Thursday, July 06, 2006

That Little Narcolepsy Problem

It doesn't matter how much sleep I get.
It doesn't matter how loud the music is.
It doesn't matter if my shoes are so tight I'm getting blisters and foot cramps.

If I am trying to make myself do something I don't want to do, I fall asleep.

This little problem first surfaced when I was in law school. I'd be reading one of those deliciously juicy tomes with lots of big words that I had no clue what they meant, and my eyes would start to close and my head would start to nod, and the next thing I knew, the page would be covered in drool and two or three hours would have passed.

I tried chocolate.
I tried caffiene (it's amazing how quickly you can build up a tolerance to that chemical).
I tried suger of all kinds.

Nothing worked.

I read. I got bored. I fell asleep.

Then it got even worse when I got an actual job in a law firm and had to spend hours doing research. It's so not cool to pass out in a drool puddle in the middle of the library. So I started doing research in my office so I could close the door and take naps without anyone noticing... and then I realized that the lines on my cheek from the wrinkled pages was a dead giveaway, so I had to learn how to adjust my position so that only my forehead was pressed against the book while I was snoozing. Then my bangs covered it, and no one was any wiser.

I gotta tell you, though, there were some stressful moments when I was sound asleep at my desk, only to hear a knock on my door. Jerking myself to consciousness in an instant while wiping off drool took some serious talent.

Needless to say, I finally quit the law gig. Somehow, I was getting the vibe that it wasn't a good fit for me.

Since then, I've pretty much managed to handle my narcolepsy problem, mainly becuase I have a job I like. But there's two times it still comes up:

1) The final read thru of my ms before I send it in. At this point, I've seen it so many times and I'm just looking for typos, so I'm not really thinking, more like reading on a superficial level... bonk. Head on the keyboard.
2) The brainstorming process when I am trying to come up with a new story. I don't know why this is so hard for me, but invariably, I can't do it for more than a couple hours at a time, or I wind up sliding off my chair and curling up on the nearby dog beds for a good long nap.

I'm brainstorming now. Music is blasting. I'm eating cookies. I have the heat low so I'm cold. But I'm on hour three and still not making progress, so frustration is beginning to kick in and the ol' aversion defense tactics are kicking in, and I can feel my brain starting to shut down. Want to sleep. Just gotta put my head down for one minute. Please...

What brings on your little narcolepsy problem?

Stephanie Rowe
DATE ME, BABY, ONE MORE TIME, available now!


Elizabeth Hoyt said...

Hey, as far as I'm concerned, napping IS brainstorming.

Plotting out a new book is such a goofy, non-concrete thing anyway. I mean, you're just MAKING THINGS UP. Actually, to the average watcher it looks a lot like staring at the wall.

Sadly, my dog is narcoleptic. Her eyes start drooping when I talk to her. Kinda insulting, really.

Nicole said...

lol runs in the family? I test positive for it in a blood test, but don't really exhibit the symptoms, whatever that means. :-)

Riding in a car. I almost always fall asleep. I can't drive for long distances without breaks because of this. It's highly annoying. Was quite interesting when we moved down here from ND and the drive was 10 hours long and we had two cars. DH pulled over once because he could see my starting to swerve around behind him. Ooph.

lol Now I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every day. Cuts into doing stuff, but keeps me awake for the most part.

Kelley St. John said...

I loved this post, Stephanie :) It sounds SO familiar! With me, I take the nap and let the characters rule. When I wake up, their ready to have their say on the page, and I let them (which is why I'm up at 4:00 a.m. typing this ;)

Off to let the characters win their battle...