Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spiders, Fairies And Elves, Oh My!

Two nights ago it's the rain. Last night, well last night has no reason. I haven’t slept in two days, and yeah, maybe I’ve gone longer before (stupid insomnia) but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to sleep.

I almost fall asleep around nine this morning. Oblivion is so close, and my, is it ever gorgeous.

A spider scurries across my belly.  

I jump from the bed shaking my limbs and tear off my clothes with an urgency I can’t possibly convey.

Intent on finding the nasty creature, I rip my bed apart. There’s no stopping until its dead. I can’t be in my room knowing there’s a spider lurking somewhere, waiting to bite me.

There’s nothing. I shake out and meticulously check the seams of my clothes before putting them back on.

I go upstairs. I’m not on the couch for two minutes before it happens again. The spider.

And then, I see it. The drawstring on my sweatpants. Great, I’m so tired I’m hallucinating. I hate when this happens. My already overactive imagination goes haywire: there’s robbers and axe murderers; clothes turn to weird animals; shadows morph into horrific things; strange images flash across my eyes; things try to kill me.

It’s like a bad acid trip – except I’ve never started trying to peel off my own skin or anything like that. It’s yet to get so bad I vandalize myself. Instead, I hide under the covers like a good four-year-old.

Sometimes my imagination is too much for me. Every morbid or horrific thought of mine plays out, so vividly that they have to be real. It makes distinguishing reality and imagination tedious, the line seems so ambiguous. 

And that got me thinking (productively this time).

My best work is done when I’m in this exhausted state, when I stay up all day and night to work on a project and am so tired there’s no possible way to go on. Yet I do; the work must be crap since I'm barely conscious.

Then I get my marks back. An A. (This happened last week – I stayed up so long over a course of several days working furiously to do all the schoolwork I put off that I made myself physically ill.)

My best writing comes out of this weird half-there state where I start losing my mind. Maybe it’s the separation from my conscious mind. I can’t get in the way of what needs to be said or done. My words can’t interrupt my characters because I can’t possibly come up with one, even if I tried.

My imagination gets free reign, takes full control, and runs rampant.

I wish there was a way I could channel this mind-set without the negative side-effects (like believing I’m on fire or someone’s leaning over me with a knife). But I guess art is suffering.

And what would we writers be without our suffering, struggling image? (Aside from healthier of course)

The only weird thing (and no, hallucinations no longer count as weird) is when I look at what I've written; the words are foreign, new. I always find myself wondering who wrote it – it’s too good to have come from me.

Maybe it’s weird fairies or something – like those ones that made the Shoemakers shoes when he falls asleep. Wait, those are elves. Okay, so maybe elves are doing all the work for me (the stuff that I don’t think is utter crap anyway). I don’t know.

All I know is you can’t have them. (And I mean this in the nicest possible way. I’m sure you have your own weird creatures hopping around fixing things for you, like ninjas or bunnies or something. If you don’t, you should get some).

Where/when are you the most creative? Does your work ever surprise you? 

Word Of The Day: Fatuous: foolish or inane (especially in an unconscious manner); silly; unreal.  


  1. Couple questions? Have you had a good or bad acid trip? (Round about way of determining what role acid has played in your life.....) or is that comment similar to when people say "this tastes like crap!" when they have yet to actually taste crap? Just curious.
    now that you have had the elves write a great post sic them on the house to clean...

  2. Hahahha! This is the funniest post ever! I love it. I could just picture you screaming, throwing off your clothes. You know you may not want to go around telling people you throw off you clothes with such urgency... just saying. Its true when your over tired, crazy stuff comes out of your mouth.. but your more entertaining as well haha. Next you may start seeing babies abandoned near the forest... dun dun dun. Do not go towards it!!! As for me I have Pigmy's fixing stuff for me..not! hahah. Wow I feel strangely hyper after reading that post. This is what you do to me!! I am the most creative in writing when I'm very hyper and thats usually with you. Drawing is when I'm passionate about Disney and drawing.

  3. Bahaha!!! I would have stopped at nothing until it's dead too!!! I'm glad to know that you were just imagining things... because spiders are scary!!!

    My work constantly surprises me. I'm terrified of horror movies and shows, yet I enjoy watching them. I never go to bed after watching them until something more flowery and sparkly comes on so I feel happy. However my MC right now is a serial killer... can you imagine the thoughts I have in one evening?? They are horrific!!! What this man does is awful and I'm writing him! At times I hope people don't think I'm a serial killer in the process!!! HAHA

  4. Pretty much the only "quiet" time I have is early in the morning or late at night. Of course this is the time I'm in a hazy delirium but its worked for me so far.

  5. This post made me laugh. I don't like spiders coming close to me, but I'll go close to them. ha. weird.


  6. Oh my god, that spider incident was SCARY. I'm glad you're still in one piece :D

    In answer to your question, I do my best writing (if you could call it that) during exam times/really, really late at night. My logic seems to shut itself off, and my creativity is like, "Aw sweet, now it's my time to shine!" and starts bouncing around my mind like a fuzzball in--

    I'll stop now, because it's too damn early for me to say these things. Obviously the creativity is still in there...

  7. Gawd, I hate spiders.
    I get all sorts of ideas just as I'm lying in the dark about to fall asleep. Or driving. It's weird, but that's what does it for me!

  8. When I was in high school and college I worked better exhausted - was more creative. Now if I'm that exhausted nothing productive happens. I guess it's one of those awful side effects of growing older - at least for me.

    I used to worry a lot more about spiders before we got cats. Now the cats catch and kill most of the spiders. I've only seen one big hairy spider in the house in the past two years (it used to be a lot more than that). I love my cats!

  9. Oh - I so know the feeling! I have insomnie too, and weird spider-like moments :) And, my best work is definitely fuelled by lack of sleep which leads to hyper-activity and all sorts of genius ideas ;)

    Hope you get some sleep soon :)

  10. Your spider story made me laugh and laugh! I promise I wouldn't have laughed if there had actually been a spider. Spiders are nothing to laugh at. I rented a cabin once that was infested. I was looking forward to a weekend away and it was so PERFECT. The little dining area overlooked the river that ran right behind it. There was a fireplace. And spiders. MANY spiders. The first night, one was messing with me. It would run up the bed from underneath it and across me, but would disappear back under the bed again before I could get it. I would lay back down, start to relax and it would happen all over again. I pulled out a cot and slept on that. Barely. Horrible spider dreams. That was supposed to be a productive weekend that turned out not so well. I tend to be more creative at night when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep. I have good mornings with my coffee on rainy days too.

    Alyce - I need your cats to come teach mine how to get the spiders. They seem to miss them. Or maybe the spiders know we have cats and make straight for the ceilings and high up places where cats can't chase.

  11. That is too funny! One of my cats comes running when the door opens - in hopes that the light will trick a bug into flying in so he can bat it around for a while. Too bad cats are so willful or I'm sure I could make lots of money training spider-catching cats. :)

  12. Guess I shouldn't mention the tarantula I just saw crawling under your door lol

    I thought we (writers) were supposed to be mentally unhealthy and physically healthy? We must be branching out...awesome.

    Thanks for the great post, hope you get some sleep soon maam.

  13. Goo! I hate spiders and would have tore up the bed and everything else to find it. *laughing* @ mayowa I don't the we are all mentally well either. The subconcious is a crazy thing, I have sleep issues too so can relate to the inbetween, and how schoolwork without sleep can make you physically ill. Ack!
    I really don't know when I write best. It happens when it happens and there is no real rhyme or reason for me. Sometimes rain, shine, half asleep, wide awake...I don't know. When the mood strikes is all I can say.
    Really fun post to read cause I can so relate to it.
    Oh, wait...when it's artwork, not writing, it comes to me best in the evenings never during the day. Photography happens in the daylight hours. Why writing hasn't found a "time" I dunno. *shrugs*
    Get some rest this weekend ;)

  14. Hmmm interesting. I think I'm my best under pressure, so it's kind similar to your imaginary spider--hahaha

  15. Oh man, I hope you get some sleep! Insomnia sounds horrible. Your post made me smile though because a large portion of my childhood was filled with a fear of moving when I went to sleep, thanks to that movie Arachnophobia. Remember the spider is on the guy and the guy brushes his hand against his leg so the spider bites him? And he dies...

    Don't make yourself ill, girl. You can be creative and healthy too. Look at Nora Roberts. :-)

    My work does surprise, sometimes in a really bad way. LOL

  16. Melissa - where have you been all my life? Two points - another fellow insomniac! And argh, I've had a very similar spider fiasco more times than I can count. I hate spiders!

    You're right though - I find a lot of my ideas come to me during that "in between" point, right when you're on the brink of exhaustion, but you're too tired to sleep and too excited to think. Uh huh. And from that side of crazy, more crazy thoughts start appearing, and before you know it, you have a full fledged idea swimming about your overworked mind, and usually it's something that doesn't even remotely resemble your original plot :D.

    Great post - this was very entertaining and extremely relatable - especially for me!

    Oh! And thanks so much for stopping by my blog today :)

  17. ...bounced over from Lola's place:)

    enjoyed the post. funny stuff. For me it's snakes. Despise 'em. When encountered, they normally experience a meet 'n greet with my pitchfork:)

    My inspiration...strange but true, while on the tractor, mowing the lawn, minding my own business! slammed by an idea worthy of ink.


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