Fun (of a sort) With Insomnia

I’m kidding. It’s not really fun at all. But some people use it with great creative effect.

For me, sleepless nights can be a sign of my manic side popping up to say Hello, Sucker, I’m back. Remember: I’m bipolar. The old name for the malady is “Manic Depression.” I’m with Dr. Kay Redfield Jameson in using the old name. It’s marked in most cases by hyperactivity, sexual excesses (not lately), and spending money like a drunken sailor on a 72-hour pass. Let’s see: I feel creatively amped right now. I would not know a woman if I fell over one. And, in the words of the singer-songwriter Diane Ponzio, I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention. So something I call “creative sleeplessness” kicks in. And that kind of insomnia can be a sign that I’m going into a manic period. In the words of Fozzie Bear, wokka-wokka-wokka.

I’m far from the only person to talk about something while it’s happening. None other than the great English poet George Gordon, Lord Byron, was a masterful chronicler of his (literal) ups and downs during depressive periods. When he was in a manic phase of his illness, he was a fool for anyone with indoor plumbing. That included his half-sister, Augusta, who had to have been pretty mad herself, to become her half-brother’s lover. Byron was born to title and wealth, but he was a serious spender, ran up debts he could not possible pay down. And to chill himself out, he drank heavily and consumed serious amounts of laudanum. Some of his greatest poetry was composed while he was manic.

The same goes for one of America’s greatest poets, Robert Lowell. I don’t know about his spending habits, but Lowell might be classified as a sexual predator and uncontrolled womanizer who also had a fantastic temper. He had been a Harvard college rowing team member, and developed considerable upper body physical strength. During one of his manic attacks, he had to be subdued by four Boston police officers. Four.

So sleeplessness can anchor itself to hyperactivity and make you mishugeh. That’s Mandarin for crazy as a shithouse rat.

It’s awhile since I posted here, sorry to say, but sometimes real life gets in the way; mainly trying to manage money I don’t have, even after the alimony mess is now history. You can’t live on nothing, and that’s pretty much what I’ve got now. If my body would cooperate, I’d love to be able to work again, even if I could get on a bus and teach part-time somewhere in the area. The only games in town are Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Berkshire Community College. But no one is hiring. My best and maybe only hope is to concoct a course and sell it to one of the schools through the Division of Continuing Education. I’d love to be able to volunteer myself, but I also have this fetish about being paid. Not necessarily scads of money, but just enough to take some of the pressure off. That may spell “whore,” but everyone has a price. Right?

Oh! I omitted from my local schools the really eminent Williams College, a few miles over in Williamstown. They don’t hire adjuncts, and certainly no adjuncts without an Ivy League pedigree. To me, Pedigree is the name of a dog food. Not this week.



About Ken Wolman

Sit still, shut up, and listen. We might both learn something.
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1 Response to Fun (of a sort) With Insomnia

  1. Wishing you the comfort of good, deep sleep.


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