It’s a frantic start. I leap out of bed:
“Bloody hell! I’m late!”
I’ve gotten into this terrible habit, in the middle of my sleep: When the alarm clock goes off, I yank its cord out of the wall. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know if that thing has a snooze button: I’ve never had to use it. And I wish I could give up the habit, but I do it when barely awake. So, it’s kinda like sleep walking. Sleep yanking.
The thing is: I LOVE to sleep. I can hibernate for hours. I sleep to cope with stress, loss, life. I sleep on the road. I’ve got no problem sleeping in cars, planes, tents; in new beds, in new towns. The bigger the change — the longer I take to wake up. Sometimes, I think I sleep to return to my innocence; or to somewhat restore it, at least.
And once I’m out, there is no noise that can wake me.
Motha always jokes:
“Ze Russian tanks rrollin’g thrrough town von’t vake you.”
(This — is Russian humor. Welcome!)
But on the other hand, I never seem to have enough time in the day to get shit done; so I rarely want to get to bed, at night.
First, there are my survival gigs: The hustle.
Then, there are auditions and my projects of choice: The very reason I’ve landed in LA-LA.
The rest of my time is gobbled up by writing. Every week, the art claims about forty hours. I’ve counted them the other day because I began to wonder why I was always so tired: constantly wanting to sleep, but never wanting to get to bed; sleeping past the alarm, then running late for the rest of the day.
I clock-in for it every day, first thing in the morning. And it must be the only reason I get to bed at all: to recharge the brain and to start from scratch, all over again. To return to my innocence — or to somewhat restore it. To remember it, at least.
The rest of my comrades — are sleepless as well. First of all, most of the time they’re hungover on jet lag, not remembering in which timezone they’ve landed a few days ago. They are artists, bohemians, gypsies: They sleep in my car on the way to or from LAX. My comrades play by their own rules, live by their own clocks, in timezones of their invention. They wear their watches like eccentric wristbands. They use their phones and the bedtime of their beloveds to tell time. And there have been many nights we’ve used to reconvene, while the rest of the world has long gone to sleep.
Because our love must be how we return to our innocence — or how we restore it, somewhat, at least.
“Bloody hell! I went to bed at five this morning!” my brother from New York is always likely to tell me. His voice is raspy when he wakes, but child-like. Give him a cup of coffee and eggs with chocolate (a recipe of his own invention) — and he is ready to play again.
He should be here, in a few days; and for a week, my sleeping schedule will get jolted into a strange line-up of sleepless nights, midnight talks, crashing on couches, mid-day showers, and running late. But there will also be tearful laughter, endless talks of art and love; and a closeness so intimate, it will rejuvenate my hopes for the human kind. And even if it won’t return me to my innocence — it will somewhat restore it, at least.
Back in my college days, a decade ago, I used to be able to pull off weeks of not sleeping. The weight of the world used to be on my shoulders — or at least, the world’s most poignant questions. But then, none of us slept those days, especially before finals or the deadline to send our college newspaper to the printing house. We were young artists, bohemians, writers, dreamers — lovers of the world. We already suspected we couldn’t return the world to its innocence; but, perhaps, we could restore it, somewhat: with our art, our hopes, the poetry of our youth.
With New York City as our playground in the backyard of our college, there never seemed enough reasons to get to bed. But once we did — often at five, six in the morning — there was no noise that could wake us. We slept calmly, as the innocent do; but only for a couple of hours, before class (and before starting the work from scratch). Because there was nothing to restore yet. Our hearts were full. And we still knew — how to love.
But today, it’s a frantic start. I leap out of bed:
“Bloody hell! I’m late!”
These days, I’m always seemingly late. There is never enough time — to return the world to its innocence, to solve its most poignant questions — and there is less and less of it, as I get older.
The somberness of the day set-in as soon as I checked-in with the world before sitting down to work: A decade ago, we have all lost our innocence — in New York City; and for the rest of the world, restoring it got a lot harder.
But we continue to clock-in, every day: my comrades, artists; bohemians, poets; lovers, beloveds.
Because even if we cannot restore the world’s innocence, we can at least preserve our own. That is the meaning of an artist’s life; his or her most poignant responsibility.