They had these people, you know? And they would walk around all day and be OK? And then, once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconscious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except deep in their minds they would have adventures and experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lay there, completely vulnerable to their enemies, their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another; or, if one of the ‘mind adventures’ got too real, they would sit up and scream…
Sleep… sleep for me is something mystical, elusive, a puzzle and the most difficult thing to achieve. In my case, there is a vast difference between wanting to sleep, being sleepy, trying to sleep, drowsing, almost drowsing, falling asleep and actually sleeping. And all of this could (in a matter of a second) lead to being totally awake for hours and hours up to three consecutive days before my body and mind succumb to fatigue and doze off anyway.
My favourite method lulling myself to la la la land is to write a book in my head. Complete with personages, dialogues, locations and feelings. Feelings are the most important ingredients because my brain refuses to move forward to another scene if my body doesn’t feel what’s happening is real, as real as in… real life. The kisses have to taste good; the touches have to evoke certain feelings, the smell the lighting, the places the sounds have to fit perfectly or I would not sleep anyway and try to re-write the whole scene over and over again.
Most of the times, I can write a whole book and start halfway to the sequel before I finally lost consciousness. The next day I usually start with editing what I wrote (envisioned) in my head the previous occasions, and it could be tricky because most of the times I could come up with several alternative scenarios and all of them good. I usually file them in my sub-conscious for future reference when sleep is proving to be hard to chase and impossible to capture so I have something to play with for variations.
These days, I’m stuck with a certain scenario in book two. It is something to do with feelings again. I decided that my male lead would look like an improved version of Sinbad (those who read my earlier blogs would know that this is the hunk who rowed 4 hours straight to an abandoned lighthouse so we can spend a stormy night there together -but not alone) have the voice of Ranie the Casablanca guy, someone I had a brief confusing encounter in the past.
The problem is, when I take his hands in mine (mine because it’s me that has to feel) it shockingly feels like D.s which is not good because it’s too close to reality which I wanted to escape. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot summon any other previous touches I had experience. I reckon I’m rusty and have to start experimenting again to get back some of that old feelings. (ha ha)
Another trick I use when trying to fall asleep is to pretend I don’t want to sleep. Doesn’t make any sense? To me it is. You see, I can easily doze off in public places; like in trains cars busses airplanes stations and my favourite of all… airports. Could be also a bundle of clothes in a corner of a room, a hammock while reading, or someone else’s house anything far away from my own bed. But if I dim the light in my own room, undress, feel comfortable and try to go to sleep… guarantee I will be awake. I could drink all the sleeping pills and herbal teas available it will not work.
So what I do is drape myself across the bed fully clothed, leave the big lights on, pile some books next to me and stare at the ceiling. Sometimes it works, oftentimes not.
Another thing I do subconsciously is to sleep like a duck, I learned it from childhood, I have to be constantly aware in case… Bad things happen when people sleep you see. Someone could sneak up on you and do unspeakable things. So, if I’m off to dreamland someone could make regular everyday noises and I will not wake up. But the moment somebody tries to be quiet like tiptoeing or opening the door ever so slowly or whispering… I’ll be awake in a jiffy. Funny…
So, sleep… sleep is magic for me. Something I am trying to learn from day one and seem I will never get the hang of. Very difficult, falling asleep. I wish I am more like D. doesn’t matter what time it is, night or day rain or shine, the moment his head comes in contact with a pillow… he’s gone. And continue being dead whatever might happen, unless you go bother him. If you’re lucky, maybe he would wake up. If not, he could stand up, move to another room and fall asleep there standing. Lucky, lucky b*stard…
Here is a poem I think is funny:
“A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky –
I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie
-William Wordsworth, To Sleep
2 thoughts on ““O bed! O bed! delicious bed! That heaven upon earth to the weary head.””
Sleep and I are old enemies. In the end, Sleep always wins, but not before I lose. Thank you for sharing this – and that poem was a beautiful touch.
I appreciate your thoughts. Every each one of them.