Sunday, February 07, 2010

Living with the demons of the night

Another week passes when nothing at all happens, nothing is said or done and I am starting to feel invisible again. I've read my recent crop of books and things are getting so desperate that I might start getting books from the library. The trouble is that I like to own my books and to read them at leisure, often over and over because I miss so much on the first reading.

However, I'm not here to discuss books, that is a subject better left for a much longer dissertation than this is destined to be. Forget books, they only give us ideas above our station and cause trouble anyway.

Last night, (there is nothing like a quiet Saturday night in) I sat here in my comfy kennel in silence. Telly off, because, to be quite frank about it, it's mostly puerile rubbish anyway. I didn't have my stereo on and I didn't feel like playing with my PlayStation. I've already mentioned that I've read all of my new books -that's a hundred and eight quid I'll never see again - and all I was doing basically was contemplating my navel and cogitating pensively.

Then I had a mini epiphany... The whole place was silent! Normally at about nine at night, there is maybe a bit of music to be heard faintly, a telly on that little bit too loud or someone chatting rubbish to his pal out of the window. Last night - not a sound. In fact, I bet there are graves where there is more noise.

This got me to wondering. What are they all doing in those cells all around me? Reading? Studying? Writing a letter home? Watching the telly? They would be doing all of those things, certainly, but there would be a a few who were simply lying on their beds, maybe even in the dark, and they would be living inside their own minds. Thinking of family, friends, brooding on enemies and the ills done to them, regrets, sorrows, and in some cases downright misery.

Of course, the dragon-chasers would be doing none of those things. All they are doing is wondering who they can lie to to get their next short-lived trip to a false oblivion. I don't want to waste my typewriter ribbon on them, so we will leave that little lot to their own devices.

Yes...all around me there would be men experiencing all of the emotions the writers have been scribbling about for centuries. How do I know this? Well, I'm glad you asked because I can help with that one. I know all this because I have experienced it all for years. Countless nights have been spent living inside my own mind. I've gone through the brooding, the hatred, the blame, the regrets, the sorrow and all of the other things too, and there was a time when it turned me quite mad.

Then I discovered the secret of life in prison - how to survive the nights. The days are easy, it's the nights where the demons live. Whenever I started to brood on the ills done me I would instantly get out of my bed and start to read or write, anything to stop my mind from travelling the road to rage and anger.

It works too!

In addition to that, the reading and the writing tires out the mind, and that is inducive of good sleep. It is no matter how tired the body is, that can be fully rested by simply lying down for a few hours. But sleep, that healing sleep, needs a tired mind.

I sleep well enough these days but that wasn't always the case of course. It must be the reading - and perhaps the little bit of writing I do helps too.

So, in conclusion, may I give a little bit of advice to those who suffer from any form of insomnia - have a good read, and the more boring the book the better. Having said that, I have to admit that I found Leon Uris a great writer and most people think he's boring, but that's probably more a reflection on me than it is on them. I once read Archbold Criminal Pleading Evidence and Practice 1992 from front to back and found it quite interesting, so perhaps I'm not the best judge of what constitutes a good read.

Finally, a story. Yesterday, a female kanga asked me if I was okay. I must have been looking a bit off! I jumped at my chance.

"No," I said, "I'm not."
"What's the trouble?" asked she.

"My brother has been diagnosed as having Zachary's disease."

"Oh. What's that?"

"His face is Zachary like his arse."
The Voice In The Wilderness

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