Thursday, April 10, 2014

Journal Entry, Spring 2014

Last night, after stumbling to the bathroom, I glanced at the kitchen clock whose digital glow read 3:07 a.m. In the old days I could fall fast back to sleep; in fact, I was known among friends for my ability to doze deeply anywhere, at any time. Chalk it up to mid-life hormones or my wife's coughing or the incessant mind-spin I can't seem to shut off, especially in the middle of the night, but this was my third in a row that insomnia was my bed partner.

So I lay quietly, listening to the welcome rain (green fields! daffodils!) until my wife beside me broke the stillness with a reminiscence of the last time we awoke during a storm.

Nicole R. Zimmerman: Farm Tulips
We'd both been in the kitchen then, when thunder and lightning struck (rare here in northern California). The rumble and snap and flash startled us from our half-slumber so that she--nearly blind without her eyeglasses--ran straight into the yellow wall while my hip collided with the corner of the butcher block in our haste to escape to safety. Last night we laughed about our physical comedy routine and I said in a TV announcer voice, "On the next episode of Naked And Afraid," funny because we weren't dropped off in a remote wilderness but for one moment lost in our own quiet cottage at the edge of 80 acres.

I just can't seem to get used to the idea that in my job as a copywriter and copy editor, the inbox is permanently full. Even my wife, in a profession notorious for bringing work home, finds occasional respite in real breaks or the completion of end-of-quarter comments (which I'll edit this morning) for her middle-school science classes.

On the bright side, I'm getting a lot more reading done, for books are what I resort to on sleepless nights. Recently I began culling them from living room shelves, overgrown like anything in a house one has lived in for six years (my longest residency following a record 17 abodes in 20 adult years, not counting the half-year I spend road-tripping and the half-year backpacking Down Under).

Aside from issues of the Sun magazine and a brief stint with Annie Dillard (it was a slender book), I've spent most of my late night hours with Ann Patchett's This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, which said wife gave to me for Hanukkah and whose title has little to do with the book as a whole (with the exception of the title essay). It's a highly informative, entertaining and poignant essay collection--from a story on trying out for the LAPD to caring for her grandmother in her final decade.

So I'm awake again, writing in bed what I started in my head last night, ready--or not--for another day.

[Side note: since this entry was written I've moved on to Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. I'm getting up at 5:30 a.m. to catch a flight tomorrow to DC to visit my nephews and don't intend to read--or write--before then!]

Nicole R. Zimmerman: the three musketeers

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