Scattered gray matter, for instance …

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Think about the random, disconnected thoughts that occupy the gray matter of your brain, that soft underbelly in your mind which often becomes vulnerable at 3 a.m.

While midnight is commonly known as the witching hour, did you know that 3 a.m. is the most common time of death?

 3 a.m. is also thought to be the time when demons and spirits rise and come to haunt. Boo !!

It was the hour my father rose to go to work. How dandy is it to have a dad, who makes candy? He had to be the first one in the candy factory to fire up the sugar boiler. Of course, this made it hard for his three kids to have conversations, listen to radio or watch television after 8 p.m.

This I attribute with my voracious appetite for reading late into the night. It was a quiet activity and who bothers someone with their head in a book? Especially if the head is hidden under the sheet with a flashlight. 

Or 3 a.m. could be a love story:

 Three o’clock in the morning was the hour my father escorted my mother and my maternal grandmother home from their first chaperoned date.

They sang the song to each other. Often waltzed around the kitchen. My mother could be heard humming it while folding laundry or stirring a pot. It’s the song they heard that night … the night they knew they would spent the rest of their lives together.

It’s three o’clock in the morning.
We danced the whole night through.
And daylight soon will be dawning.
Just one more Waltz with you.
(Lyrics here)

Purchase here 

It’s 3 a.m. and I wanna go to bed:

From childhood, I have been a night owl. Unable to sleep during normal hours. Incapable of surrendering to slumber, I revel in the witching hours after midnight.

To this end, I have spent most of my adult life resisting a good night’s sleep … a relaxed eight hours for my health. I read through the night, played loud music, watched a series of reruns or old black and white movies, or a string of infomercials on how to start your own “widget” business and become a millionnaire in twelve easy lessons for the unheard of low price of $299.

It’s 3 a.m. and i wanna go to bed … I got a lady runnin’ through my head … Ran out of money, looking for a night shift. Night Shift Lyrics

Purchase or view here

I spent the night impatient for the first light of dawn to wrap me in the safety of the sun. And like the anthesis of the vampire, slept like a baby as daylight tripped over my windowsill, peaceful at last.

And lastly … much of my scattered gray matter … too many of those random thoughts that refuse to leave my brain at this hour … often find their way into this venue. For example … twitter:

A hashtag:

On another evening seventy-two hours ago, I decided I wanted to create a hashtag on twitter. Me, the gal who is tweet-challenge … bird illiterate … and totally clueless.

Hashtags for Twitter

I asked myself … where are Brinda Berry and Laura Drake when I need them? Off creating wonderful twittering sounds of fantasy and cowboys? Certainly they would know the answer to my query.

I did a test run with four of my blog friends. And now I ask my readers … those of you who know what this social network thing of 140 characters is all about.

How can I send one tweet to all the other little birds who have haplessly followed me?

The hashtagBrooklynWrites

The purpose:     To find likened souls living in … or ex-pats of … Brooklyn … the fourth largest city in the United States. To find writers who might be interested in creating a 140 character dialogue I might have a slim chance of understanding.

 What scattered thoughts occupy your brain at 3 a.m.?

Did you parents have a special song?

And please for the love of all that is sacred … how the heck

does one create a hashtag and kick it out of its nest?

fOIS In The City


Filed under Random Thoughts

38 responses to “Scattered gray matter, for instance …

  1. Florence – you and I are night and day – literally. As you know, I rise at 3 am, and I’m one of the ones yelling for quiet at 8 pm! If someone calls the house at 8 pm, they either don’t know us, or someone died.

    Hashtags – They’re great, when universal. Like #writing or #editing. Not to say you couldn’t start one, but you have to have the like-minded followers, first.

    Let’s say you get a group of 20 or so Brooklyn Writers following you. You then could announce your new Hashtag, and y’all have a chat over there.

    Hang in there – the WF Twitter class is coming!


    • Laura, the tragedy for me is that beginning the middle of this month I have to get used to rising at 5 am to train for getting up at 3am so I can get to my once a week gig at a flea market. Cripes … why couldn’t I be born rich instead of gorgeous 🙂

      Yes, I’ll hang until the WF Twitter class !!


  2. Good morning, Florence! You’ve had all of six hours sleep if you’re reading this now. [If you’re still sleeping, turn over! You’re snoring!]

    I have been awake since about 4:30 a.m. — by choice. I was done sleeping. Laura beats me on the early riser clock, tho’.

    Hashtags. What Laura said. I know to use them for streams I follow, such as #WANA hashtags (ones associated with Kristen Lamb’s classes and followers), #MargieGrads (Margie Lawson graduates), even #morecowbell (Jenny Hansen).

    I don’t use them as effectively as I could to get the word out about blogs I follow. Examples include those Laura mentioned. If it’s a blog about editing, #editing would go into a stream of like-minded writers who follow that stream.

    Twitter and I are not yet best buds. I usually only use it to promo blogs I like. I don’t use it for chat/back-and-forth dialog. For twitter streams, I think you need to be on a service like HootSuite to search out specific interests in order to follow and comment on that stream.

    I’ll betcha’ there’s a #nightowl out there somewhere.


    • Gloria … I am so lame that I first called it a “hash mark” and had to go back and correct. Thanks for the links to #’s … I must admit I might be the last to learn … but when I do … I at least learn well.

      I am sure there is a #nightowl or few out there 🙂


  3. Did you see that an author replied and wanted to know more about #BrooklynWrites? I sent her to you! Also, if you want to just stick with Twitter, type #BrooklynWrites in the search box (upper right corner). You can then see all tweets with that hashtag after you start encouraging people to use it. I suggest you tweet something like, “Hi writers in Brooklyn, let’s chat. What R U writing? #BrooklynWrites .”


    • Brinda, you are the one and the only !! Thanks. I think I can pull it off if I can give myself so many hours a week of concentrated effort.

      I found #Brooklyn … so I begin to leave comments there and hopefully #BrooklynWrites will begin to catch on. Imagine the nonsense of me … who knows squat bout the venue … creating a hashtag? Well … stranger things happen in Brooklyn 🙂


  4. I don’t tweet but I like your idea. Maybe after the class I can start one for people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nice idea. Thank you.


  5. I like the hashtag BrooklynWrites. Mine is just a variant on my name. Twitter in my experience can be dealt with quickly, but it does require attention. Think of it as a very fast-flowing river into which you through twigs.


  6. christicorbett

    I too am a night owl and still dread mornings. My hubby is the opposite and is up with the birds each day at the gastly hour of 5am…on purpose! Because he enjoys mornings!

    I think with the hashtag I’ll go with the sage advice of that baseball movie–if you build it they will come.

    In other words, just start tweeting great stuff about Brooklyn and writing and more and more people will notice and join in.

    Christi Corbett


    • Christi … my ex-husband was a early bird … so I thought foolishly I had left that behind. No such luck. My son used to wake a 5 am every day and in the day when they didn’t have 24/7 he would sit and watch the channel marker. He also loved to talk to me while I slept 🙂

      I love the idea of “build it and they will come.” I will !!


  7. Since my brain functions best in the morning, I’m an early bird. Although there are nights I’m still up at 3:00. 🙂 I love your story about your parents. How sweet that their first date was chaperoned by your mom’s mom. And that your mom used to hum their song.

    Great hashtag advice from your other followers. I have nothing to add …


    • How did I know that you were an early bird, Sheila. I just think you are one of those who meets the sun like a flutter of clouds and a tweet of the birds. Me? I howl at the moon !!

      My parents had so many stories like that … one of these days I’ll incorporate the FIRST time my dad saw her 🙂


  8. Now I have 3 a.m. by Matchbox Twenty in my head. S’okay, ‘cuz I love that song.

    ‘Tis 11:37 a.m., and I raise a glass, er, tea mug, to #BrooklynWrites


  9. Into which you THROW twigs. Yeesh . . .


  10. I’m usually fast asleep at 3. am. 5 o’clock comes early. I suppose I’m dreaming but rarely remember my dreams. Sleeping in til 7 sometimes happens on the weekend. Wow! That sounds so dull. 🙂


    • Thanks, Laura … no it is not dull … it is our internal clocks. As I told Laura Drake … because I will start up my old flea market bizz soon, I have to train myself to switch to daylight. At least one day a week I must be UP at 3 a.m. and at least six weeks before I must get up no later than 5 a.m. This old body will rebel but she will rise and shine … with or without the sun 🙂


  11. vicki batman

    Hi, FOIS, and congratulations on venturing into Twitter. It’s not so bad and if I can, you can too.

    I wish I could stay up and read all night, but — sigh — my eyes won’t let me. 🙂


    • So true, Vicki … I have resisted Twitter for long enough … time to shake out the cobwebs from my brain and get the job done !!

      Soon … these old eyes must adjust to a new clock … I’ll let you know how I do walking around the world half blind 🙂


  12. LOL, hastags are a mystery to me as well so thanks for asking! And you seriously don’t want to know what occupies my brain at 3am. I have those really weird dreams all the time where my brain takes all that’s happened in the day and throws it all together, trying to make sense of everything so it makes no sense at all!


    • Jamie … it’s hard for day people to understand … but I truly believe their is a bio-chemical reaction that night people get that activates some “weird” brain cells … thus the scattered gray matter. I stopped fighting or questioning it a long time ago … and making sense of odd ramblings is something we can’t make sense of … it’s what makes us writers 🙂


  13. My parents song – Yellow Bird – and now it’s going round and round in my head. I love hash tags as they hook me up with other TBI individuals, mental health advocates, available government contracts I might be interested in, and a host of other issues I follow on a regular basis. I also use Twitter to promote my blog 1 time each and to promote the blogs of individuals in my Tribe and other blogs when I find really great ones–like yours. I make my own hours–thus I’m normally awake from 10:30 a.m. or so and go to bed around 5 or 6 a.m. – – we play it by ear (as they say) at our house. What’s the use of having worked all those years if not for getting to do it our way now. I do believe rambling happens with being up in the middle of the night – like now!


    • I agree, Sheri … we paid the cost to be our own boss. And if the boss wants to stay the night … I let her. When the real world imposes, I plan short naps and still stay the night.

      I’ll get more comfortable with Twitter as I learn … and then it might come as naturally as this venue. Have strange thoughts … ramble a bit? Turn it into a plot. What good are quirks if we can’t make them work for us 🙂


  14. Rosemary DiBattista

    Hey Florence, Just wanted  to say how much I adored your “where I’m from” post–brought tears and laughter. I keep wanting to comment but WordPress hates me.

     Do you have any idea what “password” it wants? I tried my email password as well as my own WordPress password and had no luck. Maybe I’ll try accessing your site through a different broswer.   In any case, am swamped with back to school stuff at the moment. (Do you hear that gurgling? That’s me with the waterline right up to my eyeballs.) Have only one chapter left to write on my mystery and itching to get back to it. Damn this day job!   Take care and let me know how your own work is going. Rosemary  


    • Thanks so much, Rosemary. I appreciate your kind words regarding “Where I’m From.” It was a natural for me to string those thoughts together and capture the tenor of those days.

      Sorry about WP … wrote you a private email. I’ll try to write to them and see what I can do.

      I forgot that while some mothers are preparing for their kids to return to school, you have double duty, returning to your teaching job. I admire your determination. Day jobs have their draw backs … but then so does retirement 🙂 Keep writing those chapters … I can’t wait to read your work !!


  15. Gee, someone should write a book about growing up in Brooklyn with an interesting family and a father who makes candy.

    Myself? I’m a reformed night owl.


  16. Florence,

    I’m so illiterate with Twitter I don’t understand even the basics. The WF class scares me to death. Because I know I’ll be totally confused. I need a twenty something brain in this decrepit body.

    My parents favorite song was String of Pearls. Dad gave Mom lovely pearls as a wedding gift. The brides in the family since have worn them.

    Hashtag? Does that have anything to do with corned beef?


    • Oh yes, Casey … for me twitter is one great big pot of “hash.” Who the heck knows that this “vintage” brain might one day actually understand the stuff 🙂

      The String of Pearls is divine and what a great legacy for all the young brides in your family.


  17. Florence,
    I’m also a night owl. I remember reading under the covers at night as a teenager. My hubby worked an overnight shift for 17 years and it suited me fine. I stayed up and read, sewed, cleaned house–whatever caught my attention. Hubby fed the kids and got them off to school when he got home, then he came to bed. Worked until we started homeschooling. Then all the kids had to be asleep or quiet until 9am. How hubby worked all night I’ll never know because he’s an early bird by nature. He still doesn’t really get the night owl thing, but I too am most productive after 11 pm. Even if I’m up I don’t really “wake up” til 3pm.

    Can’t help with the hashtag thing. I’m still resisting Twitter. Have never played Angry Birds either.


  18. 3a is magical . . . hadn’t thought of it before . . . just categorizing moments in life that began/ended/happened at that time . . .. This may require a bottle of wine.


  19. Wow, I can’t do hashtags. Way to go. As for 3am, I’d never think straight enough to work on my writing.


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