It all started when I wouldn’t get up
on Sunday mornings to go to church. I was an energetic, nervous baby
dyke, and I simply could not sit still that long with nothing to
engage me. And the old guy up front was talking Latin, for pete’s
sake. So, over some of my most formative years, say 10 through 13, I
got in the habit of staying in bed really late on Sunday mornings
until my mother finally gave up trying to unearth me.
Sleeping late on Sundays led to the
complete and utter pleasure of staying up really late on Saturday
nights. That became my time. Listening to the alternative radio
station, watching horror movies on the $15.00 used console TV and, by
high school, writing love poetry to my girlfriend and my crushes.
It didn’t take long before I was
staying up Friday nights and as many other nights as I could get away
with. That usually depended on when my mother got up to wake my
father in his recliner, turn off the TV and make sure he went to bed.
Then she’d sleep a couple more hours before discovering my light
was still on. The poor woman. Riding herd on her Lynches was an
unwinnable battle. I remember her warning me, “You’ll read your
So here I am all grown up - or so I'm
told. My night still doesn't end until three or four in the morning.
For most of these years I've fought myself, acting as my own
insomniac mother and ordering myself to bed, then not complying.
Mornings I was wont to beat myself up for starting work so late yet
again and I'd tell myself I’d go to sleep earlier that very night,
only to be lured by the sirens of stillness and solitude into another
rendezvous with an absorbing book or a project I wanted to finish.
So sue me: nights are when my inner owl
awakens and challenges my intellect. I get ideas then and work out
knotty writing quandaries. I dream then, of what I might achieve
given leisure and a long enough life. I read my eyes out. I delight
at the 3:00 A.M. madness of the cats and try to quiet them so they
don't wake my wife, sleeping all lonesome in the next room.
But there I go, beating myself up
again. My sweetheart doesn't. I fear creating a rift in our
relationship by abandoning her to the night, when in fact she is the
one with enough insight to recognize and accept - and still love -
this night-fired insomniac. Just make sure you sleep long enough to
get at least seven hours, she urges. What a simple revelation: be who
I work on west coast time so I don’t
have to be at my desk and my job till noon. Why not answer the call
of my nature, she reasons. When I force myself toward early sleep, I
come wide awake next to her, wriggling and itchy and grabbing index
cards or the iPod to jot notes. The early hours of the morning, the
rich dark of deep night, fan the fires in me. Their light flares and
I’m up again, much to the cats' delight.
It's taken most of a lifetime and a
perfect match to understand this quirk of mine. My wife is teaching
me what love really is as she embraces this flawed being. She’s
teaching me that flaws are not flaws: they are what make us ourselves
when we're not trying to conform to someone else’s agenda of
normal. What makes me this way? I don't know the answer any more than
I know why I'm gay or how I came to be able to put pretty words on a
page or how my wife got so wise and understanding.
With August's wilding of England;
America’s confusion between religion and power, people and
corporations; with people drunk on hate of gays and colors; with the
abandonment of wildlife to bulldozing developers - how I wish my
sweetheart had a counterpart who could marry the world and steer it,
also, to simply love all its parts and stop trying to quash the
differences among living things that make this earth whole in its
[Editor's Note: Lee Lynch is the author
of over 12 books. Her latest, Beggar
of Love, was called “Lee
Lynch's richest and most candid portrayals of lesbian life” by
Katherine V. Forrest. You can reach Lynch at
Copyright 2011 Lee Lynch