Monday, October 29, 2007

Candy, Anger and Sleep


Candy is a marginal food group, which is one of the reasons why I love it so much. Also it is delicious. Also - and I truly, truly love this - you don't buy candy to improve your life. You don't spend an entire off-season rebuilding your candy empire while keeping your eyes securely fixed on an eventual title run. Candy is for the now and is therefore what makes us human, our Achilles heel. It is a strategy for remaining off-balance and develops inevitably into the second two terms of life, Anger and Sleep. It both relieves and itches. In this way, it is a rough equivalent of such narrative starters as: Your Wife, Paper Clip Girl, or the Way My Upstairs Neighbor Has Been Polishing His Floors.


The second part of a life of energy, and in some ways the most important.

For example: for a long time now, I've been looking for ways to keep myself off balance. I do this because my life is, for the most part, pretty routine. I find myself unable to read the novels I once loved - why read novels, I ask myself? The sensation is like being shot out of one of those old-style catapults, with plot as the cata- and me as the -pult. What is the purpose of a novel? (ask yourself this with complete honesty - as in, "Why do I pick up this or that novel?) The answer is: to finish it. Same with a story. I mean, I can watch ten minutes of a Seinfeld episode even if I've seen it a thousand times before, and be filled with delight, scorn, love of fellow man. But try opening even your favorite novel to page six hundred and seven, and reading a line, and convincing yourself that this is something you like.

This makes me angry - not the real, out-of-body angry you get when someone cuts you off in the check-out line, but "angry," the force that like Mephistopheles "wills only evil, but does only good." In this way it is the flipside to my joy and maybe only a half-step more honest.


Sleep is what happens after candy and anger, after I have fed my body something it doesn't need and then whipped myself into a state that leads nowhere, leads to nothing. As an American, I am an ecstatic and therefore both terrified of and addicted to waste. I aspire to be one on which "nothing is lost." This is the miraculous dream, right? This is when the stars stand up and start singing out your name like Mouseketeers?

Nap sleep is not like night sleep and this is important to me, since about half my sleep these days comes from naps. Nap sleep is marginal sleep: brief, deep, utterly more pleasurable than the food-pyramid sleep you get at night. Some people want to write a book like a dream, but I want to write a book like a nap.

Of course, one problem with napping is that it can erase borders and make you forget things: your name, for example, or just how long you've been napping. It can want to drag you down like a turbine, closer and closer, you're nothing but sleep, you live to sleep.

Could I live to sleep? Do you live to sleep? And how many people out there are sleeping right now, in their beds or on couches, subways, haybales, laps? How many people are sleeping RIGHT AT YOU as we speak?

Endless sleep is terrifying, it is death or maybe worse than death and at this point it is important to remember that there is always candy.


The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

I would like it if you and Seth wrote a short essay/story each and allowed me to make a downloadble .pdf "book" out of it for Happy Cobra Books. Will you?

Josh said...

sure. Does it have to be about cobras?

The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

Cobras are not necessary at all. Nor COBRA. Nor Cobra Commander. Nor Destro. Nor Serpentor. Nor Major Blud. Nor the Baroness. Nor Storm Shadow.

Drop me a line at happy.cobra at earthlink dot com and we will discuss it further.

The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

Oh. Also.