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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

On purpose, or not.

The times I have been up all night fall into two categories.

There have been times when I stayed up all night on purpose. When I was in college I stayed up to participate in a 24-hour trivia contest on the campus radio station.

Once I spent 24 hours at work. I went in at 7:00 AM and left at 7:00 AM the next morning.

I have also stayed up almost all night to get ready for a big party I was putting together.

When I decide to stay up I prepare by caffeinating myself pretty well. I have a reason, so I plan what I will do during the course of the night. I might try to nap the day before and the day after.

I think it is the goals I have, the tasks I have to complete, which keep me going. There may be times when I get a little fuzzy about details, and may not make the best spontaneous decisions. My math skills are not necessarily at their best when I have not slept.

Once I get to certain point in the night my persistence, and stubbornness, kick in and keep me going until morning. If I get everything done early, I try to sleep, but do not really feel like I catch up very well.

The other times I have stayed up all night have not been voluntary or planned. When I am struggling with a decision or accepting a situation I have a difficult time getting to sleep. I lie in bed, tossing around, trying to find a position in which I am comfortable enough to fall asleep. Some times I will get up and watch television or do some work.

The one thing I want to do is fall asleep, and I am keeping myself from doing that. I understand I am not helping myself, but there is not much I can do about it. I get frustrated that I cannot sleep, which makes me more anxious.

Feeling frustrated and anxious tends to make me angry, so I try to focus even more, which often makes it more difficult to relax. Interruptions or last-minute demands just make things worse, especially since I am not doing my best work anyway.

The nights seem to last forever, and the following days feel longer, as well.

A few years ago I realized the one variable I could control was caffeine. I stopped drinking almost all the coffee I was drinking, for the most part, and cleared the caffeine out of my system. I have been sleeping, and feeling, better since then, though the things I cannot control still build up inside me.


An Invitation to Just 'Be'