Friday, November 09, 2007

On Insomnia 2

Writing about insomnia is like writing about back pain or science and religion, everybody has something to say on the subject. Since my post I have been asked to write on the subject for The Guardian - no, I write for The Sunday Times - greeted with amazement - 'You have insomnia, how fascinating!' - told I am going to die and go mad in that order and that formidable librarian Dave Lull has sent me this link. Seemingly I can 'cure' myself with cognitive behavioural therapy or not reading in bed. I put 'cure' in quotes because I'm not sure I would continue to be myself if I lost my insomnia. As I said in my last post, there are good bad nights and one of my deepest pleasures is going out ridiculously early and breathing the silent and strangely pure air of the city. It's always the second breath that provides the hit for some reason, the first is just preparation. Feeling truly alone in a city - not just alienated among the crowds - is delicious. But I suspect all this is an indicator of the strange popularity of journalists who write about their lives and afflictions. I once swore I would never do this - I may even now be breathing my last, but I wouldn't tell you, I probably wouldn't tell myself - but I seem to have fallen into the trap. Oh well, that's one thing I'm not going to lose any sleep over.

19 comments:

  1. Sometimes a person's affliction is the only interesting thing about them. Not in your case, of course.

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  2. Thanks, Neil. It seems to be just you and me today.

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  3. Perhaps you are akin to the doctor in Star Trek V, who refuses to let the Messianic figure take his traumatic memories away. i can't remember his line but the tone is something like Springsteen's "I don't ask for forgiveness, my sins are all I have." Without pain we would be Blair, vacuous, bland, weirdly so.

    i remember staying up all night, drinking, i believe, and sallying forth at 0700 to buy orange juice, clad in a pirate coat.

    http://elberry.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/simple-pleasures/

    Being awake when all others are asleep, are you the good shepherd watching over the sleepers; or are you the killer ranging hungrily about, luxuriating in his solitude, armed and prepared for slaughter?

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  4. Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet?

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  5. We all sit here stranded and we're all doing our best to deny it.

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  6. Of course the best line is:

    Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule.

    Can't top that.

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  7. the all night girls whisper of escapades out on the D train...

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  8. i remember when i was 19 or 20 getting ready to go somewhere and playing Blonde on Blonde in the background. i didn't like the album as much as Bringing it all Back Home (i think that's the title?) and Highway 61 Revisited, and i didn't like the long songs particularly.

    At some point near the beginning of Visions of Johanna the words snagged in my mind and i went from trying to find my socks to standing motionless, listening to the words. i sat down, with i think one sock on and one foot bare, and sort of fell into the song.

    i still couldn't really say what the song's about - a sense of surfeit & exhaustion, a richness that saturates & intoxicates & perhaps poisons, or at least dangerously transforms. A lot of Bob's songs from that time are like that, it's more a constellation of images & lines & characters with nothing in common except an atmosphere, as if they're all dreamed by one dreamer.

    According to TS Eliot's bullshit Hamlet essay, that would make them failures - no objective correlative, just a cloud of charged moments, suggesting a centre you can't pin down. But in fact, as with Hamlet, that makes the songs endlessly fascinating, with a dream's persistence & longing.

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  9. Enderby says that poems are made of words and you shouldn't worry about meanings. If that applies to anyone, it applies to Bob - even his autobiography.

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  10. Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet?


    Did you ever feel the earth flee from beneath you, as if you were moving in some strangely accelerated scale of time. Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night because you were being carried off into a void? Humans have kicked the bucket for less! But it is not, as a rule, until your purpose in life is done and dusted that the candle is extinguished. Life is only a state of mind. It seems to be composed, in equal parts, of superhuman courage, an infinite capacity for self-deception and a strange, astonishing obedience to some silent, overriding purpose.

    Many sleepless lives have proved gloriously defiant to adversity in the face of such a purpose. And since this happens to be Bryan’s blog, I feel a certain obligation to express my hope that his is going to be one of them (Eureka)!

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  11. Bryan, like Blood Meridian's Judge Holden, will live forever. He will play the fiddle all night and dance till dawn for like War itself he is immortal.

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  12. Personally, I think Quaaludes may be the answer.

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  13. Nah, cup of hot milk and a Julia Roberts movie. That usually finshes me off.

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  14. My favourite line: the ghost of 'lectricity howls in the bones of her face

    On imsomnia: running at 3 or 4 in the morning is an interesting experience. It's blessedly cool in our disgusting Australian summer, but you end up wrecked by the afternoon and with too many stubbed toes for comfort.

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  15. I found this Review extreamly useful when I was suffering with insomnia. Take a look...
    http://handfreviews.blogspot.com

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  16. Yes I am quite surprised if indeed CBT can be used to cure insomnia.

    Actually, some of it is in the mind, but overall it is far more complex than that.

    Scott Harris
    http://www.tips-for-insomnia.com

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