Late Night Reading

Light Night Reading Book Drink Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Books” today, I opted for a single book and glass with late night shadows. I’ve always loved reading, and used to stay up until the wee hours of the morning just to finish a book. I couldn’t stand going to sleep without knowing what happened next in the story. These days, I actually read on my Kindle most of the time and I’m usually asleep within about 30 minutes. This is no fault of the book or the author who worked hard to spin a wonderful tale, but instead just a side effect of age. I get a touch sleepy. And truly, there’s something about reading that lulls an overtaxed mind a bit. No matter what I was worried about or stressed about previously, in the middle of a wonderful story, I’m content and relaxed. So relaxed these days, of course, that I just nod right off to sleep. But, I remember times when I would stay up much later, reading for hours at a time. Sure, I’d be a little exhausted when I awoke the next day, but equally exhilarated for having completed yet another book. Every so often, I start a book that becomes quite special. It’s one of those rare books that I simply can’t wait to start reading again. The kind where there’s almost a bit of sadness when it’s finally at the end. I love these books most of all.

Lately, I’ve been bouncing around between various books, but have been reading a lot of Agatha Christie books that I’ve not read yet. It’s amazing how well her books have traveled through time and can still hold the same allure today. And, more amazing, is simply the fact that she was both a wonderful writer as well a talented magician when it came to creating complex mysteries. She’s the very reason why I hope to right my own mystery book before I leave this earth. I’ve no idea when I’ll be able to make it happen, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. In truth, I got a bit stalled out while trying to finish my next book in my Sketching Stuff Activity Book series. I was planning on doing a book on animals next, but then began to doubt if that was the correct order. I read something recently about Agatha Christie’s approach to writing and learned that she liked to work on more than one book at the same time. At first, this seemed almost like a crazy idea to me, and then I realized we’re talking about me, after all, and it’s probably the very best approach of all. So, though I’m behind on my “next” book I have 75% of the next two books completed!

For Agatha Christie, this act of bouncing around between ideas was a way to keep all of her ideas fresher. I have to believe this is very wise advice. Even if you don’t suffer from a lack of focus and a dangerously short attention span like I do, it’s true that pursuing only one thing singularly can exhaust creativity a bit. What was once a moment of creative inspiration turns into an arduous task instead. Something you have to do, rather than something you love to do. I wholeheartedly believe that any moment when I’m DOing something that doesn’t feel quite right is the perfect moment to DO something else entirely. It’s rather odd advice, to be sure, as we’ve all been trained that if we want to actually complete something we should do that something until it’s complete. This seems like a perfectly sound solution on the surface, but when that something involves a bit of creativity, the rules change. For a creative endeavor to thrive, it’s never about rules at all. It’s about making space at the right time and in the right place. Whatever happens then, is simply what’s meant to happen next. And so, these days, I’m perfectly content to let the story unfold at a more natural pace, and have happily given up that frantic act of late night reading.

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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Light Night Reading Book Drink Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
23 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    I’ve found that when I have a creative idea I love interest if I can’t get to it while it is fresh, so I tend to have several projects going. I try to work on one and switch while I wait for paint to dry or find I need to look something up. Kind of like creative idea juggling.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      I love the idea of creative juggling! 😃💕Yep, I truly think that’s the way all of us creative folk work best!

  2. Karen Fortier 2 months ago

    Great post Charlie! I hear you that when you settle down to read sleep comes as I have the same problem. Even in retirement I seem to go none stop all day, doing what I love doing but is still along day. The UPS guy remarked today that I must do a lot of art and must be retired. I am getting close to being able to show my art locally. I hit send on an email today answering a request for artists. I did it before I could talk myself out of it.

    • Laura Hale 2 months ago

      Good for you Karen. All the best on your show.

    • Mary Roff 2 months ago

      Good for you, Karen!! You’ll do well!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Aww YAY! I’m so thrilled you hit send!! DO IT! hehe… that makes me so happy to hear! Truly, we’re horrible critics when it comes to ourselves. We can only grow as artists when we share it with the world!

  3. Stephanie Louise 2 months ago

    Lovely reflection from the glass. I love to read too but time doesnt permit me to do so. 😢

    • Linda Murray 2 months ago

      I love to read, too. Give me books! Never got the hang of reading on a Nook or iPad. I love the feel of a book, the book cover, Barnes and Noble! and looking through the discounted books. My shelves are full 😁 Your painting is awesome!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Stephanie! 😃💕 Yeah, I struggle with making time to read these days, but always try. It’s such a wonderful experience!

  4. Lisa 2 months ago

    This has been a weird year for me readingwise. I usually read between 60 and 120 books a year. This year, I’ll be lucky to hit 40. I hope it turns around in 2020. MS is an odd disease that targets the brain as well as the nerves. A few years ago I found my writing was tapering off a lot. I figured I got an MS plaque in the part of my brain responsible for writing. I’m hoping the same thing hadn’t happened to my reading brain. That would be a huge loss for the kid who used to stay up all night to solve Nancy Drew’s latest mystery.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      You are amazing, Lisa! 😃💕 No matter what part the MS tries to get, I hope you know that you’re more incredible than anything it could access. There’s a spirit there that’s well beyond any sort of biology. Harness that, and make those miracles continue to happen!

  5. Laura Hale 2 months ago

    I share your love for reading and Agatha Christie mysteries. I much prefer character development over just adding more gory stuff to a story. Happy reading!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Yay! Thrilled you love Agatha Christie as well, Laura! 😃💕Yeah, I don’t like the gory stuff… just a well spun mystery will do!

  6. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Great post, Charlie! Reading the post was like reliving my day…were you channeling my whacko day? I couldn’t seem to settle on one project. Love my Kindle reader too, only have time to read in bed but still find myself staying up half the night sometimes because I get so engrossed in a story. The light on my reader flashes after an hour and it’s sort of like the snooze button on an alarm clock…it flashes and I turn it back on saying okay just 5 more minutes….and an hour later it flashes again. Sometimes it’s difficult to put down a good book. 😍😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕hehe… I sincerely hope I was channeling your whacko day… all of mine are like that! lol Love it! Sometimes I think our whacko days are the most illuminating! 😉

  7. LoriCtoo 2 months ago

    Wowza! Nice sketch/painting. I think you were in my head again digging around. I just read an article on perspective sketching, something I struggle with. Your book is spot on! Also, I finally finished my Summer sketchbook. I was working in 3 different books this summer! Exactly like you are suggesting. There are times I want to sketch, but not interested in the subject whatever blog I am following wants me to. So I have at least a couple books to work in, depending on my mood. Thank you for affirming that I am not crazy!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Yep… I can indeed confirm you’re not crazy, or at the very least, crazy in just the right way! Sketch on, my friend!

  8. Bonnie Ottaviani 2 months ago

    I too love to read and I love having my books on my Kindle as my whole library is with me at all times. I miss the days of “real” physical books. Currently I am listening to my books as it frees my hands to do other things while listening. Helps me to keep up with my book club reading. Love your painting today, as always very inspirational.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Bonnie! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this post! I too love audio books, that’s why I decided to offer up some of my favorite writing in my Sketching Stuff podcast. There’s something wonderful in listening to the spoken word.

  9. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 2 months ago

    Fabulous book!!!! I still get in those modes where I cannot put a book down and have to read it swiftly then am anticipating the next one from the author lol. I am currently addicted to Mrs. Peregrines Peculiar series by Ransom Riggs. Here is to that mystery novel of yours that will be a huge success!!! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Yay to reading! It’s such a wonderful experience! And thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope to one day make a fictional book of my own!

  10. smzang 2 months ago

    Charlie says, ” For a creative endeavor to thrive, it’s never about rules at all. It’s about making space at the right time and in the right place.”

    Take a bow maestro…

    I also enjoyed the smile I imagined on your face as you created the glass….
    You do a super job with reflections (whether painting them or sharing your wisdoms)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 hehe… you’d be right! I do always smile when I paint, but a bit bigger when it’s glass or metal.

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