The Eternal Weirdness of the Sleepless Mind

It’s that time again. The end of the semester, or as I like to think of it, the end of sleep as I know it.

A few nights ago,  I woke up at 3am, and couldn’t get back to sleep until I grabbed the ice pack I keep handy for when I walk into doors and stuck it on my forehead. I think my brain was overheating.

Yesterday, when one of my students asked, “As a history student, do you write a lot?” I just started nodding and felt a slightly manic grin creep over my face as I said “Yes, every day, all day, just reading and writing and reading about writing and writing about reading and yes.”

When I shared this exchange with Ophelia Fedora, my best friend and fellow history grad student, she texted “Hahahahahahaha” in what I can only imagine was a tone of sarcasm and pain.

Every time I sit down at my computer to work on one of my papers, I feel like Ron Swanson and his typewriter.

All the words I know may not be enough for the writing I have to do in the next three weeks.

I’m running out of synonyms for “argue”. So far, scholars in my papers “contend”, “discuss”, “examine”, “dispute”, “assert”, “posit”, “suggest”, “theorize” and “claim”.

Every paragraph I write, every book I read, sounds the same to me as the one before it. It’s getting dark in my corner of the world. When someone asks me how it’s going my response is always the same:

Don’t worry, Andy. We all feel that way sometimes.

But there is a light at the end, and it’s getting closer. And that light is called May 2. Because on May 2, I will have turned in all of my own work, and I’ll just have to grade papers and prepare for the rest of my May adventures.

You and me both, April. And on May 2, we shall not do things.

On May 2, I will sleep until I wake up. I will not set any alarms. I plan on spending it outside, at the Art Museum, in the magical independent bookstore, at CVS, anywhere but my office or the library. I’ll bake miniature Derby pies. I’ll write postcards. I’ll read all the books that have been piling up next to my bed. I’ll take Nelly the Dream Wagon to get washed. Every book I have checked out from the library for school will be returned because I will not need them anymore. I’ll take a bubble bath and  reorganize my earrings. I’ll resew buttons on my coats and put them away until next October, when winter comes once again to Milwaukee. I’ll have a dance party with Indy. I’ll watch “Grey’s Anatomy” with a clear conscience that there is nothing better I should be doing. And when I to bed on May 2, I will not need an ice pack for my head, because my mind will be clear and calm and everything will be awesome.

I’m dreaming of May 2. We’re meant for each other.

May 2 and I are written in the stars.


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