Site Meter Peculiar Susceptibility: Good idea or lack of sleep?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Good idea or lack of sleep?

It could well be the lack of sleep that's behind this idea, but I am really taken with it.

One of the theories about what was so unnerving about hysteria in the 19th century was that it disrupted language, so that signifiers and referents would become blatantly unhitched in the mouths of the patients. This relationship to language was part of the reason I wanted to write the series of poems in the first place. What better than poetry to deal with this sort of fear?!

I've struggled off and on with insomnia for my as much of my life as I can remember. It wasn't really until I was older, though, that it started to make me panic when I couldn't sleep. As a child, it just seemed like one of those things that sometimes happens - and it allotted me time to myself that was still and quiet, something I've always already needed anyway.

I hardly slept at all last night, maybe and hour and a half - 5:30-7:00 a.m. It's 9:44 p.m. right now.

Halfway through this morning I had the idea to start of cycle of poems only written when extremely exhausted. Exhaustion unhinges my ability to use language (I can't tell you how hard I am concentrating now to write this!) just enough that interesting things begin to happen. I'm not certain that the poems from these cycles would end up finished in themselves, but they are certainly things I'd be hard pressed to come up with in other states.

So, here's the idea that makes me excited. What if I created a new section of the hysteria/Charcot book based on these insomnia poems? They certainly mirror the radical disjunction of the language the patients used (at least insofar as how it's represented in the medical journals).

It seems like a really good idea now. I shall have to put it to the test when I've slept.

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