read continue to grow into teetering towers around the house. Advanced Readers Copies picked up from work are on every table and stacked on shelves of already full bookcases. Currently, I am hooked on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – a best seller that many friends and readers I share tastes with, have raved about. I am half-way through and while crime thrillers are not my usual reading taste, and the violence makes me wince, I know I’ll need to read his next one too. Not exactly bedtime reading but I can’t put it down. And still, no dreams (or nightmares!).
Borrowed from the store (a great benefit of my job) is Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD – a refreshingly, rare from an MD, holistic take on proactively dealing with this sucky disease. War of the cells and what we can do to stack the odds in our favor. Things we know, but I for one, need reminding of – like layoff the white stuff – sugar, flour. Exercise. And drink red wine! Being positive and having friends – recently this attitude has taken a beating (by Barbara Ehrenreich of Nickled and Dimed fame for example)but I know what kind of person I prefer to be around and unless you’re really funny in your bleakness, I’ll choose the positive attitude any day. Back to this book -it is interesting because the author is in this battle himself, and has survived past ‘the odds’ – something he poignantly addresses. This is the book I dip into between driving my teenager to and fro.
I even checked a book out of the library the other day – Pretty Birds a novel by NPR’s weekend edition, Scott Simon published in 2005, is my downstairs book. I don’t know how I missed reading this since it is about Sarajevo during the war and I compulsively read anything on that time and place – whether fiction or non-fiction. The first few chapters of my memoir are set in Bosnia during the war so I can’t help reading other people’s work with a comparative eye. Of course, my story is more about the war of addiction and Sarajevo is the fitting (and true backdrop) for launching my story. I’ve only read a chapter but it’s already compelling.
Recent temperatures have been arctic and I long for spring – but I realize that when it comes, my reading time will shrink with the demand and draw of the garden and sun. Maybe winter is not so terrible after all.