Friday, September 8, 2017

Of Sleep and (Love) Letters

Sleep problems.

Breath and Breathe.
Bridge, bench, bunch, budge, brunch, billet, boulevard.
Pause, not because I'm sleeping yet, unfortunately, but because my mind is searching for another word beginning with "B."
Brigadier. Seriously,  brigadier? Where did that come from?
Boulevard. Alright, fine, moving closer to my normal lexicon.
And then, out of I-have-no-idea-where,  billet-doux.

If you're wondering, understandably, what I'm doing at 3:40 in the morning, let me point you to this article about an Oprah-approved simple trick to give insomnia the slip. It was developed by a sleep researcher here in my home province, BC, and I've had enough recourse to it lately to know that it works fairly well. Generally, as has happened twice this week, if I wake before 2 because I'm over-heated or my tummy's acting up, I just move to the couch for an hour or two before trying the bed again. But when I wake as late as 3:30 or 4, moving to the couch for a few hours would mean accepting that five hours of sleep was it for the night, and I'd rather not. . . .

So I try Luc Beaudoin's little trick,  pick a word with no duplicate letters, and then begin listing words that begin with one of the letters in that word. This morning, my word was "Best"; after I finished with the "B" words, I moved on to event, even, eventually, earnest, exercise. . . 

I suspect the day may feel long, despite Professor Beaudoin's help, but at least I dredged the word billet-doux from some slough in the vast caverns of cerebral storage.  What are the chances I might work it into a conversation today? Care to supply a sample sentence, anyone? Admittedly, this will require a particular interlocutor (Yes, I'm pulling out all the stops, big-word-wise). Most of us might, at best, muster a "Huh"? when billet-doux features in our girlfriend chat.  Perhaps we need to begin a campaign. Bring back the billet-doux!

So while I'm in a silly mood, care to share? Have you saved any of your old love letters? Or wish you had? Any steamy enough that, while you hate to destroy them, you're reluctant to leave them behind for salacious eyes to enjoy after you're gone? When's the last time you wrote one, or did you never?

How's that for a Friday can of worms? And all because i woke at 3:40 this morning. . .  (and if you want a safer route to commenting, we could discuss insomnia and your solutions. . . )
Happy weekend!

34 comments:

  1. Don't have to wait until I am gone to have someone peep at my love letters to and from....immigration officials have had an eye full as we had to submit them, along with deed to my house, bank records, plane tickets, etc to prove our relationship is "real". Hope they enjoyed them! I certainly enjoyed receiving and sending them.
    Insomnia...since age nine. Latest attempt is magnesium powder in the form of Calm, a product available on Amazon and American drug stores. Has had some effect to the good, especially when coupled with chewable melatonin tablets. God, if I could change anything about my life it would be my choppy sleep.
    A. in London

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    1. OH my goodness! This is the most wonderful comment I could have hoped to elicit with today's post. And that it should be first! I can just imagine those officials: "Hey Josie, have a look at this one."
      And yes, if I had a magic wand, I'd be pretty selfish with my first wave of it. The whole cycle of stress leading to lost sleep just seems so misguided to me.. . such an evolutionary #fail...

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  2. I've been up since 4:10. I consider after 4:00 morning. I just move to the couch in the den. I put on a BBC World Service podcast anytime before that and I usually fall back to sleep since the podcast is my usual dropping off tool. If I really want to hear the podcast, I can replay it during the day. No love letters.

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    1. I'm like that for 5:00, but 4 is just a number too far....When I get up at 5, I'm up and doing my morning pages, and then moving onto the day's activities. A 4 a.m. start?! Oh, I hope never....

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  3. Fingers crossed, insomnia only caused by external forces, but...count backwards from 300 by 3s...in the language of your choice.

    I had some wonderful love letters from a musician/songwriter. The letters were better than he was.

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    1. Ah, the language challenge might make the numbers interesting. Professor Beaudoin's modification really appeals to me as a word person, though.
      "The letters were better than he was." Ha! I wonder if this might too often be the case. . .

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  4. Your insomnia routine is so poetic! Mine involves numbers, so nothing like as evocative! And my love letters are all from men under 25, so, decades old, so, not poetic either...

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    1. You'd probably enjoy trying Beaudoin's approach, being a word person yourself....
      As for the under-25 set, that's where my letters started as well. But as you know, readers, I married him. . . .He was fairly poetic when he tried, once upon a time, but as might be pretty endemic to the under-25s (and perhaps an even wider swath of males), lust was sometimes signalled more obviously than he might have intended, through the claims of love. . . ;-)

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  5. Ah yes, I do have a packet of letters from my first love, written when he was in his 20's--and unread since the '60's, life having moved on. Through an odd twist, and an unexpected kindness, I also now have the letters I wrote to him during that time.
    Yikes! I haven't read any of either packet, and am undecided on my approach: read one set and then the other? Intermingle them in chronological order and read them in the order written? Definitely calls for a long wintry evening....

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    1. This is the stuff novels are made of. . . . A long wintry evening, indeed. . .I'd opt for written them as they were written, the back and forth of it. What a journey that will be, and you'll no doubt be thinking of all the other events that were in the background as these letters were winging their way back and forth. . .

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  6. Oh, I wish people still wrote love letters. The best I can do is a few love e-mails, which just isn't the same. Long time problems with insomnia traced back to PTSD. Today a more external issue -- waiting for Hurricane Irma to hit. We're almost as ready as we can be so the waiting is hard and completely out of our control. What a difficult year with fires, floods, hurricanes and famine. My heart goes out to everyone dealing with these tragedies.

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    1. Hoping that you stay safe. xx

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    2. Thinking of you, hoping for the best. Take care.

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    3. We just got access to the internet back. Trees down everywhere, no power for days, rivers are now at flood stage, but at least in my part of Florida we all survived Irma and are slowly making it back to a new form of normality. Not so true for other parts of the state or Texas so my heart goes out to them.

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    4. Thanks for letting us know you've got through the worst of it, Lynn, but I'm sure there are still tough times ahead with recovery and also with watching the plight of your neighbours. Wishing you the best.

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  7. Lynn L ...can not even begin to imagine your uneasy feelings. Mother Nature is so cruel and unpredictable at times.Thinking of you and yours as you await...take care.
    A.in London

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  8. Lyn L,I hope and wish that Irma doesn't go your way (or any way, sincerely)
    Thinking of you in some kind of shelter or cellar waiting,brings the worst memories to me
    This year was one of the most awful,not only in Mother Nature's way
    All the best
    Dottoressa

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  9. What a great post. I think it's wonderful that we all have a - PAST- I actually burnt letters. I didn't want anyone else to know...if per chance accidentally found.
    Sleepless nights are the usual for me also...almost like clockwork, one week each month. Have you tried Rescue Remedy?

    Ali


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    1. We've discarded of some of the letters that would probably embarrass whichever of our kids found them. Although I wish my parents had hung on to a few of their. . . .
      I don't know about Rescue Remedy. So far, the insomnia comes in patches, which are normally fairly unmanageable. This current patch is a nuisance, though, so I might have to be more proactive. . .

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  10. Oh,I'm so sorry about insomnia
    I need 7-8 hours of sleep and after couple of days without it, I feel awful. I've had sleep problems when I had to decide to retire. My way to deal with it was to watch (I know,it is not recommended,but it worked for me) the most idiotic tv channels,like horoscope advices-their monotonous speech helped
    The most beautiful billet-deux I've received was one simple "I love you" on the pebble received on a beach (no,not from the stone age :-))-I completely forgot about it till now
    It is interesting,I've received more letters from "the letters were better than he was" men,than the right ones
    Than there were letters in sketches (innocent ones) from both sides....
    I hope that I've burned all my letters-if not ,I've forgotten where they are
    Dottoressa

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    1. I'm happy to have reminded you about that very romantic and beautiful "love note" of a tone.
      Just as well you clarified that, about the sketches. . . ;-)

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  11. No love letters . We met at seventeen & were rarely apart for very long . I do have the diary I wrote that year , first glimpse , first impressions, first conversations - young love , heady stuff :) As to insomnia , I've never had trouble sleeping but sometimes I do now . My tricks are visualising a favourite walk & studying everything as I go along or else I mentally work in the garden . Weeding in bed can be therapeutic too !
    Wendy in York

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    1. Wonderful to have that diary of your relationship's beginning!
      I'd forgotten about that "favourite walk" pathway to sleep. I haven't done it often, but sometimes I'll go back to a street or neighbourhood we walked on our travels -- my daughter's first home in Rome is one that really seems to work. Mentally working in the garden instead of counting sheep? You really are a gardener! ;-)

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  12. I can always GO to sleep, its STAYING asleep that is hard. Sometimes I wake up feeling very beaten up and thinking it must be 4:30 (my personal earliest desirable morning) and instead its midnight and I've been asleep for a couple hours only, what a sinking sensation! For me its usually some worry that pounces at that point and works me over. No good solution yet, I must try some of the suggestions above. I used to have an audio tape of a children's author reading a series of stories but these days my hearing is bad enough that it would have to be so loud.....the long suffering dog and husband would be awakened as I drifted off. I'm not sure sleeplessness is an evolutionary fail, when something material is waiting to pounce staying awake might be a good approach?

    ceci

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    1. Haha! That's true about the evolutionary wisdom of staying awake to guard against the potential pouncer.!
      Like you, I can mostly fall asleep, although lately that's been tough as well. But it's that waking at midnight or 1 or 2 and knowing there will be no point even in trying to go back to sleep for at least another hour or two. . .

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  13. Another insomniac friend recently recommended taking a time-released melatonin. When I wake in the wee small hours, it usually helps me get right back to sleep. Otherwise, it's the couch or starting the day at 4. I hope and pray it continues to work!

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    1. I hope it keeps working for you as well. Sleep makes such a difference!

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  14. Wendy, what a divine treasure that diary from your first year is. Even if you read it now and cringe a bit, to have those first impressions recorded as you do is a beautiful thing. Lucky, lucky you.
    A. in London

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  15. My few love letters would be found in a box under a box under a box on a closet shelf, and I don't have a good enough memory for remembering what they said. I wish you success with your insomnia-fighting tools. None worked for me. After too much time, I sought help and have been taking Ambien ever since. It has improved my quality of life profoundly!

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    1. Ah yes, those boxes under boxes under boxes on closet shelves. Mine have been reduced quite strikingly by the move. . .
      Glad you found a solution that gives you sleep to "knit up the ravel'd sleeve of care." Hard to go very long without it.

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  16. Very occasional insomnia, usually quelled by a cup of tea, two McVitie's digestive biscuits, and a Chalet School book. Your billet-doux challenge reminds me of a ghastly project I worked on in my university. To maintain sanity an inner circle among us resorted to working in to meetings quotes (not identified as such) from the TV series Stargate SG-1. Challenging since the series was about aliens. Then again, that was perhaps appropriate for a university.
    'Love emails/texts/PMs/WhatsApp messages' don't have the same ring as 'love letters'...

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    1. No, nor, especially, does sexting. . . .
      But that Stargate challenge sounds fun -- A small cohort at my old campus might have done the same with Buffy. . .

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  17. Good heavens, I have only been away for a week, and look what I missed: four wonderful, emotional and thought-provoking posts!
    So I am a bit late, but I have to add my voice to all the others who responded to your last post about what your blog means to you and to us – your readers. What may seem trivial and normal to you, can, for me, form the empirical basis of an (admittedly rudimentary) analysis of cultural differences vs. generational similarities. In other words: you provide information, ideas, suggestions, and connotations which your readers connect with their own experiences and thus turn into a new way of looking at things. At least, that is what happened to me since I started reading your blog. The things I learnt here have certainly broadened my outlook (and my vocabulary). And many of the comments have had the same effect, not to mention this feeling of belonging to a kind of community, “the International of Mater’s Friends”.  This “cozy place” (to quote Dottoressa) would not exist without you.
    And in answer to your last question: yes, there is a box of old love letters sitting on top of my wardrobe. I may eventually get to them while culling my way through my apartment, but they are not top of the list. There is another batch in an old file, the beginning of a transatlantic correspondence which was continued via email later on.

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  18. A couple of letters tucked away...as for insomnia, the tedium of it can drive you mad. Sometimes I just give in and enjoy the quiet so I can run through my thoughts. Other times, I have a few tricks: go through all the monarchs of England from 1066 to present, in reverse order and then try and match them with their spouses. Usually fall asleep about King John. Or I go through the rooms of houses I have lived in over the last 50 years, schools I have attended...anything to distract myself. Poor old human brain, desperately cycling through the dark hours. Hope it resolves itself.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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