Neile Graham (neile) wrote,
Neile Graham

Les Semaines May 1, 2011: Hooray, Hooray, The First of May

My mother taught me a rhyme about the first of May that I cannot repeat in polite company,1 but which I always think of all day on the first of May. Which might not be such a good idea when the day is accompanied by a board meeting, but so go the coincidences of timing. I think I managed not to embarrass myself. I waited until we were outside going to our cars to leave to quote the rhyme.

Meanwhile, it has been a week.

We have lost Joanna Russ. I only met her once, when we were helping a friend move into her house and I was tired and cranky and didn't want to explain who I was and I didn't have a clue who she was until well after I had been an idiot about who I was. However, I still wound up in an interesting conversation with her. I had read How To Suppress Women's Writing and A Female Man a few years before, and been bowled over and challenged and all. I wish I remembered more about that encounter, but it was in 1988 or so and I was lifting boxes at the time and I never did meet her again.

A sad loss. Losing her and Diana Wynne Jones so close together. Ouch.

On another topic, but still kind of book-related, when you look at my reading list you may wonder how I read so much. I *am* a fast reader and many of these books are on the shorter end of the book-length scale, but this is kind of crazy, is it not? How do I keep a busy life and still have time to read so much?

The answer is that I have traded sleep for reading. Yes, I have now reached an Advanced Age (52) and like so many other Elders I am plagued by insomnia. It has slowly become a bigger and bigger thing, and grown very bad in the last year, especially. I do occasionally take melatonin and 2 X 4s to the head (just joking on the latter), but mostly--after lying in bed and reading long enough to be absolutely certain I'm not going to nod off--I just go someplace a little more comfortable (I don't like lying down so very much unless I am sleeping) and read until I am so tired that I can confidently crawl back to bed and trust sleep to take me.

This means in my day-to-day life I frequently function on very little sleep. This is not doing my reputation for efficiency much good, but I think the honest truth is that I'd rather read than sleep.

There. I've said it.

Ever since I stopped remembering my dreams and started having to stick a machine on my face I have become less and less enamored of sleep--at least conventional, night-time and in-my-bed sleep. I still have a fondness for naps, but try not to allow them because they do interfere with proper sleep. Or so I'm told.

Yes, I know I should sleep more and better and that there are things I could and should be doing. Like not letting myself get up to read (though I suspect the alternative might be violence) and not letting myself sleep in on weekends, which all the experts say helps set me up for a round of jet lag and such.

But really, I love sitting up in the dark of night, cats asleep around me, Jim asleep downstairs, and reading a great book. Or even just a good one.

I know it is a self-indulgence and very Bad For Me in many ways, but damn I love it.

Now I'm going to be a good girl, take a melatonin because I not only slept late today but took a nap after the board meeting, and try to be good. Wish me luck.


For my current listening, reading, and writing updates, see Les Semaines.

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