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A Little First Person Insomnia

In January my new primary care doctor took my sleep meds away. I can lie in bed and worry that my scratchy throat is the first symptom of the upheaval my death will cause or I can read. I can sit up and watch my neighbors come and go, driving down to the end of the driveway, turning off their headlights at the mailboxes and waiting silently before reversing the activity and coming back up. I can worry about my son who is in week three of some respiratory illness but needs to be at work because his job is essential. Or, I can read.

The first person point of view has two different tenses, present tense and past tense. Present tense “I” focuses on the actions and thoughts of the narrator as they unfold in the present. … For example, a first person present tense narrator would be, “I open the window and yell at him to leave me alone.


In January my new primary care doctor took my sleep meds away. I can lie in bed and worry that my scratchy throat is the first symptom of the upheaval my death will cause or I can read. I can sit up and watch my neighbors come and go, driving down to the end of the driveway, turning off their headlights at the mailboxes and waiting silently before reversing the activity and coming back up. I can worry about my son who is in week three of some respiratory illness but needs to be at work because his job is essential. Or, I can read.

I just finished a book by Suzanne Redfearn called In an Instant.

I am going to include the blurb and cover art for you in case you are prone to midnight worries.

In an Instant Kindle Edition

by Suzanne Redfearn 

A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.


I was well into this book when I realized it was written in First Person Present Tense. Reading it was like participating in some kind of art form. I followed along as Finn showed me what she saw and felt and in come cases couldn’t feel as she lingered with her family and friends. For me, First Person Past or Present is beyond my writing ability. But it is well withing my ability to appreciate and enjoy.

So, after spending a week with Suzanne Redfearn I was wide awake. This time thinking about the possibility of my oldest granddaughter breaking our State Lockdown, sneaking across town to see her boyfriend. My son still wakes periodically to cough, I offer him a stick to push his lungs back inside. So, I ask Amazon what I should read next.

I scroll through the Amazon Site looking at book covers and blurbs in much the same way young people swipe this way and that on a dating ap. I’d tap on a cover and read the blurb. Tap. Read.

Then I found a possibility and downloaded a sample. I’m reading and thinking about how interesting it is that I am about to read another First Person book. I finish the sample and flip back to make the purchase and this is when I discover I am reading another book by the author I just finished. So, I will also share the blurb for this book.


Hush Little Baby Kindle Edition

by Suzanne Redfearn 

If I stay, he will kill me. If I leave, he’ll destroy Addie and Drew.Jillian Kane appears to have it all – a successful career, a gorgeous home, a loving husband, and two wonderful children. The reality behind closed doors is something else entirely. For nine years, she has hid the bruises and the truth of her abusive marriage in order to protect Addie and Drew, knowing that if she left, Gordon would destroy her and destroy them.When she flees in an act of desperation, her worst nightmare is realized and she finds herself on the run with her two young children, no money, and no plan. With Gordon in hot pursuit, there is only one inescapable certainty: No matter where she goes, he will find her. Kill her. And take her children.A riveting page-turner, HUSH LITTLE BABY exposes the shame and terror of domestic violence as well as the disturbing role manipulation and sabotage can play in the high-stakes game of child custody. Suspenseful and unforgettably moving, it’s a novel about the unbreakable bonds of family and the astounding, terrifying devotion of a mother’s love.

Drop by The Writers Chatroom on Sunday at 7PM EDT and let’s talk about First Person Past and Present. Do you have the skills to pull it off or are you like me and bask in the warmth of other writers who can do it so well?

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3 replies on “A Little First Person Insomnia”

Try again (my e-mail not recognised? We’ll see!)
Just so you know SOMEONE is reading your posts!
Spent a couple of hours searching files for a story on these lines I toyed with ages ago.
Eventually found the notes – not as ‘defe’oped’ as I thoughtm though.My MC *as yet unnaned) is the Host//DJ of a late night radio chat show whoo develops Insomnia. No matter hiw tired his body becomes, he is unable to sleep … [sadly, that’s all I wrote at the time!]

Thanks for reading. And commenting. I need to see about moving the comment box closer to the article text. I think people have to scroll far too much to find it.

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