For as long as I can remember, I have had difficulties falling asleep or sleeping badly, or at least, not getting enough sleep. And, at times, I have been the quintessential Insomniac, going on for several days and nights in a row with hardly any sleep. I've stopped keeping track of how many times I stayed up during nights, watching the sun come up, often going out for an early morning stroll, being witness to a world awakening. And no, none of this was or is because of me taking weird pink pills or any other chemical stuff. And I am not hearing voices either.
It's just exactly as in the famous Faithless song: ''I can't get no sleep''.
My ever Ever Wandering Witty Brain basically acts and works like a spunge, soaking everything up, that is continiously being triggered, is constantly thinking, creating, visualising, making plans.
So, it's not surprising that these periods of Insomnia are also the ones of an extremely hightened creativity. Like a volcano about to erupt. Now, I always feel the need to create, to draw, to paint, to write. That is a very basic, crucial need, one that comes from deep within me. But during those insomniac times, when I hardly get any sleep or no sleep at all, it's like one big creative explosion in my mind, and it comes out in waves and waves of sketches and drawings, of writings, notes, ideas, and so on.
It's as every bit as exciting as it is exhausting.
Well, work goes on, no compromise there. I am a professional, after all and I gotta job to do. And, though you might expect otherwise, my other work does not suffer as a consequence from my periods of sleep deprivation. I just work around it. The way I see it, I all of a sudden am able to make the most of those 24 hours in a day. And, I hasten to add, those periods of insomnia don't last too long. After a while, I do get tired and more or less fall back into a relatively normal sleeping pattern. That is: feeling tired enough to want to go to bed, fall asleep and not waking up too much during the night.
So, I've tried to come to terms to my on-and-off relationship with Insomnia, whom I've come to see as a dear, old friend. But a difficult friend, one who's unpredictable and demanding and known to show up at the most inconvenient times. But, still, a dear friend as she (for me, it's a she) has come to know me veru well, unlike most people I have come to know, and she has been the katalyst for some of the most intense artwork I have made.
Bottom line: I do not resist. When Insomnia calls, I do not resist. That's our deal: she gets her quality time, so to speak. Perhaps it is I who keep her company during those nighttime hours, not the other way around. In return, she does not really overstay her welcome and makes sure she is gone after a couple of nights together. That way, I can happily revert back into Morpheus' arms.
'Sleep No More' was, like many of my recent work, created during such a period of little sleep and hypercreativity. But it was for the first time I realised I managed to capture the image of my sleeplessness, in both its most haunting and haunted state. When I shared some previews on my Instagram, some people commented that it reminded them of nightmares. Now, for me, that is not really the case but I can see where they are coming from. To me, 'Sleep No More' is just another way of paying tribute to some of the most powerful forces that has enabled me to create some of the best of Witty Art. It makes perfect sense to me.
You gotta treasure your Muses, and here is one!
So, here's to you, Insomnia. May you be my nightly companion for the rest of my life, though not every night. I'd prefer our relationship to be one of ''Living Apart Together''.