books · Flash Fiction · Story Collaboration

The Insomniacs Book Club

I was having breakfast this morning when this story arrived fully formed and squalling.  It is just started now — and I would love feedback, suggestions for what happens next.

The core of the story:  for years, a group of insomniacs have gathered at each other’s homes in the middle of the night to read together, to talk about what they are reading — but mainly just to be with another person when it’s the middle of the night and everyone else in your life is sleeping.  Dubbed the Insomniacs Book Club, the invitation-only group has shifted and changed — and is about to have the biggest change of all.  

In the years that followed, Bernice and Sam were never clear about how the Insomniac’s Book Club (IBC) began. They would drop their eyes and gaze mutely at the floor. Recognizing unspeakable heartache, the questioner take a cookie or pour another glass of wine and talk brightly about their book.
In fact, there was actually nothing painful or mysterious about the first meeting. Since neither woman could remember clearly (it was the middle of the night after all), they settled on sweet evasion.
It was a frigid night at the start of spring. Bernice was up in the middle of the night as always. One hundred pages into the latest must-read debut, she decided that the book was crap. Carefully, she eased her way out from under the blanket so she wouldn’t wake up her snoring dog. Padding over to the shelf where she kept her library books, she searched for another book to read.
There was nothing. Tomorrow was the day that she went to the library. She’d already read all ten books. The magazines, newspapers, and catalogues were neatly piled in the recycling bin. Her own books had been read so many times that she could recite them from memory.
Now what? Read the cereal boxes, roam through her cookbooks?
She sneered at her laptop. Sam once talked her into trying an electronic book. What a disaster that was! The words slid away from her, the plot got all tangled, the characters made no impression, and she had no idea where she was in the story. Worst of all, she missed the familiar warmth and heft of a real book.
Sam had to help. She answered her phone right away. Of course she did. It was three in the morning and it wasn’t like she’d be sleeping either.
Bernice explained what had happened. Sam gasped. “I’ll be right there.”
And she was. Half an hour later, Sam settled at the kitchen table with a mug of hot chocolate made with real milk.
“I’ll just stay for a little while, until you feel better,” said Sam.
“I feel fine,” said Bernice. “I just needed something to read.”
“Of course, dear,” said Sam and opened up


 That’s the story for now.  Do you have any ideas for plot, character, books that they discuss, anything at all?

If it works for me, I’ll work it in and keep on going.  While I have my own main plot arc in mind, I am wide open to change.  





5 thoughts on “The Insomniacs Book Club

  1. This is cool so far. Maybe one of the books they come across is a book that has a lot of bizarre stories in it that end up being the dreams that other people are having. So while they’re awake in the middle of the night everyone else is sleeping having dreams. Those dreams are sort of like a life of their own a reality in a parallel dimension. So the book is like a record of these major events that came from this other dimension. But the events are also the people’s dreams because they don’t realize they’re actually experiencing life in an alternate reality while they sleep they just think they have very lucid dreams. I don’t know if this makes any sense or is too absurd for what you’re going for.


    1. Wow — you took this in a really different, wonderful direction! I write pretty realistic contemporary fiction, so this idea has tremendous appeal to me as a reader — Haruki Murakami has a number of books and stories that play with dreams, reality, and alternate views — if you haven’t read him, you might really enjoy his work. All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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