Resting Up

I love to sleep. It’s one of my greatest pleasures. In some obscure way, I’m aware that I’m asleep—it makes me happy. I have also spent a lot of time in a hypnogogic state—between sleep and waking. It’s creatively rich, if sometimes emotionally tumultuous.
I’ve been reading REST: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (Basic Books). It’s a thesis after my own heart, after all, I not only like sleeping, I like just plain lying down and staring into space.
And the book goes into some neurology of rest and creativity. The author notes that most people—from writers to scientists—can only do about three hours of intense creative work a day. The rest is just fiddling around, without much result. This has been my experience, and I’ve built a kind of secret life around it, where I don’t “work” for that many hours a day, but base my focus on producing rather than on time spent. For example, my goal has long been to to publish a book a year—or curate a big project annually—rather than work on it forty hours a week.
Other artists may experience life differently, but I found the book affirming. One take away—while Hitler never napped and actually stopped sleeping towards the time of his defeat (fueled by speedy drugs) Tolkien and Darwin were regularly nappers. And who would you rather be?

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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