Dispatches From The iPhone: Who Needs Sleep

I cannot sleep, and I am starting to feel like Macbeth – without the murder. This might be the worst case of consistent insomnia I have ever had. While I have certainly gone through periods without consistent sleep, for the past two weeks I have been averaging 2 to 5 hours a day. I simultaneously feel like both raw sewage and a vibrant god. Not good.
Causes? I am uncertain, but I would think that it stems from being alone for an extended period of time. Since V. left for Thunder Bay my experience of time has been markedly different. I fill as much of it as I can with distractions such as opera, jazz sessions, cooking for any friend who can find time for me, or hooking up with people who I would never otherwise get a chance to drink coffee with. These things are good; often beautiful, but at night I am still alone. In the morning I am still alone. Perhaps it is this lack of human connection that has left my mind unable to rest, to recover from the hard days.

It is so easy for people to forget how important having a person to come home to, to share meals or a bed with can be to the human experience. Purpose, the reason we get out of bed and take care of our bodies, can become shrouded in confusion when we lose the person we shared things with. “Why sleep or eat?” the body says. Such things only remind us that we are alone in this world. Instead, work, walk and think; these actions produce.
My work has been on spot day in and day out for the past month. My last photography session for Paderno produced two of my best product shots ever. My novel writing remains compelling and will yield a life’s work by its end. Teaching has evolved, and despite being exhausted, I am better able to connect with my students so as to provide a better balanced experience. When I talk to others I pay attention to the words being shared, as I value the small connections I can make during the days. Still, I live as I dream (which is never): alone.

So…a little contemplative, I suppose. Still, the connection to this idea of “while we can” is clear: “we” is not the same as “I ,” and both time (while) and ability (can) are affected by
the insular, singular experience. As I sort through my metaphorical boxes and reflect on my life at the half-point, the obvious visual evidence I see is that I have only been happy in the company of others. Friends, family or lovers have always been the reason for a photograph and a smile within the frame. We all need another person on the other side of the camera lens.


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