I wish I had an analog clock. At least then I could watch the seconds tick by, comforting in their monotonous twirl around a plain face. Instead, I’m watching the soft, pale blue light of my digital clock, never knowing when the minute number will change. It always does, with a hint of surprise, and a slight dimming of the background. 2:32. 2:33. 2:34.
I’m up again like I am most nights, my insomnia increased over the stress of the past few weeks. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Who needs a full night’s sleep anyway? Cat naps have always been my preference. Need to be awake when the muse slips in from her night out, having deposited ideas and dreams inside the minds of great lyricists and writers. Need to be awake to beg at her feet for scraps. Need to be awake to beg.
Having been thoroughly ignored by the muse, I turn to my other muses. The songs. They keep no schedule except the ones made by destiny. This one a hit, this one a fan’s favorite, this one destined for the bargain bin. I like to tempt fate. Hit random on the player and see what happens.
Of all songs, “Up All Night.” Thanks. Like I needed a reminder. My life remains truly ironic at times. The only way it could become stranger is if “Daysleeper” followed in Panic’s wake. It doesn’t. Instead, a clip from Mills’ birthday sled to hell fills my earbuds. I glance over at the picture sitting on my bookshelf. Our faces frozen for eternity in a photograph, mine a mixture of disbelief and happiness, his, well…who knows what Mills thinks. Mom keeps a copy as her computer background. I can’t. Mills finishes his speech about my inability to make the turntable work and I hear myself rebuke him. A small smile. It really was his fault.
It’s too late in the night for Hayride. I’m in a mood. Scanning the web for new tables, a lamp, queen sized bed frame for sale? The blinking line on the open Word document seems to taunt me. As long as it’s blinking, you have nothing to write. Nothing to say. Nothing to add. How ridiculous is that? With all the topics in the world, even pared and pruned down to just Athens music, you should find yourself swamped with ideas, words, pithy sayings, things that might look good on business cards, fun things to put on shirts.
Damn little blinking line. I used to handwrite everything but I couldn’t read it. I still copy song lyrics manually. Something about writing them myself gives me ownership. They’re mine. “Raining in Athens” follows an uncharacteristically slow Critical Darlings song. 3:50. Have to leave the house by 7:45. The nap time won’t be worth it, I decide. You’re still blinking? Persistent little thing, aren’t you?
Okay Blue. Or Jordan or whatever name you’re going by tonight. You’ve got the Skirts playing now, there’s always something to write there right? I’m still at a loss. I’m updating my resume now. And look, more things to put in the contact database. More musician’s birthdays, record releases…Second nature excel skills after my internship days.
We’re going through the whole spectrum now. Chesnutt and Venice to Durrett and Chambers. I’m noticing my taste leaning towards the folksy and lyrical. So that’s where the muse has been. Dabbling in the dreams of Stipe, Bramblett, and Bell. Leaving me drowning in the wake, watching as the boat motors past, not offering so much as a life jacket tonight. Nothing but memories tonight, I’m afraid. “Electrolite” brings a hot June night, surrounded by a cell-phone starry sky. “Cool” dances in with a cold December morning. Remember that one time you did that one thing and nobody knew it was you? I wrote all those posts, saved them. Hid them. Too personal, too irrelevant tonight. 5:42.
Still looking at a blank page but I type the first thought that comes into my head. I wish I had an analog clock.