Kavan, Anna

At Night

A personal secret: I, like many, have long succumbed to seemingly endless bouts of insomnia. It’s not clinical, and I love sleep very much, but I often have a difficult time performing when called on to do so. Bedtime stories don’t help much, because once I find one I’m particularly fond of, I will read all night. Another personal secret: I, Miette, am a bit compulsive with the reading. This could well be clinical, but I’ve never been fond of DSM labels, as we all know.

That said, tales of psychological woe and emotional duress I could read ceaselessly, even rapaciously, with medicative effect. Anna Kavan’s one of the best there is in that regard: an insomniac, a junkie, as depressed as they come, and a master of self-actualisation through language to boot. So I couldn’t sleep again last night and woke up cranky, then read At Night, and no longer felt the hours spent tossing about last night were wasted. I mean, I don’t have it that bad.

“At Night” can be found here, in Asylum Piece, Kavan’s collection of short recollections on her time spent in various asylums.

Hopefully bedtime stories are more effective for you than they are for me. That’s the point, right? Sweet dreams.