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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Thursday, August 28, 2008

late-night reading

The rain plops heavily outside again. A series of sirens has screamed by in the dark of morning.

I prepared for sleeplessness again last night, setting out my sweatpants and fleece top for easy access in the dark. It turned out I needed them: awake at 1:45, I rose again at about 2:30 to head downstairs to read. Might as well make the night productive. This time I opened The Lupercalia, a bound dissertation by a certain Alberta Mildred Franklin, written for her PhD at Columbia University in 1921. There was exactly one copy of this available via Abebooks. That was in Stockholm, Sweden. I bought it for just under 30 euros (including shipping).

I'm glad I did. I sat hunched over the coffee-table, highlighter in hand, flipping through the surprisingly well-made paper-bound document, and sipping a glass of cranberry juice. All quiet in the house; all quiet in the dark outside.

I read for just over an hour: wolf-cults in ancient Greece; wolf-cults in ancient Italy...

I felt fatigued but not especially sleepy. "So this is insomnia," I thought. I've never really had it before.

I crept back upstairs and back into bed. I mainly lay there, but did eventually drift in and out of a very light sleep. I know this because I had dreams. I noticed also the changes in the level of my consciousness as I lay in those hours. Thoughts and images would arise unbidden, spontaneously, and I knew that I was closer to sleep--and by then I had veered back to full wakefulness.

Now, I feel reasonably rested. I'll head on with the day, and see what it brings. One thing I can say: I'm excited by the ideas I'm researching and connecting. They may even be partly what is keeping me up nights.


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