The Sleeping Hillbilly: Writer’s Block or Simple Inertia (A Case Study)

Back when I thought I was just a hillbilly wannabe.

Back when I thought I was just a hillbilly wannabe.

It has occurred to me that what I have been labeling writer’s block may just be simple inertia born of sleep deprivation. This thought was born of pondering why it is that if I miss 10 hours of sleep over two days, it takes me 42 hours of sleep to catch up.  Of course the answer is 42: bonus points if you know why.

I was rip-roaring and ready to take over the world on Monday when I got a phone call from Chef Boy ‘R Mine announcing a surprise, imminent visit. His visits are rare enough and due to the continued shenanigans at Hell’s Kitchen of the Moment, he is fixin’ to move to Charlotte.

I suppose the move to Charlotte was inevitable, but when I got him back after two years and four Floridian Hell’s Kitchens of the Moment, I was hopeful I could keep him close. Not gonna happen. Besides, it seems de rigueur for younguns to spend part of their youth in Charlotte. It’s a rite of passage or something. While the direction of the Hillbilly Highway keeps changing, the existence continues.

My people outmigrated from Appalachia so many years ago that for a time the younger generation was completely ignorant of our hillbilly roots. It wasn’t until my family moved here in the early 70s, left again, and then came back in the mid 80s that I started exploring why it was that I was just so comfortable here – why it was that a Californian born military brat with no roots who had never tasted pinto beans outside of a Mexican restaurant felt completely and utterly at home. That old saying – there are two kinds of people who leave West Virginia, those who come back and those who want to – didn’t seem like it should apply to me, but it did. The seven years of exile from the hills between high school and young adulthood were great fun, but I talked incessantly of getting back here. And I did just in time to raise Chef Boy ‘R Mine here.

Prior to that, home had been that collection of people known as my immediate family. I discovered that while I had been reared in military towns all over the United States, my rearing had been supervised by parents who had parents who had parents with deep roots in Appalachia. The behavior that made us stand out in Camp Lejeune and Quantico and Kaneohe was so muted by generational atrophy that it wasn’t even noticeable here. (I’ve been working on that – I hate not being noticed.)  Home is now both a group of people and a place.

You’d have thunk one of us would have cottoned on when the family friends we developed were the pharmacist originally from West Virginia, the co-worker from Tennessee, my mom’s BFF from Kermit. There were other friends, of course. A lot of them were from Michigan and it wasn’t until I studied Appalachian history and culture that I learned about the Hillbilly Highway to Detroit/Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti. I recently learned that one part of Ypsitanti is called Ypsitucky. Both of my parents were from that area of Michigan and they simply thought the connection was a Michigan connection. Pshaw. That I’ve picked West Virginia to bond with should be no surprise. It’s the only state entirely contained within the Appalachian Region and I’m an all or nothing kind of person.

When I worked at the newspaper in Waukesha, Wisconsin, I was awfully puzzled when all the paperboys/girls brought me birth certificates listing Owensboro, Kentucky as their place of birth. [Johnny Depp is the only pretty-boy type of famous person I’ve ever salivated over post-junior high. It tickles me pink to know he’s from Owensboro.]

So, anyway, I’m enjoying my adult (and I use that term loosely) son. After the slamming door phase of his teenage years, it’s heady stuff to sit at the table with him after one of his spectacular concoctions and kill a bottle (or two) of wine. This last time we were up until 1:30 discussing the events of his birth. I haven’t been up at 1:30 unless I woke up at 1:29 to pee since. . .since. . .since I don’t know when.

Unfortunately, I had to be somewhere the next morning. I had to be there with all my synapses firing and a spring in my step. Morning is not my friend and this was a daunting enough challenge without starting sleep deprived (and more than an hour late as things turned out). That night when I finally got to my hotel room, instead of diving into bed, my roomie and I were up far too late talking about this and that. She’s roughly my age, working full-time and going to grad school full-time. She was as tired as I.  [<–Well lookie there!  Excruciatingly correct grammar.  I should fix that.] Yet we stayed up talking about a scintillating conversation she had with a controversial legislator in the hotel’s business center. One thing led to another and it was midnight before we turned the light out. (She was on spring break and we’ve dubbed this out-of-town sleepover Girls Gone Wild: The Menopause Years. Pitiful.)

I had to be at the Capitol rotunda by 7:00 a.m., so it was another brutal morning made more so by the agony of trying to find parking in the rain. When I finally got home later in the afternoon, I crashed into bed for a nap. Woke up to eat and went back to sleep.

The following morning, I overslept. I put in a full day of work and came home forcing myself to wait until 7 p.m. to go to bed for the evening. By 7:11 p.m., I was nestled in bed with a trashy novel and asleep by 7:30. I didn’t wake until 8:30 yesterday morning.

I sat at the laptop for hours yesterday morning trying to summon the creative energy necessary to blog about some current events that are driving me crazy, but I couldn’t get going. I checked Facebook. I checked Twitter. I cruised other peoples’ blog postings. I cleaned out my email box and set up some new filters. I took a nap. And then I took another nap. And then I went to bed at 9 p.m. before waking just a bit ago.

Trying to motivate, but getting (surprise!) side-tracked.

Trying to motivate, but getting side-tracked.

I’m still tired. I’m willing to bet that I nap at least once today. I still don’t have the energy to tackle the plethora of blog postings, news articles and videos, etc. that are making my hair burst into flames. I don’t know if it’s writer’s block or inertia born of fatigue. While I have no desire to return to my misspent youth, I do miss being able to be dynamic and functional on 3-hours of sleep per night, night after night. I wonder had I slept more between 1979 and 1987 if I’d be more dynamic and functional now. As a dear friend pointed out, I seem to wonder, ponder, muse, and cogitate a lot these days. I hadn’t thought it was a new habit, but my biggest failing during my youth was that I didn’t do such things with enough regularity. But hot damn and a fine cha cha too, I had a good time. Of course, now I think about stuff too much and thus get nothing accomplished. I’ve been seeking balance my entire life.

I’m hopeful that by tomorrow I’ll be ready to take over the world again. Trust me: when I rule the world things will be different.

9 thoughts on “The Sleeping Hillbilly: Writer’s Block or Simple Inertia (A Case Study)

  1. Seeking balance in life is never easy, but doing so is a constant. We also seek routine in our lives as I have recently discovered. Without routine life is constantly out of balance. Maybe someday we’ll come to terms with both.

  2. Nap and nap, what is nap?! Too much going on this weekend to sit and relax. I’m slacking right now; must put more shit away.

    Ah, “The Menopause Years” … I can so relate. My youth seems to long ago.

  3. You done said a mouth full there.

    I believe the correct form would be “She wuz as tired as I wuz.” Dangles and splits always welcome in Appy english.

    What makes a place home? That’s a good question with no clear answer. When I was in my g’gparents homeland of Wales I never felt such a sense of belonging. No one in my family had been back for 110 yrs.
    I left there with a whole new sense and perspective on ‘place.’
    I was born in another part of Appalachia that is quite different, but have spent my entire adult life here and have walked away from a number of ludicrous opportunities in order to stay here and raise my family here. I dunno. Just is what it is and whatever matches our personality.

    G’luck with the sleep thing. Sounds like old age to me.

    You look kinda hot in them long legged jeans and boots. . . a little too skinny though.

  4. No, no, no. Go back to where I said you look hot in them jeans and boots! Just threw in the Kenny Logins thing for a little 70s humor. . . seemed appropriate.
    You look hot in your avatar also, but it’s too small to really tell. . . maybe big full screen pictures in the peignoir will clear things up.
    You have an intelligent, determined, matter-of-fact look and it’s reflected in your writing.

    • So Venerable Sagacious, what you’re saying is you think Kenny Loggins was hot? 🙂

      (Thank ya, darlin’. I’ll look around for the hillbilly dominatrix pic – maybe that’ll work for ya. –C)

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