Maggie Jones has written a 4.17 N.Y. Times Sunday Magazine piece about newish findings that you really do need 8 hours of sleep to perform at your best, and that people who sleep for 5 or 6 or even 7 hours are putting themselves behind the eight ball.
That’s me, all right. My sleeping hours, at best, are from 1 am to 7 am. It’s fairly unusual to flop at midnight, although it happens from time time. But forget about going to bed at 11 pm — that’s Bluray time, write-the-last-article time, Bill Maher or Charlie Rose time, do-tomorrow’s-research time, PDF script-reading time.
I don’t dispute for a second that getting 8 every night (11 pm to 7 am) would be good for my health and alertness and general creativity, but I just can’t do it. Something in me rebels. It might be tethered on some level to a vague childhood conviction that only fogies and dullards go to bed at 11pm. I hated being told to hit the hay at 9 or 10 pm when I was a kid. I remember being put to bed one summer night when it was still dusk out, and with several kids that I knew playing stickball outside in the street. I seethed big-time about that and vowed that when I got older and could run my own life I would stay up as late as I damn well pleased. And now I can, nyah-nyah.
Whatever the memory or motivation Hollywood Elsewhere is my 24-7 taskmaster. I work on the column about 10 or 11 hours during the day, and then sometimes another hour or two starting around 10:30 or 11 pm. There are no weekends or “days off”…a joke! And I don’t see any way around this. The whip is always cracking. Sometimes I feel like the foam-mouthed horse pulling Scarlett O’Hara and Melanie Wilkes and Missy towards Tara.