Bobby Lewis (up all night in 1961) once crooned: “I couldn’t sleep at all last night, just a’ thinkin’ of you. Aw, baby things weren’t right. So I was – tossin’ and turnin’, turnin’ and tossin’ – tossin’ and turnin’ all night!”  Soon thereafter, he kicked the blankets on the floor and heard the milkman at the door. Ouch! Insomnia, folks – writ large, and vividly exposed.

As I’ve aged (some say quite gracefully), I’m often up all night, tossin’ and turnin’ with insomnia as well. An affliction common to those of us struggling with a hearing issue known as tinnitus. A ringing in the ears resulting from of a lifetime of exposure to loud noises of all manner and origin. Mine from listening to Jimi Hendrix at full volume, in photographic darkrooms for too many years. Consequently, I wear hearing aids, but they only serve to mask the continuous buzzing. Therapists suggest inducing sleep by listening to soothing sounds. Classical music, or recorded trickling sounds of water in a babbling brook. At my age, I get up to pee often enough not to require ancillary trickling sounds – enough already.

On the more positive side (that editors and readers much rather prefer), being up all night staring at the ceiling seems to incite my imagination! Rather than lying there thinking, “I’m gonna die!” it’s “I’ve gotta idea!” Indeed, this Meetinghouse essay was born ’round midnight. Like many scribes, I keep a notepad on the night table for numerous nocturnal notions. I often wonder if Stephen King writes in the dark …  Springsteen danced in it. Mr. King’s writing is (brilliant but) dark and scary – skirting on nightmare experiences. But hey – it certainly sells come the light of day, huh?

Regardless, being up all night in the dark need not be where only bad things happen. After all, the chances favor you and I having been conceived at night. And not on a notepad (in spite of our both being great ideas!) After all, many great romantic songs were no doubt written at night, and about night. No way Cole Porter wrote “In the Still of the Night” after breakfast. Night is the time for fun! The Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” wouldn’t have the same disco-crispo if it were a lazy “Afternoon Fever.” Roy Orbison fantasized “In Dreams” – one of my all-time favorites. If you’re unfamiliar with “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” as performed by Joe Brown in the Concert for George (Harrison) … Google it on YouTube. You’ll thank me later. But you needn’t, at all.

Chances are you’re reading this on a beautiful summer morning. I hope you slept well, and this offering was as entertaining as it might have been helpful.

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