Creative Writing Sampler: “Too Old To Sleep” by Maggie Montague (’15)

Maggie Montague (’15), above, lounges at a park in Costa Rica, where she spent Jan term ’12. Maggie is an EL major (writing track) with a minor in Art History. She’s from San Diego, CA, where she’s spending the summer “working as a barista, writing, and hosting my brother’s indie folk band.” Of her writing projects, Maggie reports,  “I finished the first book of the trilogy and am now working on the second while scheming for the third.”  Her novel, A Terrible Blessing, is available on There’s also a page for her novel on the Facebooks.

Maggie wrote this creative nonfiction piece, “Too Old To Sleep,” in EL 245. She also submitted the photos, including one of her with her grandmothers (and one grandpa in the background) and a shot of the remains of the blanket.

The sheets rustle as I roll back and forth, right and left. I reach for sleep, but each direction I go, sleep evades me. Behind my tightly shut eyes, the darkness seems to dance, taunting my restless mind. So I reach for something else, the ghost of a blanket from my childhood. It is nowhere to be found. At some point, I outgrew it. I have been told that getting older and more mature is the natural progression of life, but something in me is not easily convinced. There is something unnatural about letting go of home, of blankets.

I have grown, stretched, changed and changed back, but I am not alone in this. My blanket has matured, stretched, and shrunk as well. In its original state, my childhood blanket was blue and pink, but now the colors are faded beyond recognition. In the beginning, it was a good-sized blanket, you could even have called it respectable, but now it resembles more of a pillow than a blanket. It had to be folded and sewn to cover up the tears and gaping holes, which were left as evidence of the restless nights and days when I would hold it tightly against me. It used to feel soft and cool against my skin, but now it is fragile, ready to rip only to be sewn again. How did this blanket fall so far from its original state?

My hands still reach for it, though it is a million miles away.

It was my brother’s before it was mine, but it truly was always mine.

It was dubbed Nigh-Night, because I could hardly pronounce anything else.

It was with me when I was too young to crawl, and all I could do was lay there gazing at the squares of pink and blue.

It was a witness when I chewed my first piece of gum without swallowing it.

It was the only thing that could lull me to sleep on the hundreds of road trips my family took.

It was the soft comfort between my head and the hard glass of the car window.

It was left in multiple states, several preschools, a few churches, and numerous friends’ homes, but it always found its way back.

It was there when I awoke in the middle of the night too afraid of my dreams to shut my eyes again.

It was with me the night I became a grandchild without any grandparents.

It was my companion on my late night sleepwalking adventures to the refrigerator and back again.

It was there well past midnight when I refused to shut the covers of a book, clinging to the adventure, the mystery, the freedom, always assuring myself I would put it down after one more chapter, always lying.

It was there to soak up the tears cried over life and over death, the tighter I clung to the soft fabric, the less the heartache seemed.

It smelt like home, like family, like a deep sleep, like Pantene.

But now, it is millions of miles away, and I am too old to sleep.

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