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To Sleep, Perchance To Read

July 17, 2015

I enjoy editorial work. I had a chance to do some recently for The Rumpus.BlankVertSpace.4pixels

My Evenings Reading Alone by K. Thomas Kahn is, like many Rumpus essays, intensely personal. The author tells how his partner’s snores literally drove him into a forgotten world: a world of books, where he becomes reacquainted not only with certain authors, but also with himself. Here are the opening lines:BlankVertSpace.4pixels

One night, out of nowhere, he started snoring: laboringly so, the walls bending away from his exhales, so that even the cat crept off to sleep somewhere else. I lay awake reciting the Rime of the Ancient Mariner backward to no avail; try as I could, I couldn’t map my breathing to his.BlankVertSpace.4pixels

Certain lines conjure up images for me. Combining images can create some interesting results. Consider this passage:BlankVertSpace.4pixels

They fitted him with a CPAP mask… Through the hissing darkness, I would roll over and see a massive shadow with a tentacled snout… I would go out on the balcony and see stars, jutting out my index finger as if I had an audience toward bodies like Lepus or Orionblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

guy on balcony overlooking city Orion in night sky holding lion head many stars constellation cancer crab big dipper

blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

detail image guy on balcony overlooking city Orion in night sky holding lion head many stars constellation cancer crab big dipper

blank vertical space, 32 pixels high… we somehow succumb to sleep, like a man hanging by his fingers at a cliff’s edge succumbs to the valley below… the plummet into the dark continent a refuge… Drinking from the waters of Letheblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

two men climb ladders jump off stack of sleeping z's dive into waters of oblivion spirits souls slumbering below surface lost in arms Morpheus

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detail image two men climb ladders jump off stack of sleeping z's dive into waters of oblivion spirits souls slumbering below surface lost in arms Morpheus

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highI began sleeping in the spare room…. I slept surrounded by books we’d shipped by freighter, and some nights I imagined—my nights were all fantasies; I had escaped the from the epicenter of snores but I must have known we were living out a metaphor—that I could still smell the water on their spines, long-since sloughed away.blank vertical space, 24 pixels highguy on desert island can't sleep snoring noses circling like sharks ship in distance S.S. Dewy Decimal bringing books to fight insomnia

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detail image guy on desert island can't sleep snoring noses circling like sharks ship in distance S.S. Dewy Decimal bringing books to fight insomnia

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highI began to sleep without him, and instead began to sleep with others: Proust, Mann, Borges, Woolf, Akhmatova, Dickinson… I didn’t know that I would later thank him for giving me the night, or rather the company of night. In Vertigo, W. G. Sebald confesses: “It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.”BlankVertSpace.4pixels

The doctors… gave him pills; and when the pills didn’t help him, I started taking them instead… For years, it was the only way I knew how to sleep. I found refuge in the books… my books, forgotten books offering a treasure if only I could read them properly.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

I enjoyed the thought of him transitioning from pills to books, and escaping his partner’s sawing wood.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Guy in bed sleeping mouth wide open sleeping pills turning into books chainsaw handsaw cutting log snoring sheep jumping over book

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highSometimes mistakes don’t jump out at me until after I scan my work. My original pillow was much too small for the man’s head. I had to perform a little digital surgery before proceeding. I also repositioned my signature so it was less intrusive. Definitely a big improvement.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highBlankVertSpace.4pixels
before after compare sleeping man enlarged pillow made wider so looks correct proportions adjusted for better fitBlankVertSpace.4pixelsblank vertical space, 24 pixels high
detail image Guy in bed sleeping mouth wide open sleeping pills turning into books chainsaw handsaw cutting log snoring sheep jumping over bookblank vertical space, 32 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highUltimately the author looks back on the experience with gratitude. He may be awake at night, but he’s with his beloved books. Here’s the last line of the essay:BlankVertSpace.4pixels

There are still some nights when I wonder whom he’s keeping awake now, but I always circle back to the fact that I’m awake now—and I say a quick, quiet thanks, both to him and to the books, and return to fingering the spines.

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Ever been kept awake by someone’s snoring?

Do you like to read going to bed? Any recommendations?

Can you recognize any constellations besides Orion? (Alas, he’s the only one I know.)

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, please click the Like button below.

If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon or one of the other Share buttons.

I also invite you to get updates. Just click the Get Updates button in the sidebar below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or click + Follow in the blog menu bar.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you’d like to buy prints or greeting cards, click on any of the large preview images in the sidebar below the Get Updates button.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Don’t Write Your Congressman– Draw A Cartoon!

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Viva La Redhead, But It’s A Sin To Eat A Mocking Birdie
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Using Illustrated Quotes To Promote Your Brand On Social Media

June 30, 2015

The key to success in social media is promoting your brand in a low-key non-salesy way. Ideally, you want people to share your posts and help spread the word.

People love fun images, and they also love quotes. Combine the two, and you’ve got a very shareable post– perfect for Twitter, Facebook, your company blog.BlankVertSpace.4pixels

Here’s a great quote about storytelling. Annette Simmons believes that story always improves communication.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Man with balloons soaring skyward, storytelling better marketing than boring facts, people want faith, Annette Simmons quote

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highThe above is a good example of how images can be recycled, which makes them a good investment. I’d previously used this “balloon image” for a post called 10 Storytelling Essentials. By including the URL for my website, I insure that my brand gets promoted whenever someone shares the illustrated quote.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

Here’s one by blues legend B.B. King who died earlier this year. The quote is inspiring because it highlights his work ethic, and says very clearly: if you want to be good, you’ve got to put in the time. It’s nice to have your brand associated with dedication and hard work.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
Blues legend guitarist B.B. King caricature, inspiration quote about how he had to work harder than anybody else, practice makes perfect

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highQuotes by others aren’t your only option. Share your own wisdom and professional opinions. Here’s one of mine. Namely, that it’s a waste of time and energy to try to be
on every social media channel. You have to find the ones that work best for you.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
Colorful parrot bird wearing soiled diapers, second bird laughing, quote re not every social media channel right for your business

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highNewsman David Brinkley was a familiar TV face when I was a kid. I love this quote because it’s both funny and true. Criticism and failure are hard to take, but if you want
to move forward, you have to view them as learning opportunities.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
Bricklayer on brick wall getting hit with brick, needs IV blood transfusion, David Brinkley quote about learning from setbacks and failure to build firm foundation for future success

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highHere’s another example of creative recycling. The image is an old editorial illustration. I’ve forgotten the related news item, but the image seemed like a fun fit for this Ben Franklin quote about the value of persistence.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
Teacher carrying garbage can filled with test papers with failing grade F, stupid guy with dunce cap holding diploma, Ben Franklin quote about persistence conquers all things

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highI did a birthday tribute back in March for detective fiction writer Mickey Spillane. He left behind some colorful quotes, including this one. He died in 2006, but he was ahead of his time. He would have excelled at social media marketing.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
Private eye Mike Hammer surrounded by curvaceous secretary and bad guys, Mickey Spillane caricature quote about writers must be marketers stay in all social merchandizer channels

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highThe image below started out as a poster with the caption: Don’t settle for a still life.
Make the break.
But I quickly saw its potential for quotes about courage, faith, daring,
and taking the initiative.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
Grape with briefcase going off to make way in world waving goodbye to sad fellow grapes in bowl of fruit, Gordon Hinckley quote about need to do things not just think about them

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highAlways resist the temptation to recycle an image too frequently. It will lose power. Use it, then put it back on the shelf for awhile. When the time is right, trot it out again, and pair it with a new quote.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
Grape with briefcase going off to make way in world waving goodbye to sad fellow grapes in bowl of fruit, Orison Swett Marden quote about having faith that you will succeed and achieve your destiny

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Do you promote your brand on social media? Care to share your strategy?

Do you share or retweet posts? If so, what usually prompts you to do so?

Do you have a favorite quote? Seen a good one lately? I’d love to hear it.

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you enjoyed this post, please click the Like button below.

If you’d like to share this post with others, please click Tweet or Facebook or StumbleUpon or one of the other Share buttons.

I also invite you to get updates. Just click the Get Updates button in the sidebar below the Portfolio Thumbnails, or click + Follow in the blog menu bar.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
If you’d like to buy prints or greeting cards, click on any of the large preview images in the sidebar below the Get Updates button.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high
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