Oh yes, definitely not feline – this post relates rather to an uncat. Well, it probably does – though lawyers might argue the point.
This blog has previously mentioned my tendency to insomnia – perhaps one of the reasons I so enjoyed studying Macbeth for O level: he also had a rather difficult relationship with sleep after an unfortunate incident with some daggers (and Duncan, as I recall). For the sake of clarity, I should make clear that I have neither met a triumvirate of strange women on a heath nor engaged in regicide and I have never been Thane (indeed, some would suggest that, on the contrary, I am inthane).
Generally, sleep deprivation does not have a positive impact on a chap (or, I believe, a chapess – though I cannot speak directly in this case). Indeed, these negative impacts are what makes it so useful as a form of torture and thus fall within the purview of UNCAT (the UN Convention Against Torture) – although, as mentioned above, some would argue that it does not.
However, after several weeks of very poor sleep I have discovered a positive side-effect of my affliction. I have suddenly become inspired when it comes to solving cryptic crosswords – a process whose pace can normally be compared with glaciation or continental drift. Now I do love cryptic crosswords – or at least those from The Guardian – but only play with them somewhat infrequently. I have a foxed and faded book of 100 of the Guardian’s finest: and on the current rate of progress I will never need to buy volume 2 (unless the human lifespan is significantly extended in the near future). Solving a clue provides a triple pleasure: the sense of triumph in finding the answer, the joy at understanding the construction of the clue and the satisfaction from having successfully engaged another mind in single combat (the rude might suggest unarmed combat in my case).
Some clues prove particularly resistant to my mental assault – and puzzle number 13 (set by Rufus) had proved a particularly tough nut to crack. However, in recent days, my addled brain has started to solve clues at an unprecedented rate. I’m not entirely clear which of the myriad side-effects of sleeplessness might be providing this boost to my crossword solving skills – perhaps something in the confusion-hallucination space is allowing me to see the clues in a different and, as it transpires, helpful way?
Through the ages, artists have tried using a variety of drugs to allow them to think differently and as a result find inspiration. Have I inadvertently discovered another, entirely legal, route into the Muse’s favour? Is it time to write my first self-help book: one for the struggling artist? Then again, would struggling artists be a particularly valuable market segment to target? Maybe I need to wait for the self-help idea which will appeal to the struggling multi-millionaire…
Great as it has been to finally defeat Rufus (and much as I’d like to see off Araucaria’s No.11), I think on balance I’d prefer to have a few decent nights of sleep (as opposed to Knights of Sleep – a body of heavily armoured men who deliver sleep, each astride a nightmare, at the point of a lance). So, I’m off to my palliasse with the plan to start counting Z’s or sheep or crows (though the last may not be entirely conducive to slumber).