Episode 1: The Benefits of Insomnia
Emily tells me she only sleeps for two hours at a time at night. She is conditioned to wake up. The words still fresh in my mind from the young pregnant doctor in Mike Leigh’s thought-provoking film Another Year, I listen to them again as they spill from my lips.
‘Insomnia is not an illness, it is a symptom.’
Emily lived at sea on a forty-foot sail boat for six years, so I’m not surprised it’s taking her body a long while to readjust, that and the unfortunate hostage experience which ended it all, her life spared but not her boat.
Not only am I not an insomniac, I rarely dream or recall them, something Emily tells me she practises every night in the constant presence of her mother, a woman who hasn’t lived for more than eleven years now. I think about that and conclude that my days are so filled with dealing with the ever demanding present, that my mind must spare me from such night journeys into a fabricated past or alternative future. I know that when I do remember a dream, it is often worth writing down, such is its novelty.
Uncharacteristically, I couldn’t sleep this morning so I was doing what I do when I’m neither dreaming nor sleeping, having wake-dreams, which aren’t really dreams because I am consciously imagining them, creating dream-like semi-realistic scenarios.
In this morning’s dream scenario, I was writing this story in my head and thinking how sad it is that I don’t have the time I had when I first arrived in France, to spend endless hours writing, reading and learning from them both. And then I thought Insomnia! Wouldn’t it be great if instead of lying here thinking about it, I raised this dormant body and took it off to write.
The story has reached a significant turning point so we are sharing it while it remains in the present and is not relegated to a distant nostalgic past, when I will no longer be thinking about it in the same way and unlikely to be dreaming either.
And now my daughter is collaborating, depicting my not sleeping state seconds before seizing that opportunity of a rare insomniac moment.
Episode 2: We are not living in France!
Previous Episodes: Intro