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“Bad news, if you’re a professor….”

September 27, 2009


“Motivation is one of the first things to go, say the researchers: the sleep-deprived may be

Yet more of the same: insomnia.

capable of performing tasks, but they give up. Well, at least this is a day I don’t need to be anywhere, do anything. I have never, in more than forty years of teaching, missed a class on account of sleep loss—I say this with some pride—but there have been classes that should never have happened. Classes where I’ve felt like I was underwater, hearing what’s being said but not taking it in, reaching for a word but not being able to retrieve it, groping for a fact to find that it’s gone, and the drone of my voice tells me I’m gone, too—I’m on automatic. I stick close to the text, days like this, I hear the rote, formulaic things that come out of my mouth, but I don’t dare begin a sentence unless I’m absolutely sure how it ends—I don’t even write on the board for fear it will come out chicken scratch, badly spelled chicken scratch.”

—Gayle Greene, Insomniac (2009)

N.B. for the Insomnia Collection at Librivox, click here. For a link to Gayle Greene’s fine book, click here. The benzodiazepines work, insofar as they do, but Gayle Greene isn’t sure of them.

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