Thursday, February 24, 2011

That Restless Pillow

"A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow."
- Charlotte Brontë
“Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles” - Vincent van Gogh, Oil on canvas, 1888

Oy. Was my mind ruffled last night. I tossed and turned and had no more than a few hours of sleep added together last night.

I can't blame it on the bed, as poor Vincent could obviously have done. It's been said that many of Van Gogh's 'issues' stemmed from the fact that he suffered from severe insomnia for so long. Well, by the looks of his bedroom, it's easy to see the reason for his lack of sleep. My back hurts just looking at that bed.

No, I have a perfectly lovely bed.

My mind was just...ruffled. I think that's such a pretty way to describe the undulating thoughts and images that sometimes float incessantly through our minds at night. Charlotte Brontë is brilliant.

Unfortunately, the result of that ruffling is not so pretty.

I don't require a lot of sleep. Usually, if I can get in five hours or so, I'm golden. Occasionally, I'll get seven or so hours, and that sometimes makes me as groggy as no sleep. What's up with that?

I do need some sleep regularly, though. All wake and no sleep makes Jo a very cranky lady.

When we were growing up, My Twin and I attended many, many slumber parties (again, what's up with that euphemism? No slumber party I ever attended had the slightest little thing related to slumber as part of it). It didn't take long for my very wise mother to learn to send Jo directly to bed upon her return home from one of these parties. Normally a very compliant, easy child, Sleepless Jo was a weepy, touchy girl, someone no one wanted around for long.

Look out, world, Sleepless Jo has returned.

There is no "typical" reason for these bouts of insomnia, at least not for me. It's as if my brain, which usually categorizes and prioritizes my tasks, errands, worries, and responsibilities quite efficiently throughout the day (without much help from me, I might add), short circuits, causing this power surge of ruffling thoughts.

The dog goes to the groomer today. I need to edit that piece for the ballet company. How's Mom doing? Those photos will be ready by noon today.  I left laundry in the dryer! I wonder how a dear one handled his chemo this week? Lunch with Konnie today!...ruffle, ruffle, ruffle.

There was no rhyme or reason to the cascading ruffles of thoughts last night. But I am only slightly groggy now, and I'll be just fine after a bonus cup of coffee this morning. I'm grateful for my lovely bed, my beautiful family, and even for the curious mix of thoughts that invade my sleep. I'll try hard not to be weepy and touchy today. The silver lining to my insomnia must surely be all the tossing and turning I did last night. I'm counting that as my daily exercise.

Today, I wish for you an unruffled mind.

I have a love/hate thing going on with Franz Liszt. I always thought he must have been a hard man to like. I imagine most Hungarians to be fairly imperious and intimidating people (unfair, I know), and Liszt would have been the president of that club.  Not a really warm and fuzzy guy.

Then I found that he suffered from insomnia, and it made perfect sense. Some even say that insomnia contributed to his death. Yikes.

So today, I've chosen this sonata by Liszt to share with you. A sonata is a composition for keyboard (usually) made up of 3 or 4 movements of varying moods and intensities, but most often melodic and slow. Not this one. I imagine Liszt to have composed this after a night of merciless insomnia.

Gergely Boganyi performs The Liszt sonata in B Minor is performed by Gergely Boganyi here in 1996. Though only 22 years old at the time, he also won the prestigious International Franz Liszt Competition in Budapest that same year.

This movement is long, but well worth watching. Boganyi's hands are a marvel to observe, demonstrating both tenderness and power with equal ease. Thank you to my friend, Leni, for sharing this with me...Enjoy!


  1. All that balance from yesterday, whisked away by a night of insomnia. Dang, man. I hate it when that happens.

    Why not be weepy and touchy today? You are a human being and therefore entitled to being a three-dimensional animal.

    Go ahead and be a wreck for one day, yes? I say yes. Sometimes these things just need to move through, like a storm system.

    OK. Will stop telling you what to do now. Much love and hope tonight is more peaceful.

  2. I have wondered lately, as a newcomer to blog responsing, is it proper blog etiquette to comment on the authors thoughts, or engage in a mini comment of one's own. What i will leave here will be my feelings and wait for the an answer as to the appropriateness of those. Jo, were you peeking at my dreams last night? I, too, awoke thinking, are these restless thoughts of any merit? Do I need a soul cleansing or what??? Let's just blame it on the barometer changes and live a guilt free day, what d' ya say.....

  3. Thank you, Reya. You are right, of course.

    Normally, I'd go ahead and crank away. But I will resist today in honor of a daughter, granddaughter, and friend who will join in most of the activities today, and though they would all understand, do not deserve to be in the path of the storm.

    Surely I catch up that lost sleep tonight.

    Your caring concern shines through, as always. Thanks, dear friend.

  4. Patty, I guess every blog is different, and each blogger has his/her own purpose for thier blog.

    I look at my daily post as the starting point for dialogue, so please feel free to continue the conversation.

    I welcome all comments, as long as they are respectful to all visitors.

    I promise, Patty, I wasn't peeking. ;-)

  5. Reya is wise! I will follow her advice today myself.

  6. YES. Reya is very wise, indeed, Donna!

  7. OK this is my third time to comment so if this doesn't work...

    Talk about me going non stop? You are the energizer bunny this week! But you will be able to catch up on your sleep once Andrea goes back to Portland.

    My night of sleeping was going great until 1:30 wnen the new (pain-in-the-butt) puppy (Hoss) started crying after being let out and wouldn't shut up until Ol' Grumpy Butt got up at 5:00. A visit to the Vet yesterday to get shots and apparently the side effects of the shots were sleeplessness and obnoxious behavior. So that led to Mr. and Mrs. Cranky pants! And Hoss is now sleeping wonderfully. Oh well I will catch up tonight too...

    Another great post! Love Van Gogh and your musical maestro does have amazing hands and was very interesting.

    Much love to you and peace today and always!

  8. jo i wake every night for an hour or two and in that time reorganize and structure the day becoming. it's not always pretty and sometimes has chaotic results because while i am organized, i'm too tired to act effectively on the organization. but sometimes those sleepless times are frutiful as i wash through the pieces of life's laundry that need another cycle! steven

  9. Oh, Goodness, Vicki...that's not insomnia, that's like having a baby again!

    I hope you have a peaceful night tonight, filled with deep slumber and pleasant dreams. Preferably not about dogs.

    much love,

  10. Hi Stephen! I, too, usually rise and get some form of work done (nothing requiring too many brain cells), but with a full house these days, there are precious few places to go without disturbing someone else's sleep.

    One more reason to wish for warm weather, when wee-hours-of-the-morning stargazing is the best option by far!

    I always look forward to your visits, Steven. Thank you so much for coming.

  11. Jo, I use sleep to escape (hide?). I feel so safe when I sleep and I have been blessed with few occasions of insomnia. So, your ruffled night is, I hope, a rare occurrence.

    Your mention of slumber parties, of course, got me thinking of our childhood in Ruskin. Surely we were at some of the same slumber parties???! I know you are right: very little slumber, but lots of fun.

    Here's to a great night's sleep, my friend.

  12. Ah, we're on the same wave length today. Thank you for the Liszt. He's been on my mind today since watching The Interlude on TCM last night.

  13. I agree, Jan. I never complained about going to bed, even as a child. I loved the feeling of being safe and secure under the covers.

    We must have been at the same parties...I wonder where the photographic evidence would be?

    Thanks for the visit, and for the good wishes for tonight. I appreciate them both.

  14. Dang, Tess. I'm sorry I missed that movie, as I have never seen it. I'll have to check it out now.

    Here's hoping we both enjoy a lovely visit to slumberland tonight. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Hi, Jo. I'm back to anonymous since my google account is giving me fits. I have tried a few comments but they are deleted when I try to post them. Anyway, not on the sleep topic but I was fortunate to visit Arles on a trip to France in 1999 - saw the bedroom, and the church, and wheat fields on a gorgeous sunny day full of the same light that Van Gogh must have painted by. Magical! One of my favorite travel memories.

    I had loved this painting from the Masterpiece game that I played with my siblings when in high school and college and then later with my adult siblings and our kids. What a thrill when I saw the original in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris!

    I always thought this little room looked like the perfect place to take nap! Hope you are sleeping as it's 1:45 am your time. ♥♥ Kathy Goddard

  16. P.S. My family gets most of it's art appreciation from the Masterpiece game! My kids and their cousins always wanted the painting of the Lipchitz because of the Dr. Lipschitz character on Rugrats. The adults ( I use the term loosely) just thought the name was funny. Kathy Goddard

  17. Dear Google Account,

    Kathy Goddard is NOT anonymous. Please give her name back and let her keep it.

    Thanks for the comment, Kathy! Your memory of seeing Van Gogh's bedroom is awesome...thanks for sharing it.

    When I went to France, I skipped Arles and went straight to Giverny.

    But, OHHHH. The Musee d'Orsay is a great big slice of heaven on earth, isn't it???? ♥

    Note to self: Get the Masterpiece game.

  18. Man, maybe I should go anonymous too. Did you know that everytime I make a comment, even on blogs of my own, I have to jump thru major hoops because when I first set up blogger I had a different email. so if i've got email opened or even facebook (same email) it causes the f*&^ng trouble maker to put me thru hell. Arggggg!

    Anyway, I'm probably just cranky for lack of sleep. Sweet dreams. Enjoy your last moments with Andrea.

  19. Bummer. Cursed technology. ;-)

    Sleep well tonight, dear friend.


Your visit makes my heart smile. Thank you.