Writing is as much a craft as an art. As a result, most well-thought-out pieces you see here are rarely written in real time. The good stuff is seldom dashed off. The best reads are polished like a gem—massaged to the point of near perfection, but set free before the beast starts to devour itself. Wreal writerly writing is relentless rewriting, the jiggling of sentences, deportation of whole paragraphs—and that most painful self-inflicted wound writers ever endure—cutting our own precious words.
That said, I am dashing this off before my recently ingested 3:00 AM, sleep-inducing Ativan pill turns my eyelids into sea anchors that drag me down to the land of Hypnos, God of Sweet Sleep. See? I’d never let that mangled metaphor stand if I was crafting this.
As you may have guessed by now, I’m an Insomniac. Insomnia is the perfect ailment for a Son of Ireland like myself, I suppose. Many Irish, particularly Irish Catholics share a common affliction with many Jews--Guilt. Jews eat better food and read backwards whereas we Irish enjoy whiskey more and can dance better with our arms by our sides.
My point—if I ever get to it— is I feel guilty whining about my Insomnia. The first time I described my symptoms to him, my Doc interrupted me to take an emergency call from a terminal cancer patient. “He’s down to 100 pounds and in constant pain,” my Doc noted later. “Now what was your problem again?”
Don’t get me wrong, my doc cares. He’s written a few prescriptions for me, offered suggestions, and volunteered to come over and fiddle Brahms’s Lullaby at bedtime. I hesitate to even mention my Insomnia to others, yet feel it necessary when, say, I’m at lunch with friends and fall asleep with my head in the appetizer.
When you do spill the beans, people love to suggest Insomnia cures. My wife is incredibly sympathetic and constantly offering advice, expert's suggestions, and occasionally useful unguents and soluble potions. (Did you know there's a face balm that's suppose to help you sleep?) Here's the latest she's passed along, hot off the Internet.
Wean Yourself Off Naps.
People with insomnia often resort to afternoon naps to catch up on their missed sleep, but that's a mistake. Napping encourages insomnia because you'll be less likely to be tired at bedtime if you sleep during the day...”
This reminds me of a trainer offering between-round advice to his fighter as the latter is getting a snottworthy pummeling by a bigger, faster, stronger opponent. "We have to stop taking so many punches," the advisor offers. Easier said that done.
For most Insomniacs, a night of little or no sleep means the nap issue is not really up for debate. Without a nap or twelve, the next day is pretty much a loss. I often fear these naps may be the only sleep I'll get. In a different context, the late Rodney Dangerfield summed it up perfectly: “Hey if it wasn’t for pickpockets, I’d have no sex life at all.”
My point? Really, does every advice column have to have a point? (Sorry, that’s the Ativan talking.) Right now, in real time, at this moment, I’m too tired to figure out what my point is, so I’ll let you connect the dots.
Now, I'll just spell check this Mutha, slap a headline on it, and fire it off to Open Salon. Let me know what you think, dear readers. Just hit “comment” or “like” please. Don’t call! I’ll be napping.