I was going to write about how sleep impacts my creativity, coming up with initial concepts for stories and resolving stumbling blocks. I’ll likely get back to that at some point, but for now, I’d like to take a moment and investigate how a lack of sleep influences my process. I have been given new opportunity to revisit this recently with the birth of my son, Oliver. He’s just ten days old today, so sleep isn’t a big part of our life. He’s up every hour or two demanding attention, generally in the form of feeding and changing diapers.
I’m also at my part time, seasonal job of scoring standardized tests. This can be a brain-draining position at the best of times, but these days, I struggle to keep my eyes focused and open. I also find random turns of phrase and odd juxtapositions of concepts thrown out there by students more humorous, but also more thought-provoking. ‘What if’ while perfectly cogent is one thing. When the world isn’t quite standing straight, it’s something else again. I’ve never done drugs, but I can guess that there’s been more than one popular one that mimics these effects…
I’ve always appreciated puns more than the average person, but this altered state makes working through speech and text a bit tougher, a bit slower, which gives my mind more time to go down those side avenues. This gives me a new harvest of idea seeds and twists that might not normally occur to me. I have seen this phenomenon once before, while working my way through college by working overnights at gas stations. I had thought the Asimov’s and Fantasy & Science Fiction magazines I had been reading on the shifts were the source of my inspiration, but perhaps they had a boost from the Sandman’s arch enemy: The Caffeinator!
This is somewhat helpful with my latest endeavor to produce ‘bizarro’ fiction, an over the top, sometimes offensive, always chaotic genre I wrote about last time. I’ve also come up with an idea for some little kids picture books. I’ve been looking for something a bit different, and have, in my near-walking-dream-state come across just the thing. Or so I think right now. These things always take on a different complexion in the morning.