‘Inside the Mind of a Sleep-Deprived Creative’ by Emma Arthurs

Suffering from writer’s block? Try staying awake for two days. Student Emma Arthurs has written a monologue during a sleep-deprived period where she tried to stay awake to get enough material to write something interesting and ended up with the experience itself being the most interesting and notable part.

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Beneath the surface chaos lies, carefully organized into fits and bursts to spring free when urged. Three-day-old make-up painted fresh in mornings. Cloth to face and claw it off. Remnants of Halloween remain and these marks were horror, manufactured. Black eyes give way to – black eyes. I have no more excuses. Feel the pull of blankets as it nears the 40 hour mark and with shaking hands and shaking breaths I refuse. Crusts of bread lie beside, untouched by teeth but torn apart by fingers. Stomach turns and twists as images do and painted smiles float on walls out of reach of prying eyes. Tears and disgust crawl over cheeks and even though only from exertion I can feel the anger rising. Body weight against window that opens a crack, nose to sill and breathe in outside. Resting heads mean danger and I spin in two directions, away. Only hours ago things were coherent; conversations held, laughter shared. It is not just eyes that play tricks, to feel ants crawl across skin and scratch, scratch, scratch. Feel them, not see them, and act out still. Faces flash on skin and distant piano joins in as the door frame speaks. One million voices merge to whole and two years ago, two weeks from now, I say goodbye. I can feel my blood. It clings, sluggish. Heart races brain, slower still than lungs. You asked me to write you. Little know how close words scrawled across pages are to mind. I do not take time to filter but skip on from nagging edges, and over. Only in these do you know me. I am myself. Human if human is what this is with endless time to outsmart sleep. Convince self in waking to know for sure in dreams. Avoid dreams for fear of feeling. Escape from what? From world. I know not where I am.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, dead.

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