I slept like cold lasagna last night. Worse. Like cold lasagna reheating in an unplugged oven. Slab of congealed sauce and noodle, flesh and bone. Just laying there. Cold and wide awake. Toss, turn. Trying to hold in lentil farts.
On top of this, the baby hasn’t pooped in two days and Kate whispers my name sometime in the middle of the night and puts my hand on the baby’s growling stomach and asks me to get up and Google symptoms of salmonella because the lady that owns Salamander Springs Farm where we buy our eggs got salmonella. Constipation isn’t a symptom, I report. When the 5am phone alarm beeps in the kitchen, I throw off the blanket—relieved to end the failed attempt at a night’s sleep. This is becoming a trend.
I know why I’m sleeping like slippery stiff Italian food. Let me tell you about my writing process. An hour before bed, instead of the soothing wuussh swussh of tap water on dinner dishes, I’m blasting my eyeballs with the backlit MacBook Air. Pecking a new Alt Dad post. For the past month or more, I bang out a brain dump in ten or fifteen minutes in the morning. Between 530am dog walk and 7am yoga class. Freestyle stream of consciousness.
This past Sunday, during a dog-baby walk in the woods, Kate said my Alt Dad Diary posts were better a few months ago. Thematic, substantive, layered. I knew what she meant. Back then, I spent an hour or two each day. Instead of ten to fifteen minutes. Makes a difference.
The price of this kind of writing time is sleep. Zzzzs are often the cost of adding a new routine, hobby, responsibility. People say there’s only so many hours in a day. Which is true. But you can always get up an hour earlier. Meditate. Yoga. Journal. Lift. Swim. Run. Write.
As a first-time father, sooo much time is spent in stupified adoration of the baby. Watching, holding. Photos, baby baaaaby! For hours. And rightfully so. In order to write these meaty longer posts, I either get up at 4am or I stay up late. Staying up late is a rarity, because at the end of the day my brain body is fried, and my writing junk. Frazzled brain wires want to unplug. And 4am wake-up means …well you know what it’s like to traipse around all day like a zombie.
I enjoy the long post-short post variety. Longer introspected essays and short brain bang-outs. But I also see what Kate is saying. I can’t really drill into memory, introspection in ten minutes. I can tap into flow, but it’s LIVE and not polished. In order to write a methodical post, brain biopsying this or that thing, really taking care and time to flesh out examples of what the hell I’m preaching about… it takes at least a solid hour. Often more. These posts are different sort because they’re more topic centered (marriage real talk, semi-sobriety, self-esteem) and less ambling annotation of my dreadless head space.
Is it worth the sleep sacrifice? On Instagram, I search for #daddiary and then just #diary. I go to Google. Search daily diary. The results? Photoshopped portraits, inspirational quotes. Picture perfect but cold, nutritionless lasagna. Nobody is telling us the tasty terrible unplugged truth. Nobody is gutting out their daily grind. Maybe because it takes too much time to write. And we only have 150 characters. Or the two, three, four seconds for Netflix to load. Or the red light to change.
So fuck yea 4am.
#altdad #amwriting #writingprocess #minimalism #father #sleep
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