Insomnia: a storm & a silver lining…


It’s true, what I’ve been telling you here over the past two days:  Insomnia is hard.  And it’s dark.

But also, it’s beautiful… and to stay silent about that would be the worst kind of ingratitude.

I know…  I know.  It sounds crazy to say that there could be something magical about night terrors and hypnopompic hallucinations.  Long lonely hours awake in the dark.  But the truth is, some of my most interesting creative ideas surfaced out of the watery margin between the conscious and the subconscious, when I was lying suspended in insomnia’s strange ether of almost-sleep.

I love how surrealist photographer Jenna Martin describes to the way insomnia blurs the line between sleeping and waking, and the way it informs her work:

“I’m a complete insomniac; it’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life.  I go days at a time without sleeping … And when that happens, reality becomes a bit warped.  You know you’re there but you aren’t really present… When it gets really bad, the line begins to blur and I have a hard time figuring out whether I’m sleeping or awake … or if I’m dreaming while I’m awake.  It’s very hard to explain … These aren’t pictures of my dreams when I’m sleeping, but instead pictures of how I view reality when everything starts blending together.”

(Sidenote:  if you’re interested in Jenna’s insomnia-inspired photography, you can check out her blog here.)

It was during a particularly terrible bout with sleeplessness that I began experimenting with camera movement to capture that blurred sense of reality Jenna describes.  

I discovered the trick almost by accident — during a photo walk, my hands shook so badly that the images dragged, no matter how I tried to hold the camera steady.  I decided to intentionally embrace the camera movement, since it seemed like an honest expression of how I felt at the time, and some of my favorite photographs were the result:



I’m not sure what to make of all this, except to say that sometimes, our dark fearful places are really just invitations into creativity and innovation.

And whether you’re sleepless or dreaming peacefully tonight, I hope you’ll imagine your way into a little creative magic of your own. ❀



  1. The way you’ve embraced insomnia and the way your words exude positivity about it..beautiful. I especially like the blurred shots highlighting mobility. You’ve done justice to the emotion you must’ve felt while capturing the shots. Lovely. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so very glad to hear that. It honestly *is* positive, although of course it can be negative, too.

      I think so much of life is like that, yes? πŸ™‚ And it’s up to us to find and make the beauty out of the blur.

      Thank you for your kind encouragement this morning. Hope you’re well! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of the techniques great artists like Salvador Dali used to do to get inspiration. πŸ™‚ Do you know about this? They would wake up on purpose right after they entered in the state where you are just beginning to dream but are still conscious. So they would paint inspired by the visions they just had!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always been so fascinated by the surrealists like Dali, and I don’t think you can view their work *without* thinking about dreams. So fascinating …

      Sometime I should compile a list of links to artists whose work was dream-inspired. There is so much there …

      Thank you for reminding me of this. Now I want to explore a little again!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathe! I’m glad. There is a lot to appreciate in all kinds of difficult circumstances, and this is one. Grateful for the creative fodder and for perhaps a different way of seeing the world.

      Thank you for reading! πŸ™‚


  3. Your photographs are beautiful, and I love the way you can see the blurring of the images and appreciate the way your insomnia creates a blurry indistinction between light and darkness, beauty and suffering. It reminds me of the topic of a group discussion once when I was in partial. We were asked to identify the gifts that our eating disorders gave us. If given the option, I can’t say that I would elect to *not* struggle with an eating disorder and with depression. Not only do those parts of me make me who I am, I honestly believe that I am a more sensitive, compassionate, grateful, and joyful person because of them. Thank you for reminding me to look with gratitude at the little demons that I so often tend to oversimplify.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely thing to say … And I really do understand just what you mean. I think my journey through anorexia has made me a more compassionate and gentle person, too, even if it was a tremendously difficult road through recovery. Isn’t it amazing, how even the darkest seasons can mold and shape us for good, if we let them? ❀

      And yes, I do love those blurred lines. πŸ™‚ Probably always will.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting!! Glad you’re still around! πŸ™‚

      When I try to click on your site from the comment notifications, it says there’s nothing there … So weird! Maybe just a temporary glitch in the WP system …


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