A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

When you come to think of it, the average person sleeps for eight hours per day.

Now think of what you could do in eight whole hours when you’re awake. You could literally cross to the other side of the planet; you could write thousands of words. You could create vast works of art; you could watch five full movies.

What it is then to sleep? To lie there and wait for unconsciousness to strike at any moment, not to expect it, for when you do it never comes. You must just lie back and switch off and then it will come, and only then.

In your dreams you may fight in wars, fly in planes, visit other planets, have sweeping romances, be chased, be gunned down, fall from a great height, realise your worst fears and your best aspirations; then for some strange reason when you awaken it's all lost, the last remnants of your dream disappearing into a mist.

If you try you can sometimes piece together the last part of your dream, but more often than not even that eludes you. Great scenes without a cast or director, great acting, wonderful words, beautiful views, all there and then gone never to return.

The worst dreams, those of losing loved ones, being naked in a public place, or desperate for the toilet only to find all the conveniences stuffed full of other people's crap and used toilet paper (one I've had a lot for some reason. Must be the plumber in me), all leave you feeling just as horrified in your dream as they would in real life. The fact that the scenes often lack logic, jump from one improbable scenario to another and have nothing to do with your daily life, doesn't seem to phase your mind in the slightest.

So I often wonder, where it is we all go for that full third of a day. Do we leave our mortal bodies? Is sleep a small slice of death as someone once said?

If it is then maybe death isn’t to be feared, because, in some way or other you are off on an adventure every night, like a little hobbit leaving the Shire for the first time, and where you will travel is beyond your control, and what is more, come morning time, you won’t even remember any of your experiences.

You always travel alone in your sleep, you take nothing at all with you, money has no value there, nor has your status or contacts, and you are entirely alone! People say we are all equal as people, well, one place that is definitely true is in sleep, some may have a more comfortable place to sleep, but if you are lucky enough to sleep soundly then you are just as equal as a prince or a pauper.

All as vulnerable as a new born baby, as in Macbeth the punishment should be this: 'you killed someone in their sleep, you shall not rest again.' For to take advantage of one’s sleep is a cowardly thing to do and to not sleep, a dreadful punishment.

Sleep is also a place we can’t protect our children from the terrors of their dreams. They must enter into them alone and face whatever is to be found there in solo, and just like the rest of us, they will wake and not remember.

Sleep is no respecter of the young mind, nightmares can come to any at any age and your little one must face them without your help or advice, this is all part of growing up I suppose, but when one of my children was ever showing signs of a nightmare, how I would love to be there by their side to help fight whatever it was that upset them, but alas, all you can really do is reassure them and hope that reassurance sinks into the dream, somehow to change the direction or the outcome, for I am sure our dreams can be influenced, just as an alarm clock first enters your awareness as something in your dream before you wake.

So as you get cosy tonight, just think, by tomorrow morning you could have been in Asia, you could have been on top of a mountain, you could have worked an entire shift, but all you really did was lie there unconscious and unmoving and that's if you were lucky.

I also think that oceans of time could pass between you going to sleep and waking up again and you probably wouldn't even notice a second, and all without an ounce of what we call logic!

And if that's what dreaming is really all about, maybe I should knuckle down and try it sometime. Damn you insomnia, you rob me of so much.

And while on the subject of insomnia, I will add this little piece I wrote for my daughter Charlotte when I was stuck in England as she was undergoing brain surgery in Crete (it’s a long story). Although this never made it to press on my own Facebook page, it does appear in my free downloadable book. It was my first foray into writing on demand, so to speak, and it went like this...

Mnyeeownn-bonk-squeak-squeak-clatter-bonk - BLINK. Flight GW350 from the land of nod has just landed. I blink and I am awake. It is ten to four in the morning, and I am awake enough to realise that I have woken up asking myself the question: why am I waking up? Insomnia, the by-product of what’s going on around me right now, is a terrible thing. For a start, it stops you sleeping and as if that wasn't bad enough, well . . . well that is bad enough. And here I am again; awake in the wee small hours, sandwiched between June on the one side and a herd of cats on the other, worrying myself stupid over Charlotte. A bad scenario to say the least. But experienced insomniac that I am, I do not panic.

The first thing I do is to try to pretend that I am asleep, only dreaming that I am awake. I got that idea from a film I once saw. As a never-fail method of getting back to sleep, it is a total failure. It never works. Now I am worrying about not being asleep, worrying about Charlotte and getting more and more awake as I toil for a better, plan B.

The next thing to do is to run a total systems check, just like airline pilots do, to see if there is any particular reason why I should have woken up. Obviously here, the question should have been; why would I want to sleep when Charlotte is in so much pain? But on with the story...

A systems check, takes time and expertise but brings with it a high degree of security and it goes something like this: Brain to bladder, Brain to bladder: systems check and status read out please, over. Roger that brain: bladder reads at 5cms water pressure, micturation drive on auto-pilot, warning lights are green, green and green: ETP is 09:15, over. Roger, bladder: brain to bowel, status check: over. Roger brain: bowel at zero tension right now: we will not evacuate unless alarm sounds continuously, rendezvous point is ramp D in the outside car park, or in the phone box if it is raining, over. And on it goes.

By now I am wide asleep, fast awake in charge of a sleeping nervous system. This is not a good situation since the absence of a specific fault implies the absence of a specific remedy. Time for a plan C.

If the problem doesn’t lie within my body, maybe it’s outside my body. Is the house on fire? No. Is there rioting outside on the streets? No. Hurricanes? Flash floods? Earthquakes? Etc. No, no, no.

Plan D: I decide to try out a cure for insomnia that I read in Readers Digest fifteen years ago. (One possible cure for insomnia is of course reading fifteen year old Readers Digests, though I must add the caution that if you can't find any, the search for them will keep you awake). That if you let your body cool right down, gradually as you warm up sandwiched between your covers, you really ought to nod off. But not for me, not in this house, Oh no.

What is insomnia? I ask. I do not know, I answer. Insomnia is no use to anyone, I add . . . except to people who write pieces like this one for Charlotte to add to her experiences. And just as I begin to think of writing this piece, I notice that I am fast asleep. My last thought is the worry that if thinking about writing this is so soporific, what's it going to be like actually reading it? Let me know when you wake up ... Sweet dreams Charlotte, I love you so much xxx zzzzzzzzzz

AND SO TO SLEEPSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. stephie said...
    Damn man this is by far the best blog you have written yet! Really worthy of being published! I have thought same things about dreams in past! Keep up the great work!
    fat girl gone thin said...
    i teared up reading the part you wrote for Charlotte... i could feel the worry and love coming through the words, even though you cleverly disguised it with humour, your heart was being ripped wide open...
    beautiful writing
    Anonymous said...
    this little hobbit is going to show you around the shire, where she used to live, and show you all the best parts of this country...
    kisses gorgeous, cant wait to hold you

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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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