So, a full week back on the old sleeping tablets and frankly, it’s great. I’ve had a couple of nights where I haven’t fallen asleep immediately (or at least within my half hour ideal), but that’s mostly been a result of the aggravation of Britain’s brief heat wave. I have dug out my enormous-dog-sized cooling mat which I leave in the fridge all day then lay it on the bed and pillow for ten minutes before I subject myself to the bodily shock of lying on top of the icy layer. I reckon that cold shock itself does something good for dozing off. I am slowly getting used to the weird amitriptyline hangover – that peculiar lethargy and fuzziness first thing in the morning which makes it oh so easy to fall back to sleep. Easy enough that I’ve had to set a second alarm forty-five minutes later to catch me. That’s as disruptive as not sleeping for getting up and getting along with stuff first thing in the morning, but I believe I’m getting there. I did manage to scribble a short story on Monday morning, but I haven’t felt any need to maintain this mental health track. Dude, I’m sleeping again and that feels very good indeed. And with sleep restored that’s reduced any other mental quibblings to ignorable background noise (absolutely the recommended approach for internal feelings…)
Despite my absolute loathing of being too warm, I’ve been enjoying this week’s sunshine. I mean, I’ve had the window open all day for weeks anyway, but now I definitely need to apply sunblock just to sit at my desk. I’m rather looking forward to being in the coldest room of an old Victorian house this weekend for my dad’s 70th. Even though my old bedroom has been redecorated multiple times and lost all the trappings of myself at least a decade ago (alright, so the last hundred or so books only came out earlier this year!), it has continued to feel like a peaceful haven. It is of course the old servant quarters, and is alarmingly and unexpectedly two steps down from the rest of the first floor. It’s only one of the odd things I’ve always liked about it. When I was much younger there was a fire escape immediately outside the window, which led to what was once the separate flat on the second floor. With a big sash window it was the easiest thing in the world to hop out of it in the early hours of the morning. That’s how I spent many of my teenage insomniac nights, just going out for a smoke and wandering the streets at three in the morning. The fire escape was ironically an utter death trap, but I rather miss it. That, and the endless (sometimes poorly) fitted cupboards, wardrobe and sink. Love a bedroom with a sink in it. My bedroom felt like a self-contained unit, having its own exit and source of water, filled with hidey-holes and eventually an awesome amount of junk – much of it on the walls. For a few happy years I even had a beautiful little cat who lived in there with me, lovely Holly. The fire escape was good for her too, with a cat flap cut into the glass so she could hop in and out. I have so few continuous memories from those years, but I still miss her terribly.
I remember a lot of essay writing, lounging on a big Garfield cushion (possibly acquired from Castle Donington car boot sale), painting miniatures (badly) and reading. Lots of reading. It’s not a space that really has other people in it, not in my memories at least. Strange that. Well, some more from sixth form I guess, but it feels patchy before that. Peaceful loneliness for a big chunk of my teenage years, perhaps. Though now that I’m paying attention and focusing on it, I reckon I can detect or recreate sleepovers with a knackered fold-up bed. Dammit – yeah. Trying to go to sleep after watching An American Werewolf in London, terrified that my sleeping over mate would turn into a werewolf as I slept. Such a good transformation sequence! We definitely watched that one too young, but if I recall correctly the VHS tape came along with a bunch of Michael Moorcock books from a mail-order service. Even younger, I remember curling up with my brother and sister in a tight little nest as we tried to process what our parents getting divorced meant for us. And my brother hiding in the airing cupboard one Christmas Eve so he could catch Santa/dad in the act of filling a stocking. He fell asleep; I totally forgot he was there, and it took a panicky hour or so to find him on Christmas Day.
I have clearer memories of Blu-tacking various posters, scraps from newspapers, postcards and photographs to the walls; the excised pages from Dr Faustus after we gutted the play to perform at sixth form – actually we performed it at The Brewhouse, a proper theatre and everything. It all feels very jumbled. I wonder what else will pop back into mind later. OH YEAH – and the room had a goddamned attic too. Perfection.
So I guess this is where I am today, bumbling around in my half-forgotten past.