For some reason lately I have been thinking about the possibility of being a member of a book club, or reading group. I recently read a blog by Katherine Bouton about belonging to a book club wth significant hearing loss. Like a moth drawn to the flame, I began to wonder if that would be a fun thing to do. It now occurs to me that this would be an excellent problem to take to a therapist.

What is immediately apparent is that I have never belonged to any kind of reading group. Why then now? The best answer I can come up with so far is some kind of chemical imbalance in my brain.

The first thing I did was to go find a list – there is always a list – of reading groups/meet-ups throughout the world and there are thousands. Literally thousands! There is a book club, meet-up, reading group to fit any interest, sexual orientation or personality disorder.

There are groups for women, men, LGBT, black lesbians and so on. There are a lot of meet-ups and groups that posed no restrictions regarding make-up. Should I choose to align with one of these groups I’d prefer more of a diverse rather than a mono-cultural experience. But, I already know what I am going to do. More exactly, I know what I am not going to do.

It was a good idea, but one fraught with built-in difficulties considering my problem with hearing in groups. I know what that’s all about: a longing for the normal experience. I can not help thinking that anyone experiencing any degree of any disability knows this feeling. You keep thinking you can do everything and at the same time knowing you must choose wisely or be constantly disappointed. It’s called being in charge. Not a bad place to be.

It’s midnight or more in the woods, and my mind is waking up. Sleep, I say, while darkness holds the world at bay and at least outside my window quietness reigns. What is it about the midnight hour? What is it about this wondrous hour that should knock me out cold but rather starts a racetrack of information zooming back and forth through my tired mind, waking bizarre demons and scary scenarios too hard for daylight consideration? What is it?

For hours I have been nodding off and yearning for that appropriate time to lay down and let sleep overwhelm me for the day and then the “big eye” descends and I am nowhere near the sleep that I long to have. I sometimes feel that I can read this wonderful mystery until sunup, or scribble such nonsense as this until words simply fail to form in my mind.

I remember in my college days reading about mystics and philosophers who seemed to thrive in that midnight hour with tapers burning low – how they reported such clarity of thought that seemed impossible to summon in the light of day. I used to think that perhaps working at this strange time of night would produce my best work, that inspiration would, as it had reportedly done for others, lead me to deep insights or at least the grasping of some ancient philosophic principle that I would be able to write about on tomorrow’s quiz.

Alas, what I remember best as a benefit of studying or working in the small hours were the unavoidable consequences of sleep deprivation. In that regard, nothing has changed over the years, except that I don’t resist it anymore.

I’ll begin a new story tonight. It seems promising. God, I love a mystery. I could reconsider the meaning of life, or ponder a question I have always been fond of: Is there a tangible existence in the afterlife? Will there be golden streets and jeweled gardens or if anything at all, just earth, wind and fire? . . . Mercy, but it’s late!