This morning my phone rang at 8 o’clock and woke me up. Out of a deep sleep. On a Saturday, which is one of my two sacred days of morning rest. No one messes with my sleep on a Saturday morning – no one. It’s my sabbath, n’es pas? I value my sleep so much that when my kids were small (and I mean prop-up-in-baby-carrier small) I’d stick them at the end of my bed with bowls of Cheerios and let them watch TV for hours at a time – Bozo the Clown, The Magic of Oil Painting, Jack LaLane. Anything that was on TV on a Saturday morning at 5 a.m. was fair game so long as I could sleep through it. Call me a bad mother, I don’t care. I needed my sleep then; I need it now.
This unflagging self-centeredness reminds me of my character Joyce, Glory’s mother in PERSEPHONE IN HELL, You’ll recall that while Glory craves beauty and power in her fantasy queendom, all Joyce wants is to be Cleopatra and sail down the Nile by herself with no one to mess with her. In this scene, Joyce is smoking in bed on a hot and humid Sunday morning.
“Joyce propped herself up in bed and looked around the room at the piles of her beloved books. They were mostly science fiction. She liked books better than she liked most people, maybe even better than her own kids. In fact her books were like her children in many ways. She treated them the same. Just like her kids, her books were not well kept. Not put properly back on the shelf at night, not always read cover to cover or contents appreciated.
Rather, Joyce’s books were dumped in piles surrounding her. Some with torn covers, others fallen behind the bookcase, pages splayed open with coffee stains. Or in a corner, dust covered and crawling with daddy long legs.
When she chose a book to read, she would devour it with pure pleasure. Nothing else would matter. Then, she’d throw it onto the discard pile where it would lie unseen, quite literally for years.”
Sleep, science fiction, kids…what deep dreams are made of.
PS The call was not important.