I haven't been sleeping enough and my dreams take me on confused voyages so that I wake up disoriented. But somehow I'm not tired, until I am and then I come crashing down. But mostly I'm thinking about words and wake up excited to write. So at 3am, I'm shuffling into my living room and turning on my desk light.
I love this time of year when the nights are cold but the heating isn't on in my building yet. Everything is just right and when I wake warm with sleep, I can open a window and feel cold enough to bring a blanket with me, to sit in my chair like that and write or read.
One of the loveliest things I read this week was this letter from Ted Hughes. It's something I will hold onto and reread. It feels connected to things I've been feeling.
"...everybody develops a whole armour of secondary self, the artificially constructed being that deals with the outer world, and the crush of circumstances. And when we meet people this is what we usually meet. And if this is the only part of them we meet we’re likely to get a rough time, and to end up making ‘no contact’. But when you develop a strong divining sense for the child behind that armour, and you make your dealings and negotiations only with that child, you find that everybody becomes, in a way, like your own child. It’s an intangible thing. But they too sense when that is what you are appealing to, and they respond with an impulse of real life, you get a little flash of the essential person, which is the child."
With all this talk of sleep, and my earlier talk of rhythms of daily life, I found myself drawn to Louise Bourgeois' insomnia drawings. Especially the one of waves, though perhaps they're mountains, but of course I see waves...
"My drawings are a kind of rocking or stroking, and an attempt at finding peace. Peaceful rhythm. Like rocking a baby to sleep."
And I read this and daydreamed about a house smelling like stormy seas.
“My mother boils seawater. It sits all afternoon simmering on the stovetop, almost two gallons in a big soup pot. The windows steam up and the house smells like a storm. In the evening, a crust of salt is all that’s left at the bottom of the pot. My mother scrapes it out with a spoon. We each lick a fingertip and dip them in the salt and it’s softer than you’d think, less like sand and more like snow."
And those daydreams found their way into my sleeping dreams too, so the whole week was salty and laced with sea spray in this landlocked city.
P.S. Coterie's last day of business is TOMORROW and I'm offering FREE SHIPPING to US & Canada right now on all remaining merchandise! There have been further reductions since I first announced the sale, so check it out! And many thanks to those of you who have already placed orders!