Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Morning interviews

As I sat reading an E-mail last night, a thought struck: “Why, oh, why can’t I be in the Eastern time zone?” This thought came as a result of one of my contacts saying he could finally avail himself to a phone interview with me at 9 a.m. EST. At any other point I would’ve danced in the street since I’d been spending all week trying to get through to him so that I could meet my deadline. (And no matter how hard I try it seems there will ALWAYS be something to make sure that I don’t!) But the problem was, the time he said I could interview him. In my time zone, 9 a.m. was just 5 ½ hours away!

I sat there drinking my second cup of coffee (which I suddenly felt very relieved to have in my system), pondering my options. I couldn’t miss this interview. That was definitely out of the question. And because my contact is one VERY BUSY guy, I couldn’t ask him if we could move it to a little later in the day, like, say, 4 p.m. (As you might have guessed, I’m not much of a morning person.) I could just picture myself being awakened after only five hours of sleep, grabbing the alarm clock, throwing it out the window then settling back into bed cursing modern technology. Soo, going to sleep didn’t seem like a very good idea at the moment. Besides, what if I forgot? My memory isn’t exactly as sharp as a tack and I suddenly visualized the alarm clock covered with Post-It notes screaming in bold letters accompanied with an army exclamation points, “CALL JOHN!!!”

If I was going to stay up until 6 a.m., what would I do to keep myself awake? I’m not one of those people who can stay wide awake thanks to a generous dose of coffee at night (though I have been known to bounce off the walls after half a pot). I could read one of my many unread books in my little library, but reading doesn’t exactly keep me awake. I could watch a movie, say either The Ten Commandments or Part 1 & 2 of The Thorn Birds. I could plug in the bread-making machine and wait out a fresh loaf. Or I could spend the time online, chatting. (I didn’t really favor the more sedentary options because I REALLY don’t like sitting down for too long unless I absolutely HAVE to.)

Then I thought about something else: The fact that I have a toddler. Oh, sure, tomorrow was Saturday and she’d be spending most of the day with her father. But just as there is always SOMETHING interfering with my writing deadlines, there’s always SOMETHING interfering with my weekend plans, too. (Come to think of it, I can’t even remember the last time I spent my weekend relaxing.) So there was a chance I’d be a “Zombie Mommy” tomorrow if I skipped on getting some sleep. Oh, sure, I’ve survived on less sleep before. During the first couple of months after my daughter was born, I pretty much got by on only 4 hours of sleep, though admittedly I wasn’t a very pleasant person to be around.

That flashback didn’t look too sweet. I decided to get whatever sleep that I could.

And it only turned out to be four hours!

Surprisingly, though, the phone interview went pretty well. I was able to comprehend what my contact was saying and even type of my repeated questions without error.

That’s the good news.

The bad news was, putting my article together afterwards didn’t go so smoothly.

You would think that, because I could work without interruption, writing a looong article would be a breeze. But since I was practically falling asleep over the keyboard with my eyelids getting heavier, I had to make quite the effort to get it done. I pretty much spent the next two hours grumbling, cursing and trying very hard not to pull my hair out or punch the keyboard as I had to keep deleting typos, rearranging paragraphs, rereading sentences (sometimes out loud) just so I could understand them and going over my article again and again just to make sure it all made sense.

Finally, I sent off my 3500-word article then thankfully trudged back to bed. Ahh, blissful sleep was finally mine. I had done my job. I met my late deadline. I had left the building.

Or so I thought.

My body was exhausted but my mind was actually now quite wide awake as it went over every word of my article, wondering if the title I'd finally chosen (which was one my editor suggested) was just right, if I’d left anything out and if I really should’ve tried to ask my contact his opinion on something I decided not to get a quote for. Oh, but it didn’t stop there. The article is for a book I’m writing and so, of course, I started thinking about the section titles for the book, what other topics I plan to cover, if I should try to get photos for it now, what to say in my proposal, why I haven’t even dashed off the proposal yet even after finishing four chapters, and exactly WHAT I’m going to call this thing.

Now, I love my Muse, but right about now wasn’t exactly a good time for her to bug me. In fact, had my Muse been an actual person pestering me to stay awake any longer to worry about the article. I would’ve grabbed it by the neck, my bloodshot eyes widened, as I screamed at it, “GO!!! AWAY!!!”

Hmph. Sleep is overrated.


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