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Kelly Cheek
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In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

If you’re into music, chances are you’ve noticed that the blog post titles I’ve used have all been either song titles or lines of lyrics. That’s because I’m into music – REALLY into music. So I usually have a song going through my head.

And it doesn’t take much to put one there. If somebody says a phrase that was used in a song, then there’s no avoiding it, that song will be in my head. But that’s too easy. For me, a slightly similar phrase would do it, or even a phrase which contained none of the words, but had a rhythm that was similar to a line in a song.

So, as I said, there’s usually a tune swirling around in my noggin. As I write this, for instance, my wife is teaching an online music lesson downstairs. I can’t hear in detail up the stairs and through the closed door of my office, but filtered as the sound is, she just sang a phrase that reminded me in some way of the seventh movement of the Suite for Variety Orchestra (the waltz movement) by Dmitri Shostokovich. Guess what’s on a continuous loop in my head now. At least until the next obscure reminder.

And yes, while I love lots of classic rock, pop and jazz music, I also love classical, perhaps even more than these other styles. But I can’t for the life of me imagine the subject of a blog post in which “Suite for Variety Orchestra, seventh movement, by Dmitri Shostokovich” would make sense as a title. So I guess the pop titles will continue.

One of the hardest times for the earworm thing to happen, especially if what’s playing in my head is a song I don’t like, is in the wee small hours of the morning, when I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. I say this is one of the hardest times because there’s little going on then to remind me of something else, to get the annoying song out of my head and replace it with something else.

And I don’t always know where these earworms come from, either. One time, I woke up with a show tune that I literally hadn’t heard in decades and had never cared for, from an old musical that I had never seen.

Now, while I usually have a song in my head, that’s not always the case, at least not in those early morning hours. Occasionally, I’ll have dialogue or some other part of a scene that I’ve been working on in my latest novel. I’ve actually worked out problems with a scene or conversation in this way. I’ll be thinking about the issue as I fall asleep at night, and wake up the next morning knowing what to do.

Other times, I might be thinking about what I’ll write for my blog. Since I started writing this post yesterday and didn’t finish it, I woke up this morning thinking about what I had written, and what I had yet to write. And now I have Suite for Variety Orchestra, seventh movement, by Dmitri Shostokovich going through my head. (It’s a good thing I like it!)

This early morning thing is becoming more of an issue for me, though. I go to bed strung out on melatonin, which may or may not work. Since I get up so early, I usually get, at most, six hours of sleep a night, often less. Linda’s concerned, too. She drew my attention to an article recently about the links between heart attacks and lack of sleep.

The weekends are the only time I’m able to approach a normal amount of sleep, usually seven hours, or occasionally up to nine. It’s amazing how I’m able to actually sleep like a relatively normal person when I don’t have unpleasantness in my head.

So, my conclusion is that this job thing is really getting in the way of my enjoying my life. I’m going to have to find some shortcuts in this journey of mine if I’m going to live long enough to retire in Europe. And I don’t want to have to spend all my time in our new exotic home sleeping, trying to catch up on the last few decades.

Waking up with some obscure Portuguese show tune stuck in my head.