I don’t sleep well. This is something I live with.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people with far worse problems and I wouldn’t even call it insomnia. But the fact remains. I don’t sleep well. Having spoken to many writers about this, it has become apparent, to my horror, that I am not unique. I think it has to do with the fact that when I am working on a concept or a play-script it simply will not leave me until I have every last word down on paper. Now, I would never dream of claiming that I work as hard as someone with a proper job, like a teacher or a nurse (you know a job that actually does some immediate good for the world), but I do work. And hard. It’s just not always obvious.
This morning I sat for about two hours in my little room, just thinking. I am working this week on a structure for Mr Write – something to hang my volunteer’s story upon, each night. For two hours I sat. Staring at my scribblings. But nothing came. Apart from the feelings that I was essentially stealing from the National Theatre of Scotland because they were paying me to sit and do nothing. (aside: just got the most incredible de ja vu.)
I should explain about my scribblings. If I have a thought or an idea I tend to either scribble it on a piece of paper or put it in my phone diary. Days later when I go back to it I often have no idea what it refers to.
A genuine plea: If anyone can shed any light on the phrase “pound a ring”, then please get in touch.
Anyway, I’m sitting. Thinking. Worrying. Maybe this is it. Maybe the well is finally dry. I’ve been pulling up half buckets for days now. Too many villagers. Only so much water to go around. And then, from no where. I have to write. And I do. Automatic writing. Rain Man. I’m seeing the project like Neo sees the Matrix. And in the next fifteen minutes I have solved my problem. Relief. A little pride (for which I scorn myself – it’s a play, not a formula for the dissolution of poverty). But most of all, relief. Four A3 (is that big or little? It’s meant to be big) pieces of paper bursting at the margins with lovely words.
I am lucky, so lucky, to be able to make a living this way. And any complaints I have about it are merely the necessary, self indulgent bleats of any and every human being, looking to be congratulated and reassured that what they do is meaningful. I am not unique. And that’s a good thing. We are all the same. We all worry. We all moan. I’m just lucky my problems are minuscule. And for this I am grateful.