SLEEP. . .


No, that’s not a misspelling, that’s Shakespeare in one of his many insightful perceptions into the human dilemma. I’ll give you a bit more. It’s from Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 2:

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

I was inspired to write about one of my sore labors, sleeplessness, after reading the Maine Crime Writers blog yesterday. Kathy Lee Emerson was reporting and I read, under the heading ‘Sleep, Glorious Sleep,’ about her trials and tribulations with her insomnia. She wrote humorously of her trips to a medical center to be hooked up to a thousand wires and monitored for sleep apnea (a pet theory among doctors, but really, there’s so much more that can cause insomnia). But at the end of her long night’s journey into thrashing around on a very narrow bed and at the end of her rope and of all those wires and things, poor Kathy still didn’t know if she had sleep apnea.

I don’t have apnea, asleep or awake, but I am a chronic insomniac, or, as a friend calls it, sonic inchromniac. That’s sort of like that old nut; “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy”. Some days I wish I had both, but wine keeps me awake. So does chocolate, my favorite food group.

Oh, you say, think of all the stuff you can get done while you’re awake. Not so. Chronic insomnia is like having perpetual jet lag. Try doing something, anything, after flying for 24, 48, or 72 hours straight. Impossible. I’d write if I could, but even thinking about what I’m in the middle of while I toss and turn actually keeps me awake. My writing is that exciting.

On the labels of over-the-counter sleep aids you will find this disclaimer: if sleeplessness continues for longer than ten days stop taking this product, there may be a serious underlying cause. Please see your doctor. I’ve had this for twenty-five years! How serious could it be? Hasn’t killed me yet.

Kathy, I hope to meet you at the Crime Bake next weekend. We can compare notes, because if there’s one thing we both know it’s that time waits for no man. We have to keep cranking out words even if our heads are muddled and our vision blurred. We have to be inventive and funny and clever. And we have to be better than the day before. We can’t wait for sleep to catch up, or to catch up on sleep. We have to carpe those diems as they come.

Good luck in figuring out what causes your insomnia. And let me know!

About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on November 4, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I find that when I toss and turn I am able to put myself to sleep by thinking about my work in progress. If only I could remember in the morning what profound thoughts I had the night before and incorporate them into my writing. It just might rise from the level of mundane to profound–or at least exciting!


  2. James Thurber once wrote that he was “constantly fighting a desire to go and lie down someplace.” May the Word Fairy bless your work as she did his.


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