When the Lion is Not Asleep: Thoughts On Writing a Prequel

When the Lion is Not Asleep: Thoughts On Writing a Prequel

In the jungle

The mighty jungle

The lion sleeps tonight

While my husband and I were traveling in the bush of South Africa, we were told that male lions sleep about 18 to 20 hours per day. After eating a kill, most often obtained by the hard-working female, males might sleep a full 24 hours. The female is fairly close behind and sleeps somewhere between 16 to 18 hours. Contrary to the above song lyric, they hunt in the twilight, and they are more likely to be sleeping when you come upon them during the daylight hours.

I have finally reached the stage in life where I can sleep during the daytime or during the nighttime, as I wish. I have so often wondered what that would be like: to sleep when I want, to read a novel from cover to cover without moving, to begin a project and find myself finishing it the same day without ever consulting a clock. These thoughts are on my mind because I recently closed my private practice office door for the last time. And so I am discovering once again what time means to me.

What do I choose to do with time when I have nearly all the time I need? With whom do I choose to spend my time and how often? Honestly, this has been a lifetime struggle. I am in awe and envy of the lion that plops down wherever he or she likes for as long as he or she wishes, the only decision-making process seemingly to be food-related.

Who is this new me I am creating, one who doesn’t set the alarm clock, eat a hasty breakfast, and run out the door for a carefully scheduled day of work? My life, like many lives, has been a series of creations and recreations, some of which I have been able to attend to better than others. But now I am able to take deep breaths in between tasks and think in a way that has not often been available to me in the past. This is a joyous opportunity for which I am extraordinarily grateful.

So dear friends and faithful readers, I am writing my way through my next novel, Fatma, Daughter Of The Prophet, and I am enjoying creating her life. But please keep in mind, one has to be very patient and travel to many places to spot the lion when the lion is not asleep. And so I ask you to please be patient for this prequel, and Inşallah, we will greet Fatma when she is wide-awake and full of life in the not too distant future.


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