How long can you live on two hours sleep, one night after another?

How long can you love it?

Life is both an experiment and a revelation right now. Anticipation is a drug. I am stalking my imaginary friends into all hours of the night. If this were real life (oh dear, isn’t it?) I would be arrested.

Writing is a relationship, with all the characteristics of a flesh-and-blood one. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it. Sometimes the words seduce me. They have their way with me, in odd places around the house, at the strangest times. Other times, they’re not speaking to me, for reasons I don’t understand. Sometimes, I’m not speaking to them. Sometimes (most often, fortunately) the relationship is passionate and pauseless. That’s where I am right now. But it does screw up one’s sleep.

I keep a micro tape recorder by the bedside. It saves turning on the light every time an idea speaks. Last night–as I immersed in the refinements for a pivotal chapter (and one of my favorites) in the book, the ideas were so persistent that I slept with the recorder strap around my wrist, a new addition to the bed that the cats viewed with extreme suspicion.

I’m not alone in the habits of madness. My friend Liz (whose blog link is there at the left) acts her dialog into the mirror. In this quirk, she is not alone. Good character development requires the skills of a peerless method actor.

I can’t speak for Liz (whose husband, the sweet Matt, has learned to accept these vagaries of a writer’s nature), but I am afraid to write in public places: I talk to myself. The little tape recorder has become the repository for whole chapters read aloud–– the “read test”, played back to myself after I turn out the light; my bedtime story, the deepest test of the music in the words.

Writing is a compulsion. An obsession. There is delight and despair in it. Like being in love. And if there’s one thing that’s truest about me…I love being in love.