birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

I  Don't Dream I Sleep

I don't dream much. Hardly at all. And I barely remember the ones I do have. I don't recall the last time I dreamed... dreamt... had a dream. I know they happen every now and then, and I have memories of remembering dreams, if that makes any sense.

I suppose I'm lucky generally when it comes to sleep. I can sleep just about anywhere, any time, and I don't need much. Last night, I only got about five hours, and I'm functioning fine. When I was a civilian working in Baghdad, I got about four hours a night for the better part of two years; I had to work a regular day, then work on my home office's schedule until 3 a.m. I occasionally made plans to nap during the day, or cut back on one set of hours or another, but I never really needed to. During most of that time, I slept with the light in my room on, because the switch was out in the hall and I didn't feel like getting ready for bed and then leaving my room. It was easier to just close my eyes, I guess.

When I was in seventh grade, I slept through a plane crash. I wasn't *in* the plane, of course, but it hit the ground, bounced, hit the ground again, and exploded less than a mile from my house. It woke up everyone in my neighborhood. Except me. I woke up at the regular time, went downstairs, and was surprised to see my parents already up. They were surprised to realize that I hadn't woken up *at all*. So was everyone else in my class.

When I was in college, I regularly drove between school in Los Angeles and my parents' house in Phoenix. On occasion, I would drive it overnight so as not to "lose" any useful time. Once, I woke up on the side of the road, car off, keys in the passenger seat, with no memory of pulling over at all. Based on when I'd left and where I was, I'd been stopped for two hours. I didn't remember at least three.

So sleep and I have always been good friends. I figure that's why I don't dream much -- I'm too asleep to bother, or so asleep that I shed my dreams before I wake up.

My daughters are pretty sleepy too. Except that the nearly-two-year-old just woke up after less than half an hour, so I'm going to work through the last four minutes and then go get her, if she isn't back to sleep by then. We have a nice little ritual: we put her stuffed animals to bed (Cuddle Kitty, with two blankets to make sure her feet are covered; Cuddle Piggie, with one blanket; Froggy Blanky, who gets no blankets because she is a blanky; one of the two not-identical-but-not-distinguishable Lambys, with one blanket), and despite insisting beforehand that she is *not* ready for night-night, she almost always then throws herself toward the crib in her "Oh, okay, I guess it's time for bed" move. Her sister (nearly a teenager) has been known to sleep-breakfast, especially when she's studying hard. She'll get out of bed, eat, go back to bed, wake up, shower, and insist that she hasn't had breakfast. She also insists that never happens.

 Double Down

Keeping awake