Thursday, December 9, 2010

a poor go-to-sleeper

Going through my old journals last night around 3am. Found this quote I copied from about two years ago when I was reading Vladimir Nabokov's memoir. I liked it so much I typed it all out:

All my life I have been a poor go-to-sleeper. People in trains, who lay their newspaper aside, fold their silly arms, and immediately, with an offensive familiarity of demeanor, start snoring, amaze me as much as the uninhibited chap who cozily defecates in the presence of a chatty tubber, or participates in huge demonstration, or joins some union in order to dissolve in it. Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heavies dues and the crudest rituals. It is a mental torture I find debasing. The strain and drain of composition often force me, alas, to swallow a strong pill that gives me an hour or two of frightful nightmares or even to accept the comic relief of a midday snooze, the way a senile rake might totter, to the nearest euthanasium; but I simply cannot get used to the nightly betrayal of reason, humanity, genius. No matter how great my weariness, the wrench of parting with consciousness is unspeakably repulsive to me. I loathe Somnus, that black-masked herdsman binding me to the block; and if in the course of years, with the approach of a far more thorough and still more risible disintegration, which nowanights, I confess, detracts much from the routine terrors of sleep, I have grown so accustomed to my bedtime ordeal as almost to swagger while the familiar ax is coming out of its great velvet-lined double-base case, initially I had no such comfort or defense; I had nothing-except one token light in the potentially refulgent chandelier of Mademoiselle's bedroom, whose door, by our family doctor's decree (I salute you, Dr. Sokolov!) remained slightly ajar. Its vertical line of lambency (Which a child's tears could transform into dazzling rays of compassion) was something I could cling to, since in absolute darkness my head would swim and my mind melt in a travesty of the death struggle.


  1. Ha! I'm browsing blogs instead of sleeping, myself. I used to be one to fall asleep the minute my head hit the pillow. Things are so different now. What would we give for a good night's sleep?

  2. When I was a kid it always took me a long time to fall asleep. Until I joined the field hockey team. Then I learned that falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow wasn't an exaggeration.

  3. Hi Alison,

    You are such a good writer! I've enjoyed reading your blog.


  4. Thanks Andrew! Um, you know I didn't write this last paragraph, right? :)

  5. Yes, I actually didn' even read this entry. I've read most of your entries but commented on the most recent one! Keep up the great writing :-)