SOLC Day 20: Insomnia


March 2020 SOLC–Day 20
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

Yesterday, I read a post about dealing with interrupted sleep in these trying times. I  deeply sympathized with the writer, as I’ve had plenty of experience with middle-of-the-night wakefulness. Incredibly, I’ve been sleeping well lately, and I’ve been very grateful for that… that is, until last night. Is insomnia catching?

At any rate, when I can’t sleep at night and my mind is whirling, I tend to write acrostic poems, entitled Insomnia. It’s a good distraction from less welcome thoughts, and usually lulls me back to sleep. (Not a ringing endorsement for my poetry, but quite welcome in the wee hours!) Typically, as I fall asleep, the poems fade away into darkness. Sometimes they stick around and I revisit them in the morning. They all have the same catchy title (I’m not particularly clever with titles at the best of times!), and I’m sad to say that I’ve already amassed quite a collection.

Last night this go-to strategy wasn’t working as well as usual. My mind was ramping up, not winding down. Finally, I grabbed a pen and note book. In the glow of my bedside clock, I scribbled the lines down. After that, I read for a while (under the covers with a book light so I didn’t disturb my husband) and finally, I fell back asleep.

This morning, I was quite interested to read what I’d written last night.

90562355_1586168964840535_787034516265893888_nThe first thing I noticed when I opened the notebook is that I need a new bedside pen. Then, I realized I’d omitted the second “I” in insomnia. Oops. That wasn’t the only spelling error either, though it was the most egregious one. Also, along with my spelling, my handwriting deteriorated as I moved down the page. It was practically illegible at the end.

I revised the acrostic  a bit this morning and here it is. Hopefully it’s the last one I write for a while!


In the pulsing darkness
Night creatures stir
Sounds, once invisible, leap into prominence
Once-vivid colors mute to grey sliding shadows
My scattered thoughts rumble ominously
Not heeding my call to stand down
Instead they amass, assemble in force, and

©Molly Hogan, 2020

Wishing you peaceful nights of sleep!

27 thoughts on “SOLC Day 20: Insomnia

  1. margaretsmn says:

    I sympathize with your insomnia. I’ve been taking melatonin and it seems to help. Scattered thoughts do rumble ominously and refuse the call to go away. You seem to be more creative at these times of night. So at least there’s that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adrienne says:

    I woke up and started thinking about new passwords. I am changing my school password tomorrow and it now needs to be 15 characters long! I wrote all my ideas down so I can use them the next time I have to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debbie Lynn says:

    I have lots of ideas when I lie awake at night but have never taken the step to turn on the light and write things down for fear I’ll wake up even more. Perhaps writing would clear the mind and I’d fall back to sleep faster. I may try it next time. 🙂 Neat acrostic poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amanda Potts says:

    This is a brilliant solution for insomnia. And, while it wasn’t intentional, I love the way your pen fades out and your spelling falls apart as you write – what perfect metaphors. I know you revised, but I’m glad you shared the original, too. In the revised version, I like the way sounds gain prominence as vision mutes and how thoughts, personified, attack. That sounds so familiar! Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dianeandlynne says:

    I usually get out of bed and read for a while, but I like your strategy. I’m afraid if I start writing, though, I will be awake all night. Glad it works for you and I love the acrostic.– the pulsing darkness, the colors muting, the Attack at the end. Hope you don’t need to write another one for a while though. We need our sleep!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I don’t usually write the words down, but I was more awake than usual last night. I should try just getting up to read instead of reading under the covers. There’s a lot more dignity to that approach.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your creativity. So as not to wake Hannah, I listen to a podcast. Soon my mind wanders, which is the signal to turn it off and return to sleep. Not fool proof, but it works for me. I slept so much better once I retired from teaching. Many of us teachers care deeply and hence the ruminations. I know that is not much solace to a spry 50 year old, do I have that correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m not sure it’s creativity as much as it’s desperation! I don’t think Kurt would be keen on your podcast idea–how does that not wake Hannah?! (And I’m 53 –though my neck and incipient jowls as seen in my recent video attempts to students suggest otherwise!)


  7. terierrol says:

    I love your poem. You captured the mood of insomnia exactly. I usually just fret and toss when I can’t sleep. I may try composing some lines next time. Thanks for the inspsiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It really helps me to have something to focus on and luckily, insomnia is a fairly long word. I’m hopeful that I’ll build such a strong association that eventually as soon as I start mentally composing an acrostic, I’ll be trained to fall asleep. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. O Molly – so many thanks for your sharing the middle of night poem. And as much as I do like the imagery, I hope the next acrostic might be “Noon Sun” or “Afternoon Tea” . I especially am pulled to the alteration of the last line! You brilliant to be able to pull that off in sleepless struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kd0602 says:

    I seldom experience insomnia–only during periods of extreme stress (but not this week so far)–but live with someone who does. I love that you have a strategy for those wakeful times, and it seconds as a creative outlet! Love that you were able to capture that poem–and share it with us! May you sleep well tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Janet F. says:

    Wishing you better night’s sleep but what is good is that you can create a poem in the middle of the night sort of half-asleep. I love the last part with attacking thoughts about those night creatures who invade us and hopefully it is not a regular occurrence. I do sleep well most nights and feel awful for those who are true insomniacs. I don’t know how they function if it is constant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I suppose a silver lining to this situation is that interrupted sleep doesn’t pose such challenges the next day. Naps are a definite possibility these days.


  11. Gail Aldous says:

    Molly, I feel for you and have been there. I have depression and anxiety, and unfortunately I need to take medication to help me sleep. Have you ever tried relaxation music or relaxing each muscle? One of my daughters went through a period of time when she had to listen to whale music every night to fall asleep. My other daughter sometimes takes melatonin, as Margaret mentioned. You certainly are creative in the middle of the night, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I have done the progressive muscle relaxation thing and that has worked well in the past. I’d sort of forgotten about it, so thanks for reminding me! My adult daughter recommends listening to audio versions of beloved books–her go to is Harry Potter. I’m not a fan of ear buds though, and suspect any audible strategies would sorely irritate my husband.


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