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01 May 2011 @ 10:38 pm
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.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on May 2nd, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
I love naps. I think they are good for some. Even a ten minute nap can turn a soggy afternoon into productivity!
Neile Grahamneile on May 2nd, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
The short ones like that are great! It's the ones where I sleep too long and take too long to wake from that bother me.

My mother is a great 10-minute napper. That's something I wish I'd learned from her, as well as the rhyme!
silme on May 2nd, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
Joanna Russ is why I moved to Colorado. She was teaching creative writing in Boulder in the '70s and I loved her work. I applied. I was accepted. By the time I got there, she was on sabbatical, and then she moved to Washington.

I blame her for my love of Colorado, though, and I still love her work. Her death is a major loss.
Neile Grahamneile on May 2nd, 2011 09:47 pm (UTC)
Wow! I knew we had speculative fiction and musical interests in common. I didn't know we had the creative writing thing (and Joanna Russ) too.

I'm sorry you never got to work with her, but I'm glad you found a place you loved out of it.
silme on May 3rd, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I fear my creative writing days are over -- at least until retirement. I've not had much nor time for it for years, alas. I wish! :(

My first teaching job did allow me some time to write, and I did try then. However, I never got as far as publishing anything, and all I've written in more recent years are book, CD and gig reviews.