Charlie's Blog

Here's To the Night Owls!

Thursday, February 16, 2023 6:06 AM


            I have always been a night owl. In high school, I'd regularly be up until 1 or 2 in the morning, then get up for an early-morning class. (There were too many classes I wanted to take, so I always took an early morning class.)

            In college, I never took a class before 11. Once, I signed up for an 8 AM class, but I had to drop it after the first week because it was too hard to get up that early. I spent one year working as an RA in the dorms, and would work a couple of nights a week at the desk until after midnight. Early morning classes were out of the question. For the last 2 1/2 years of college, I volunteered on a speculative fiction magazine put out through the Humanities Publication Center. We'd often work at night, and when we were approaching a print deadline, we'd pull an all-nighter.

            When I got married, we moved 650 miles away and I slowly started going to bed earlier, but rarely before midnight. I was a substitute teacher for a year, but it was still hard to get up early. In addition, I'd have to go with my husband to drop him off at work so I could take the car. I was actually relieved when I got pregnant and had morning sickness that lasted most of the day. No more substitute teaching.

            Later, when my kids were all in school, I found and fell in love with the original To Tell the Truth and What's My Line game shows. They played at 1 in the morning. There was no DVR and no streaming services then, so I'd stay up to watch the shows, then sleep for four hours, get my kids up and off to school, then back to sleep for another four. That worked well. (I should look those shows up again…)

            Then, later, my husband got a job that required him getting up at 3:30 in the morning. He had a really hard time getting up that early, especially with kids. My husband read the bedtime stories, and it was his special time with them. Plus, he is a great reader and uses lots of different voices. So, I would stay up to make sure he got up for work. Once he was off, I'd go to sleep. Or I'd get the kids off and then go to sleep.

            Fast forward to now. Kids are grown and out of the house. Hubby's alarm goes off at 6:15. (It was 5:30 before COVID). His commute is a blissful two minutes with a stop in the kitchen for a quick breakfast. He's been working from home since 2020, and we both love it. But I'm still in the habit of staying up late. I do my best writing after midnight when it's peaceful. I'm OCD, ADHD, an introvert and a little empathic. I pick up on strong emotions—especially negative ones. So, it's more peaceful when most of the world around me is asleep. I usually am awake when my husband gets up. I don't have to, but the habit is now ingrained. Yes, I can likely break it if I work at it, but I keep slipping back to old habits. My husband also gravitates to late nights, so we often lose track of time together, each on our computers. Me in the bedroom and him in his office. We share what we're doing or something we read with each other and often go back and forth for a quick hug. We're just across the hall from each other, so it's easy.

            I'm trying to go to bed before six (or seven), but it's hard. It doesn't help on days when I have a writer group meeting until 9. Or I get busy updating or fixing a webpage. I also spend a lot of time doing text-based roleplaying online. It's a way to write, but not in my own worlds. 

            My goal for 2023 is to do a rewrite of at least one of my novels, polish the short stories I have written, write three more, and do a LOT more poetry.

            It's February 16. In May it will have been five years since my father passed away. Jessica and I have two goals involving my father's legacy. We'll get "Testing Ted Bundy: The 1976 Companion" and "Happy Talk: Conversations with Keith Jesperson" out this year. Dad wrote the first third or so of the Jesperson book, and the other will be the tests and analyses for "The 1976 Psychological Assessment." If I meet my goals, it will be a very productive year. Here's to the night owls!