I’m Only Sleeping

Once you hit twenty five or so you realise that sleep has to be the most underrated leisure activity. It’s said that the soldier’s greatest skill is to be able to sleep anywhere and anytime. The world would undoubtedly be better if everyone slept more often.

I’ve had periods of intermittent insomnia, an unrequited love for sleep. I still remember reading Nikki Sixx’s diaries on the sofa at four in the am, wrapped in an old throw, a cat crashed out on my chest. I don’t suffer from insomnia now, although I do dream a hell of a lot. I won’t bore you with my dreams (other people’s dreams are about as interesting as other people’s careers) but suffice to say they’re not lucid: I never know that I’m dreaming and have been known to talk and walk around in my sleep. And there is a lot going on. My dreams are like a bad first novel: too many characters, too many ideas.

I draw no particular significance from the dreamworld. The basic psychological theory, that the content of dreams is no more than the overflowing hoover-bag of the subconscious and memory, sounds about right to me. 

The memories of the dreams themselves generally disintegrate upon waking, but recently I have tried making an effort to remember them. It can be done, just about, and I’ve even based a couple of short stories on things I’ve dreamt of. I thought I had something this morning – it was an original setting, with a beginning and a middle but not an end. Maybe it’ll come together, maybe not.

In his Danse Macabre, Stephen King said: ‘I am a writer by trade, which means that the most interesting things that have happened to me have happened in my dreams’. But in my experience, dreams aren’t that good for material.



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