I don’t sleep.
Not strictly speaking, obviously, because if I didn’t sleep at all I’d be, in a word, dead. By which I mean dead in the literal, physiological sense, in the way Immanuel Kant is dead or Ronald Colman, as opposed to a looser interpretation—e.g. “Vaudeville is dead,” or Latin, or to be dead emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. In point of fact, I do sleep as many as three or four hours, perhaps even five on a good night. But according to the National Institutes of Health that leaves me two hours in the red, 14 hours for the week and 730 hours—exactly one month—for the year. As a result, NIH estimates I’ve taken 11.4 years off my life, more or less, which may not be altogether bad, as those might well be 11.4 years of decline, decrepitude and the creeping onset of a kind of sour smell. Instead, I have an extra waking month each year in the relative prime of life for writing, painting and making love. Or in my case, fear, anxiety and self-loathing. Which is why I don’t sleep. That and the fact that I drink too much coffee. Of course, Balzac drank 40 cups a day and he produced La Comedie Humaine. On the other hand, he died at 50. But at least he was awake for it.