Categories > Original > Humor1 Reviews
One night in the life of an insomniac fanfic writer when sleep and inspiration were elusive. (Slightly updated incl correction).
Time I went to bed. Time to truly wake up once my head hits the pillow...if I'm unlucky. And the truth is I frequently am. Many a night I've gone to bed and it's like a switch has been flicked on and no matter how tired I feel, I'm instantly awake and alert and thinking of all kinds of stupid stuff that could probably wait until the next day. But I go to bed anyway. It's what I have to do. We all have to.
Note to brain - going to bed is inevitable and therefore it makes sense that sleeping should also be inevitable. Like death and taxes.
Ahhh. It is so warm and cosy in bed - especially as the night is cold. Best time of the year...winter. Easy to get warm really. I glance at the clock - 2:10am. My mind races with memories of other cold nights, rainy ones too with thunder and lightning. My favourite kind of night - when it's cold and wet and the wind is blowing a gale and I'm snug in bed watching the lightning through the curtains and counting the time lapse between the thunder and the sudden flashes that light up my small bedroom. Not tonight though. It's just cold. Brrrr.
Stop it. Stop drifting. Message to brain - let me go to sleep! I have to get up around 6:00am for work. You know that. Are you listening, brain?
Aches and pains have forced me to move back onto my side - where the alarm clock is back in view. When had I moved from that position in the first place? I glance at the clock again. 2:35am. Is that all the time that has elapsed? Sigh. My mind drifts down a well worn path. Two characters in a story - it's cold, dark, windy and she is lost. In the rain. But he finds her and they take shelter. He pretends he doesn't like the rain but she isn't fooled. She seizes the opportunity to say something, to do something - she has him alone at last and this time he won't be able to avoid her. She...
My arm has gone numb and there's a new ache somewhere in my side. The curse of getting older. I move onto my stomach and try to get back to the story. I'm literally stuck in this story like a needle in a record groove. I know the ending, it is as familiar to me as the chapters in my own life, though every sleepless night adds to or slightly alters the words said between the characters. Maybe that's why I've never tried to write it all down - even after months and months and where the ending has been all mapped out. It's the getting to that ending that is so pleasurable - tweaking the story, refining it, manipulating those two to do whatever I want. They're my characters - I created them - but they live in a world invented by others. Is she a Mary-Sue? I don't think so. She's young (well 20-something anyway), ambitious and has a good job. She's also prone to putting her foot firmly in her mouth and is opinionated at times. Is he a Marty-Stu? He's older, quiet, deep. She thinks he is boring at first. And he is - to begin with - because he pretends to be, in a carefully orchestrated way that has ensured that unlike other members of his family he has remained mostly under the media radar. He is almost invisible, people literally walk past and don't see him. He has green eyes which is kind of unusual. Green eyes for goodness sake. What was I thinking? Does that make him a Marty-Stu? I wouldn't mind green eyes, though when I think about it I quite like my grey ones which are unusual in their own way. He is ageless, almost immortal because I don't want him to grow old and die. Nor many other members of his family, come to think of it. Talk about writing outside canon... If I wrote the stories down and posted them I'd earn nothing but derision. So I hug them close to myself. No, all things considered neither of them are me or even partially like me. That's not to say other characters in my imaginary escapist world aren't Mary-Sues. Some of the very oldest ones are - I created them when I was about 12 and I have grown to recognise a couple of them for what they are - a wishful version of me. I have a definite soft spot for one of them in particular. She was everything I wanted to be when we were both young. But since then the years have gone by and I'm no longer a kid, and she has developed into less and less an ideal me and more and more into her own person. She was never pretty though - probably because I wasn't either. And I'm still not of course!
My mind returns to the industrial area of the City where my couple are sheltering in some kind of open sided warehouse. He is full of apologies, shouldn't have kissed her...he is much older than he looks and should have behaved with more maturity too. He feels guilty. She is furious with him for apologising. It was only a kiss after all. It's still raining and it's still cold but not nearly as icy as the air between the pair of them. I see them so clearly in my mind's eye. He watches the expression on her face change from anger to indecision...zzzzz...
What? I'm wide awake again, aren't I? Drat it. How far did I get in the story before I drifted off? Certainly not to the good bits. How much sleep did I actually get? I glance at the clock. 3:25. Not bad! Taking into account the brief time it took to get to the last point I can remember in the story, I estimate I might have actually been asleep for as long as a whole half an hour. Excellent. I feel almost refreshed.
But being back in the real world means I start thinking about boring stuff. It's work this time. All the day to day routine just waiting for me at the office - the desk, the computer, the paperwork, the open plan office and of course the rows of co-workers with their computers and desks...and the boss. In that order really - I'm often the first one there. I wish I'd done more with my life. I have plodded through it, making no mark on the world, accomplishing very little. I was a lazy kid, and even though I'm no longer so lazy (unless you count housework) I feel like I've left it all too late to get noticed. OK, I write fan fiction and it's on the net - but not under this name, and all pretty much to canon as well. I couldn't be described as a trailblazer there either. I suppose no-one will notice when I've stopped writing and I'm gone. Actually that's not strictly true - there is my family and some really good friends too, but to the whole rest of the universe I'm a nobody of course. Mind you, in order to be a Somebody you have to have a background of Nobodies to stand out from. There - it seems I have an important role to play after all. :-) I don't know why I've suddenly gone a bit maudlin - I'm happy really. I guess it is because I'm tired. God, I sure do wish I could get back to sleep!
I hear rain! Honest to goodness rain! That's perfect - it's exactly what I want. I snuggle under the covers, warm and cosy (and happy) as the wind comes up and the rain lashes my bedroom window. It's getting very loud - maybe it's hail? I also make a concerted effort Not To Think Of Anything. I'm definitely drifting off. Finally. I'm....
I'm having this stupid dream. I'm in a shopping centre somewhere...in a department store I guess. I'm searching from one end of the store to the other. What on earth am I looking for? I walk into a room that is all tiled and antiseptic. It's a public restroom for goodness sake. With rows and rows of handbasins and cubicles - it's huge. But it seems there are lots of people and not enough cubicles. I wait my turn then I step into one but the door won't close. Another turns out to be a storeroom and the next one has no door at all. I start to get worried - and I start to wake up. Uh oh. I know this dream - or variations of it - very well. I wonder - does anyone else dream of toilets when they are lying in bed with a full bladder and the certain knowledge they should get up right away and go to the bathroom? I glance at the clock. It's 4:10am. Can I last out until the alarm goes off at 6:00am. No I can't. That's why I had the stupid dream. I sit up. Yep, I definitely have to go...now. I gingerly get up and stagger out to the hall, feeling my way to the bathroom as I don't want to turn on the light. I sit in there and listen to the sounds of the night. It's not raining any more and the wind has died down. It's very still. It's also very cold and I quickly make my way back to my bedroom where the warm bedcovers immediately take away the chill from my bare feet and I'm all snug and comfortable again. It's 4:20am. Not bad - only 10 minutes have elapsed and I won't be having that dream again tonight!
Come on brain - there's not much time left. Let me get a bit more sleep!
It's 5:20am. Was I asleep for an hour? I seem to remember a dream about narrow stairs and a black cat but it faded away just as I was trying to get a grip on it. Why are my dreams so mundane? Or is it that I only remember the dull ones and the good dreams are so dazzling and dramatic that my mind can't process the images and sounds when I'm awake. Huh! Who am I kidding? Sigh. There's a nasty crick in my neck so it's time to change positions. Note to Self: give favourite (almost) immortal character backache and insomnia in next story. There's nothing in fanfic rules to say that just because he could be around for a few centuries, he is guaranteed immunity from such 'life enriching experiences' (ha!) as sleep deprivation, backache, indigestion, bad breath ... I think I'd better write a list. In the meantime it's still dark and I think I'm finally starting to drift off...
Nope. Yawn. Wishful thing - I'm awake after all. It seems that even the somewhat star-crossed lovers have managed to get away from me and disappear into the bleak and stormy city - I can't seem to pick up the threads of their lives again. I hate it when characters I've invented somehow manage to escape. I make another concerted effort Not To Think Of Anything. It's no good though - I'm now in It's-Almost-Time-To-Get-Up mode. I hear the first commuter of the day driving past the house as the car headlights make an arc of light across my bedroom wall and I find myself planning what to wear, what I will do at work first - and the real kiss of death if you want to go back to sleep - I indulge in clock watching. 5:27am. 5:35am. 5-bloody-42am. 5-dammit-55am. 6:00am - the alarm goes off, the radio comes on and I lie there waiting for the weather report - just to confirm I've made the right choice re clothing for the day.
This is my life at night - in fact most nights. Thrilling isn't it? (Yes I'm being sarcastic). Standby for the next instalment (hopefully without any sudden trips to the bathroom at 4:00am). Actually no, I think this had better be a one off. Mind you, some nights I can even have quite different and interesting stories to revisit - erotic tripleX-rated moments of adultery, slash and exaggerated human drama - all kinds of stuff that is so unbelievable you would read about it in certain magazines featuring paragraphs that begin with; "I never used to believe the stories in your magazine but last week..."
Isn't it a shame that while I have the imagination to picture these rather satisfying moments I can't actually write about them? Sorry about that but thanks for reading these ramblings anyway - I calculate it wouldn't have wasted too much of your time. (I worked it all out in the last couple of minutes before the alarm went off).
T H E E N D
How much of this story is true to life you might ask (...but probably couldn't be bothered). Some of it. Certainly not all of it. I'm supposed to be writing fiction after all! Note - bits have been updated since the first post. That's what happens when you discover a mistake - you fix it and before you know it more text mysteriously gets written.