One month ago today, my wife and I had a baby girl. Yes. You read that right. Of course, Tia did the hard part. Mostly, I just stood around and looked amazed. I’ve been doing that for about four weeks now. It’s getting to be a habit.
Because Neve Rose is amazing. Truly. Definitely. Just take a look at that little gal. And while I’m at it, we’re pronouncing her name “Neeve.” We stole it from the Irish, but we're not spelling it their way. I don’t think I could remember how to spell “Niamh”…especially in my sleep-deprived condition.
I’m getting used to that, too. Sleep-deprivation, I mean. Thanks to the Great State of California and a bucketful of sick leave and vacation time, I’m on paternity leave. This means I have extra time to learn how to function without sleep. Makes for some odd moments, too. Like yesterday. Around 6 a.m., I was in my office giving the kidlet her morning bottle while mom caught some uninterrupted shuteye. Suddenly, I thought: Man, I’d better water the Christmas Tree. I haven’t done that in a while.
Of course, there was no Christmas tree in the living room. No incidents of time-displacement going on while I wasn’t paying attention. I was pleased to discover that my life hadn’t turned into the a Twilight Zone episode where I’d be reliving two of the more stressful months of my life. Because Rod Serling wasn’t out there stringing lights and hanging garlands by the fireplace. If he had been, I probably would have fixed him up with some eggnog, told him to watch the baby, and gone back to bed.
That’s what lack of sleep does to you. I remember reading an interview with a writer who discussed sleep-deprivation as a creative tool. Can’t remember who it was, but the guy was recalling his days as a new dad. He’d put the baby down after her morning feeding, then get to work. Half-asleep. Awake, but lingering in dreamtime. And it was his opinion that (creatively speaking) this condition worked for him—fingers rattling the keyboard, he found that he was moving in his fiction the same way he’d move in a dream.
Me? I think I know what the guy meant, because that’s the way it’s been working for me. To tell the truth, I really didn’t expect to get much writing done in February or March. All I wanted to do was clean up my office, then get through the page proofs for Lesser Demons and another book project that’s slated for publication later this year. Maybe catch up on the emails that have lingered in my inbox for embarrassing amounts of time. But the truth is that I’ve been doing all right. Here I am, close to typing “The End” on a new novella and a new short story…with a kidlet on my lap who’s been sweet enough not to put up too much of a fuss while her dad’s been at it.
Hey, even half-asleep, that feels pretty good…and as long as those stories don’t turn into phantom Christmas trees next time I try to open the files, I’ll be doing just fine.