This morning I woke up while it was still dark with the sound of a windstorm racing through the neighborhood. Every once in a while the lonely sound of sirens  would sound through the early morning as some emergency vehicle was on its way to some scene. I was still tired, so I slipped in and out of consciousness for a while, without any of the sleep being particularly good. Of course, as I sit here in bed and try to write this late in the evening, I am reminded that I am tired in large part because I did not sleep so well last night. That is the way it goes for someone whose sleep is a source of difficulty, in that one is constantly being reminded of the repercussions of the past on the present. One pays for not being able to sleep very well, even if it seems like an advantage to be able to function on poor rest.
To write while one is sleepy is a race against time. One knows that at some point one’s energy reserves will run out and one will fall asleep with a computer on one’s lap with the lights on, and in the middle of the night one will turn off the computer and the light and try to get back to sleep, interrupted, knowing that one will likely feel tired the next morning as well. The life of an insomniac is something that I chronicle a great deal, and I hope it is not the sort of thing that ends up being too tedious to readers who might wonder whether napping is a good idea (for me, it’s usually not) or who might not want to hear of the side effects of taking herbal sleep medications that make one more dehydrated and give one vivid dreams, both of which are disastrous for someone such as myself.
And yet it is a challenge to write sometimes when one is running on fumes. Over the past few days I have found myself listening a great deal to the self-titled second album by Fleetwood Mac singer Christine McVie. By no means the most prolific of the members of the band, she nonetheless was able in 1984 to make an album that was specacular, and she managed to do so with the help of quite a few friends, from her bandmate Lindsey Buckingham to Steve Winwood (who shares vocals on the driving “One In A Million”). One wonders how she crafted her songs, even if it is obvious that her material is far more focused and consistent in its subject matter than my own is. Even though her discography ranges from 1970 to 2004 as as solo artist so far, she only released three albums, a particularly slow pace of album releases. When someone goes fourteen years between their first and second albums and then another two decades before they release a third, one can guess that they are not the sort of people who care bout putting up a large number of albums.
And yet some of us are in a rush against time itself, at least the time allotted to us. Many people feel it necessary to wake themselves with a coffee or an energy drink because they simply just do not feel energetic during the morning. Then when nighttime comes we struggle again to fall asleep in the right time, or we stare out blankly into space and wonder what there is to write about. And although my favorite Christine McVie album came out in 1984 when I was but a small child, the album’s material is rather topical. “Ask Anybody” shows the narrator in a bad relationship that everyone else wants her to get out of but she is willing to fight for. “I’m The One” reflects on being the comforting friend who wants a relationship and doesn’t want to be merely the shoulder to cry on. And “The Challenge” reminds us that love and life are challenges, and that heartache is everywhere. That’s as true now as it ever was, and it is one of those factors that certainly makes life more difficult and robs our waking and sleeping time of a great deal of the joy it could have in better circumstances.
 See, for example: