I am having one of my periodic wrestling matches with insomnia, which, in my case seem to be related to the same part of my brain that does the heavy lifting for storytelling. For me insomnia is invariably a can’t get my brain to stop whirring problem and one that feels like it feels when I’m processing story.

There are variations:

The worry whirr, in which I can’t get my mind off some care that I can’t do anything about.

The engineering whirr, in which I am working on a project of some sort and end up spending hours on design issues that I could solve in minutes with a piece of paper a pencil and some measurements.

The genuine story whirr, in which my brain picks away at some aspect of the current w.i.p. and won’t let go even once I solve the problem.

And tonight’s special joy, the what if whirr, in which my brain gets its teeth into constructing scenarios in which things are other than as they are–in this case the cascade was triggered by the ongoing work left by my grandmother’s rather abrupt departure from the scene.

None of it is terribly fun and I have found that the best response is to get out of bed and do something that is not sleeping for a while–hence this blog post. Now that I’ve done that for a bit I’m going to wander back to bed and see if I have successfully distracted the story-telling part of my brain enough that it will shut up and let the rest of me get to sleep.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog April 28 2008, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)