Sleepless Night

Crescent Moon

A long, sleepless night:
My mind wanders far away
In search of answers

Another shooting
More death, violence,
And tears:
Will it ever end?

Life, love, death,
A never-ending cycle –
Is this truly
All there is?

Good and evil
There is no such thing:
We all hide monsters
In our hearts

The clock strikes midnight
Shadows spread across the walls:
Time waits for no one

Silence surrounds me,
An ocean of
I cannot escape

My heart aches –
I loved her more
Than words can say
But it was not enough

Moving on
Is a long and winding road:
I must find
My own way home

A warm summer breeze
Whispering through the treetops
Like a lover’s sigh

Another Christmas
Bright lights shining
On the tree:
It is not the same

Haze hangs in the air
While music drifts
From somewhere far away

In the distance
A yellow sun
Begins to rise:
At last I find rest

Birds sing in the trees
Children laugh and play outside:
Life goes on once more

I’ve been working on this poem for a few days and finished it while I was still awake early this morning. I’ve been feeling quite down the closer it’s got to Christmas; I guess I’ve had a lot on my mind after an eventful year and writing this poem has helped me to sort through a lot of what I’ve been feeling, as well as trying to make sense of the terrible events in Connecticut from earlier this week as well.

The poem is inspired by a lot of things – the shooting in Connecticut, the end of a recent relationship, my grandmother dying – but it’s primarily meant as a collection of thoughts and feelings, the kind of thoughts that enter your mind in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep and your mind just wanders. In that way it’s also a bit of a companion piece to another poem I wrote, The Sound of Midnight, which explored the same idea at a different point in my life.

The photo is a photo I took of a crescent moon last year. I haven’t taken many photos of the moon as it’s one of the more difficult subjects to capture as it’s so bright and you need a very long lens to capture it properly. This was actually the first shot I took… not too bad for a first try. I’ll have to take some more at some stage now that I know what to do!

Photo Β© CJ Levinson 2011-12
Poem licenced under Creative Commons

The Sound of Midnight

Image: Midnight Moon ~ Kalilo

A ticking clock
The only sound
Filling the eerie darkness

The night sky sparkles:
The light of a thousand stars,
Shining forever

Lying in silence
Memories long forgotten
Playing on my mind

Another restless night
Counting sheep
Seeing your face:
Sleep will not come

Rain, falling slowly,
Running down my window pane
Like tears from heaven

A ray of moonlight
Falling across my pillow:
Reminds me of you

Tossing and turning
In an empty bed:
Will I always be

The sound of silence:
A tap’s steady drip
Slowly driving me

Thinking about God
In the middle of the night:
I have no answers

Writer’s block
Bane of my very existence:
The blank page
Never lies

Staring at shadows
Flickering on the wall:
My nightmares
Made real

An orange sunrise
Greeted by a sparrow’s song:
A new day begins

Another morning
Life rising with the new sun:
Finally at rest

Licenced under a Creative Commons Licence

I’ve been working on this poem for quite a while now. Originally I started it back in September as a different kind of poem, more of a traditional sonnet, but I just couldn’t get it to work. I went back to it about a month ago and turned it into this instead.

I’ve had insomnia for a couple of years now and that’s what originally inspired the poem. Quite often I’m still awake around sunrise or later and one of the things I often think about while I’m awake is how the night seems to have a life of its own. The softest sounds – a ticking clock, a dripping tap, the wind rattling the windows – suddenly sound so loud and the shadows play tricks on your mind. There’s something beautiful about the stillness of the night as well though and that’s what I wanted to try to capture, that feeling of just… listening.

It’s not really meant to be a poem as much as a collection of thoughts and feelings and reading it now I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It’s different to the poem I set out to write but I think it works quite well as haiku in the end… the brevity suits it and I like that it’s a little more open than some of my other poetry as well.

I hope you enjoyed it. I’m through the worst of my writer’s block now as well so I should be starting to post more regularly again. I’ll have a Christmas post up tomorrow. — CJ.

What does your email say about you?

Update: If you’re coming to this post from Google, this quiz is no longer available. If you’d like to take a similar one, try this one.
Has it really been eleven days since my last post? I knew it had been a while but I didn’t realise it had been as long as that! I feel funny when I haven’t posted or commented for a while, like I’m neglecting everyone. I hate that. I’ve had other things on my mind this last fortnight, though. I haven’t been feeling well and I’ve been awake now for 56 hours straight! I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone over the weekend… and hopefully some sleep too.

I realised earlier that I’ve just had an anniversary. It was May 1998 that I came online for the first time! Yeah, I know, most people have been online a lot longer than 10 years but it was a big deal to me. My friends were online and I’d used it a bit at school but it was the first time I’d experienced the net properly; it was a whole new world. I remember we used to buy these $30 prepaid cards that lasted for 25 hours; I used to write down exactly how long I’d been online so I wouldn’t go over the limit. These days I’m on that long in a week!

One thing I still remember is my first email address, even though it’s now long defunct: Awful, isn’t it? I wasn’t ready when we were setting up the account, so I just said the first thing that popped into my head and that was masta1. I cringe whenever I think about it now. I had that address for three years and my first stories were published with it… it’s not exactly the address you’d associate with a writer, is it?

It’s funny seeing how far I’ve come since then. I’ve been through another eight addresses, started five websites, several blogs… I’ve even helped friends set up sites and I’ve enjoyed helping people in the WP forums. Not bad seeing I had no idea what I was doing when I first came online! πŸ™‚ More importantly I’ve felt like I’ve become part of a larger community and that’s something I hadn’t felt before… the world really is much smaller now.

And yet, somehow, after all these years, that damn address still says more about me than anything else! No matter how many posts I write, how many photos I put up or profiles I fill out, nothing tells you more about me than masta1. At the least it says I’m a bit of a geek; at the most that I take myself too seriously. I really wish I’d chosen something different now. Email addresses are so important, particularly for first impressions; somehow I doubt masta1 gave people the right idea! πŸ˜‰

I know I’m being silly but there is something to it. Have you ever stopped to think about what your email says about you? Obviously our writing style says a lot but even our addresses can reveal more than we thought. Researchers in Germany recently found that the email addresses we choose often reveal traits like openness, conscientiousness and narcissism without our even realising it. Addresses using punctuation, numbers and fake names proved much more revealing than others, which makes sense. You’re not going to see many adults using, are you?

I found it interesting as I’ve always thought that email says a lot about us. Every way we communicate reveals something about our personality and writing is particularly revealing. A lot of people see email (and comments and forums) as a form of communication that allows them to say things they wouldn’t normally say; they’re much harsher and I’ve always thought that reveals more about the real “them” than they’d ever let us see. The style we use in an email says a lot about us too. Not just the length but whether we write with warmth or intellect, what feeling we convey in the email; that reflects our personality just as much as the words themselves.

I’m not sure if it’s the same for you but I’ve always felt like my online personality is quite like how I am in person; I have a sense of humour but I’m thoughtful and careful with what I say. I’m never happy unless I get the tone of what I’m writing just right because I usually have a lot to say! I came across this quiz earlier and it seems to agree with me. The questions were fun and it’s quite accurate for a simple quiz. I wonder what your email says about you? Do you think you represent yourself online the same way you do off?

Anyway, I’ve just been thinking about this lately. The time’s gone so quickly and it’s funny looking back, seeing how much has changed. I can’t imagine life without the Internet now; it’s helped my writing enormously and I’ve made so many friends. I think I was lucky that I didn’t get online earlier; I can still remember how much I loved experiencing it all for the first time and if I’d grown up with the net then it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as special. I might have taken it for granted and I’d have missed out on so much.

Now all I’m missing out on is sleep! Oh well, guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead. πŸ˜‰

Edit: Now I know I definitely need to sleep! Sulz just reminded me that you need to sign in to Tickle before you can see your results. D’oh! I completely forgot; I meant to post the link to another quiz too, in case you don’t have an account. You can find that one here. I’m going to get some shuteye now. πŸ™‚

Do You Get Enough Sleep?

Sleep Quiz

Do you remember the scene in Falling Down where Michael Douglas enters the fast food restaurant? He starts to order but the manager refuses to serve him breakfast because he’s two minutes too late. So he snaps, pulls out a gun and starts shooting into the ceiling. That’s what I’ve been feeling like for the last few days.

Well, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s not far off. I can’t sleep and it’s driving me nuts. I’m a night owl anyway but the last two weeks I’ve been getting 2 hours sleep a night. I’m not tired, not thinking, not doing anything… I just can’t sleep. And I’m probably not much fun to be around either.

My brain’s been too zapped to think of any meaningful posts lately, so I thought I’d post this quiz instead. It seemed like a good match. I’m hoping it’s right and it’s just a “sometimes” thing… if it’s insomnia I’m going to go crazy.

What about you? Do you get enough sleep? Any tips? I’ll take anything I can get. πŸ˜‰