I have not had a good night’s rest in two weeks. Having room mates is not helping, you would not believe how many times you think you have to go to the bathroom until you fear you will wake the entire house with the flush of a toilet. Or how hungry you can get when you can’t raid the refrigerator at midnight because you are bound to drop a gallon of milk in the dark.
Then there are the odd sounds. When I did an artist residency in South Carolina it was the humidity and swamp critters sounding more like Amazonia than The Low Country that kept me awake. When in Mesa Verde National Park it was hooting owls and howling coyotes. At Agate Fossil Beds more coyotes and visions of rattlesnakes dancing in my head.
There is something about travel and a new environment that really stimulates creativity. The real reason I can’t get to sleep is that I am up all night processing the events of the day and designing new projects in my head. I have taken to writing them down, so I have an idea list that keeps me working for months when I get home. I actually came up with the idea for this blog last night about 2:00 AM after three trips to the bathroom, reading the first 100 pages of My Antonia, writing in my journal and checking out my Nebraska gazetteer for interesting local points of interest. You would think I would be exhausted, but no, it is my 20 something room mates who are perpetually worn out.
Anyway, I am grateful for the influx of new ideas that travel provides. That is actually the point of these residencies, and the loss of a little sleep is a small price to pay. There will be plenty of time to sleep when I get home, not to mention the luxury of using the lavatory at will.