Sunday, 3 May 2020

'Lockdown should be easy for me, so why is it like doing time?' Ottessa Moshfegh in The Guardian

Ottessa Moshfegh's thoughts in the Guardian on lockdown after having written My Year of Rest and Relaxation a couple of years ago, which I really enjoyed. The novel is about a woman in her 20s who decides to spend an entire year in isolation and asleep for as much of it as possible.  

In dreams, we mine ourselves for wisdom that we can’t access with our conscious mind. And there is something ineffable about that wisdom. We can attempt to recount our dreams narratively upon awakening, but it’s nearly impossible to do it accurately. Dreams are more poems than short stories, but I think they have a fabulist, parabolic quality that makes them feel like allegory, even though the who-what-where of them might seem random to anyone but the dreamer: we each dream in a language peculiar to our own lives. Equally, sleep is a universe of self.


My dreams these days are about my husband falling out of love with me. I wake up desperate and shaky, imploring him to confirm that he has not abandoned me while I’ve been asleep. “I love you,” I say. “Do you still love me?” I understand that this is my mind resting on the only real thing it knows outside of itself: love. Without it, life is just “doing time”.

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