Thursday, April 26, 2007

Don't Wake Me With So Much

I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I`m awake, you know?
-- Ernest Hemingway
This was one of those Quotes of the Day that appear on the blog's sidebar. I'm not a huge Ernest Hemingway fan(1), but this one was worth keeping. It's not that I necessarily perceive my life as "falling apart," but that sleep is, what? Valued. Desired. Elusive.

I'm an insomniac. Well, part of it is insomnia and part of it is that I just prefer being awake in the small, liminal hours of the early morning. 3:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m. (2) I find it exquisitely restful to be awake at those hours. Nothing is moving. I can hear the highway in the distance. The birds haven't started their songs, and the air smells so different -- cleaner, rarefied.

Then there are the nights when I don't have the luxury of those hours. Nights prior to a working day, when I have to force myself into a noisy, diurnal schedule like everyone else. Bland days. Days I can't count as my own. The nights preceding those days are a struggle. Not all the time, not every night, but all too often I'll lay in bed and I'll still be awake at 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m., and it most definitely NOT exquisite nor restful and I begin to resent the waking world and how much time it takes away from me.

That's where the insomnia part comes in (you were wondering if I would every wander back to that topic, weren't you?).

One of my ways of helping myself fall asleep is to imagine myself elsewhere -- an Elsewhere where my time is my own to spend. My current Elsewhere is a bedroom in a cool, stone tower on a mountainside. It's wintertime. I imagine myself hearing the wind outside and the crackle and pop of a fireplace, and I tell myself that there are no clients or phones or schedules or lists of things to do tomorrow.

Then I sleep.

(1) I count Proust and Borges as my favorite authors. Compared to Proust's Byzantine prose and Borges' labyrinths, Hemingway is much too terse.

(2) Not getting up in the early morning, but staying awake to get there; they're completely different psychological states.

1 comment:

he-who-forgets-to-mow-the-lawn said...

"no clients or phones or schedules or lists of things to do"

...or cat tongues in my ear...