Caution: Incoherence up ahead. Written at four in the morning, left unedited and totally raw. All thoughts disorganized. No fluid train of thought. Just shotgun. This post is prone to severe fragmentation. Beware.
Eyelids, dropping. Head, bobbing. Room, spinning. Vision, blurring.
The knees grow knobby and the wrists, rather wobbly; your entire body is out of its bounds and yet, the mind successfully flies through with ease. It is as if everything else is uncontrollable, falling and floating without due restraint. It’s like your entire life is a puppet, and the strings have been cut. You jumble and you fumble, and use rhyming words within prose, and write—and write rather protractedly so—about just how sleepy you are. But despite all that nonsense you can’t seem to get a grip of, you think like a genius. The best ideas and the most productive thoughts you have come around when you least expect it, when you least prepare for it. That next stroke of genius, that next goodbye you bid your writer’s block uncannily comes to you at four in the morning.
Poe, Baudelaire, Wilde and a good number of other writers—among all other types of genius—have testified to crafting some of their very best pieces in a state of utter intoxication. Poe was an alcoholic; Baudelaire was a druggie; and goodness knows what Wilde was intoxicated with. But for whatever it was they took in, it made them amazing at what they did, and they wrote with such ease, such mastery, such insanity that they couldn’t accomplish such a feat when staying clean and sober.
Was it the rum? Was it the Hashish? What was it that made them so incomparably terrific?
It is the addiction. The addiction to the self-destructive. Total self-giving to something that will consume one’s existence to its very core. See, it isn’t about taking drugs, or drinking and letting your body go numb and just letting your mind fly off that makes you such a genius. Seems to me like intellectual mastery and artistic caliber are bought by selling your soul to some thing.
In Get Him to the Greek—and oh god, I love Russell Brand movies—Brand’s character, Aldous Snow argues with his ex-wife Jackie that he’s stayed clean and sober for seven years. Jackie answers back, commenting on how he exhausts himself with exaggerated yoga. “There’s nothing you don’t turn into a drug,” she forced through her lips; her voice, trembling through the tears she tried to choke back. She had watched her husband slowly sell his soul, and let him kill himself with absolutely anything he could, and it killed her in some, indirect, altogether twisted way.
The thing is, everyone has an addiction. Everyone has something to cling on to and dedicate everything to. Everyone has a personal demon that consumes their every second and invades their every thought-space. Everyone has something missing in them, something imperfect about their lives; everyone uses something to fill up that large, gaping hole that apparently leads up to a massive vortex sucking everything in. Everything, and every bit of you.
And you might like to disagree with me; perhaps you don’t drink as much, or don’t smoke as much. Perhaps you don’t do drugs either. But maybe I could interest you in something more homely and familiar?
Ladies and gentle, I present to you the best and most advanced in skills enhancement—the worst drug known to mankind: sleeplessness.
As you lose control of every joint in your body, as you lay in bed with your eyes closed, your mind continues to wander around places and think up strings and streams of although coherent, however irrelevant words and concepts. In your mind’s eye, the clouds are purple and silver, strained through sieves of silken hair. The earth is floating through a molten bowl of green apple gelatin, and the air is soaked with the dense, bitter scent of peppermint green tea. Life is crunched through gears of a laser clock going backwards, then forwards, on an infinitely alternating half-loop. You’re now thinking of everything and anything that you could ever think of, but all you do is lie in bed and think of it. It is perhaps the worst feeling in the world, when your head is pounding, your throat is sore, your eyes are stinging, your shoulders are tired and your ankles are numb—and yet you have the thought process with the speed of a bullet train.
As we type, I am in bed with my eyes closed, typing this down. (Hurray for touch-type.)
But why are we so addicted to this kind of self-torture. Why don’t we just head off to bed and write this all down in the morning. Why can’t I just let myself sleep? Why is it that regardless of the academic year, I just can’t help but give myself a night or two without sleep.
We tire ourselves out, purposefully, but subconsciously decide to. It is in the nature of man to be addicted to the self-destructive; for it is in the defiance of this process of productive suicide that one proves he can overcome destruction, and pain, and physical human limitation.
So when you’re sleepless, you practically give the system of the universe and all things that exist a much needed, ‘fuck you, I’m hardcore.’ Sleeplessness, workaholism, alcoholism, drug addiction, everything—every single thing that is destroying you is what you keep closest to you, as your personal favorite form of rebellion to the heavens and likewise to the depths of hell.
Fuck sleep, I’ll go update my blog.