Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Achilles Tatius, You Are My Homeboy.

I came across an interesting passage in my reading for Ancient (Jewish) Fictions last night. We're currently reading/discussing Achilles Tatius' "Leukippe and Kleitophon," which is a work of the Second Sophistic from around the 2nd Century that tells of the tragic and lengthy saga of the love of Leukippe (a chick) and Kleitophon (the dude) as they traverse many lands, entangle with pirates and military battles, etc. It really is a pretty out-there story. There's a beheading and a gutting -- both fake, of course. There is love, deceit, death and anguish; you name it, Achilles Tatius has it.

But the passage I'm going to share with you hit me like a ton of bricks, because it really defines my sleeping woes. Yes, my sleeping woes. Were you expecting something more profound? As many of you know, I don't sleep a lot, and when I do, it's not such good sleep. I toss, I turn, I wake up at the drop of a needle, and I tend to have extremely vivid dreams and nightmares that leave me reeling. It turns out that Kleitophon has the same problem as me, he just has managed to verbalize it a bit more eloquently than I can. To set you up, Kleitophon is toiling over his love for Leukippe, and he's on his way to bed after a decadent dinner where he got to watch his not-yet lover from afar.

When I reached my bedroom, I was unable to fall asleep. For all diseases and wounds are usually more severe at night; they attack us more at our rest and increase our pain. When the body is relaxed, then a wound is free to fester. And when the body is inactive, wounds of the soul are all the more painful. During the day the eyes and ears are absorbed in leisure in which to suffer. But once the body is constrained in quietude, the soul is set adrift in a sea of troubles. For then begins to stir all that till then slept: woes of the sorrowing, worries of the careworn, imperiled men's fears, the fires of men in love.

Wow, just wow. So those of you who don't get why I can't sleep, there you go. The engine revs up when I lay my head down. For most people, it slows. Mine? No, mine is at full energy! Thank you, Achilles Tatius for verbalizing, via Kleitophon, my woes!


In other, unrelated news, have you done your 10Q today? That's the catchphrase for a website that will prepare you for the new year to come by sending to your inbox everyday, for 10 days, a question with a link where you answer that question on their website. Then, after the 10 days, the question gets locked away for a year, and this time next year you'll get to view the questions and answers. Of course, two of the 10 days are chagim (holidays), but hopefully the links will still be active post-chag. I think it's a pretty snazzy way to do a mini-timecapsule to see where you are now, and where you'll be then.