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July 05, 2007



Sometimes it's great to wake up in the middle of the night. The house is quiet. There's no interruption like there is during the rest of the waking day when there is too much that the boys need to tell me and too much that they need for me to do. There's a silence in my head that isn't there when I'm supposed to be up and there's too much going on for me to think clearly enough to concentrate on what I want to be doing rather than what I should be doing.
When I wake in the night and wander through the house, the animals are confused and even they seem to recognize that something is amiss. Why is the Mom Human up? She should be sleeping. Maybe they aren't but they look confused to me. The dog looks at me in that cute, head tilted dog sort of way, but finally just turns on her paws and goes to cuddle back in with the Dad Human. The cat on the other hand decides that this is time for loving and jumps in my lap purring, making biscuits. Usually this is calming and refreshing. In the middle of the night it's too much. Her actions are anxious and aggressive. Get back in bed! This is MY TIME to roam.
Yes. Waking in the middle of the night has it's good points and bad. I enjoy it periodically, but I have to say that lately it's been happening too much and I'm not enjoying it anymore.


Lolliloo! Welcome to the workshop! So glad to have you here! I love that the cat is "making biscuits;" is that a common description, or did you invent it?
I also like the
dog looks at me in that cute, head tilted dog sort of way." Maybe I especially like the animals for their interaction. And if you were to keep going with this--I'd really want to know where she wants to roam, why she's haunted and up--and specifically how many times it's been happening...a satisfying novel comes to mind, INSPIRED SLEEP (okay, I can't remember the author's name. Probably because i read it in the insomniac days of new baby). It's a dramatic time, full of both quiet and potential--you've captured an excellent beginning! Hooray for you!
AND you've won a galley. Send me an email at ggross@gwendolengross.com with an address and I'll put it in the mail posthaste.
Happy weekend, all, and hope you get some sleep (or late-night writing), Lolliloo!
ps check out Lolliloo's blog--pretty wonderful!


“Our life is continually frittered away by detail . . . simplify, simplify. ” Thoreau

This quote embodies the dilemna of my life. I’m not sure when it started. I suspect it was was born along with Riley and, thusly, is a product of parenthood. But I can’t be sure about that.

Now you are thinking I was reading Thoreau, right? Unfortunately, that is the irony. I don’t have time to read Thoreau because I’m so overwhelmed by the everyday details of my life. I read the quote on a t-shirt in a cataloge. I thought maybe I should get the t-shirt, but that would just be more stuff and stuff is my problem.

Living my life often feels like I’m driving a speeding car without brakes along a never ending highway. We’re going so fast, all on I can focus on is the moment. I never see what goes by outside the car. I’m never able to slow down and yet we never arrive anywhere. All of my energy, all of my time, all of me is spent in keeping us on the road and we just keep picking up speed.

I need to slow down.

My days are so full with details — the mundane things of everyday life are a never ending loop. The cooking, the cleaning, the picking up of toys, the laundry, the taking care of all of the stuff — the STUFF — in my house — my stuff, Ben’s stuff, the kids stuff, even the dog has stuff — the caring for of all of the STUFF seems to take more and more of my time, my energy, my everything.

I crave time to think. I crave time away from chores. I crave time.

I need to simplify and yet I cannot figure out how to do it. The kids take the most of my time and energy, as they should. That won’t change for another 10 years or so. Work - I have to make some money, somehow. Dance - I suppose I could stop and I do think of it often, but what would I do with that time? Would I fill it with more STUFF that is less rewarding and meaningful to me?

The time I want back is the time I spend cleaning and cooking and running errands — the never ending cycles of grocery shopping, the monstrous pile of laundry on the floor in front of the washing machine that never shrinks no matter how many loads I’ve run that day, the picking up of Stuff. Toys, books, mail, papers, bills, clothes, trash — we have so much stuff packed into this small house that one days the walls might rupture and all of the junk will spill out onto the street.

Ben likes stuff. He likes to keep stuff. He likes to make piles of stuff. You never know when you might need it. The kids like stuff. They are great students of consumer culture. I alone oppressed by the piles, suffocated by the overstuffed storage room and the inaccessible closets, buried under the toys - -legos, Barbies, Matchbox cars and Polly Pockets which sometimes feel like my most constant companions.

Henry David, I need the time to read you again, maybe in a book instead of on a t-shirt. I hear you. I need to simplify.


Megan--you've got more than one thing going in there (as happens with all the best writing), thank you so much for posting. I KNOW we can all relate! I'd love you to go as far as you can with the STUFF idea--try writing it to extreme, if you have the time (make the time!), lists and lists of the stuff, its textures and smells and colors and the electronic noises and the sound of yet another throw-away styrofoam airplane from the dentist's prize box crushing underfoot. Go deep into the stuff to reveal that longing you've pricked at--I know it well, the loss of self in the making of a family. A big truth you have there. Try writing it more so it can't escape! And welcome!

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