This is my favourite from a week of great cartoons by Jason Novak  (captioned by Eric Jarosinski) at theparisreview.

How to Sleep

by Philip Larkin

Child in the womb,
Or saint on a tomb —
Which way shall I lie
To fall asleep?
The keen moon stares
From the back of the sky,
The clouds are all home
Like driven sheep.

Bright drops of time,
One and two chime,
I turn and lie straight
With folded hands;
Convent-child, Pope,
They choose this state,
And their minds are wiped calm
As sea-leveled sands.

So my thoughts are:
But sleep stays as far,
Till I crouch on one side
Like a foetus again —
For sleeping, like death,
Must be won without pride,
With a nod from nature,
And a lack of strain,
And a loss of stature.

I used to live alone. Thanks to a chance meeting in the street with the friend of an ex, I was briefly able to circumvent the ridiculousness of the London housing market and rent several rooms, just for me.

I became part of a trend, a self-indulgent singleton with an entire address in which to work on my eccentricities. I thought a lot about all that solitude prior to moving in, though. Would I get lonely? Would I miss having other people around, who weren’t invited guests? Would I become an irrevocable solo-dweller, incapable of domestic compromise in years to come? I went into it cautiously, braced for the moment when the isolation would start to make me miserable.

It never arrived. Months went past, and then a year, and more, and I was still waiting for the loneliness to arrive. I changed very little. I made more of an effort to make plans with friends and colleagues on weeknights now that I had no expectation of any social contact once I got home, but that was about it. I had my low patches, weekends where I barely got out of bed and cried for no reason I could name, but I’d done that when I lived with other people, too. Most of the time, it was blissful: watching films in the bath, leaving piles of books everywhere, storing spare socks in the kitchen like Zizek.

Then my rent went up and an old friend was looking for someone to move in with him. I humped all the boxes back down out of my strange little eyrie and ceased to be a lone ranger. My fears about being unable to compromise anymore were unfounded. For months, it was a perfectly congenial arrangement (we both like 1990s computer games and not cleaning the bathroom too often), but I never for a second considered that it could be better than my selfish solitude.

Until today, that is. I haven’t been feeling very well the past few weeks (lots of anxiety, quite a bit of nervous weeping, very little sleep). I’ve lost hours at a time sitting perfectly still, staring into space and thinking of nothing but the fact that my heart is beating too fast. I kept putting off getting any help, telling myself it was just a “bad week”, and I would be better soon.

Finally, I booked a doctor’s appointment for this morning. I had very little intention of actually going, though. By my perverse reasoning, the doctor’s surgery is where you get bad news, so it’s best just never to go there, and then nothing bad will ever happen to you. 

My flatmate knew all this. He leaves for work before I do, so was gone when I woke up. However, he had left a bright pink note saying “DOCTOR” on every single thing I would need to touch before I could go out: my toothbrush, the shower, the milk, the juice, the kettle. An enquiring text solicited only the same response. “DOCTOR”, the message read, sternly. 

image

The cumulative effect was so positive that I smiled through the necessary morning tasks, collecting each note as I went. When I left the flat, I walked straight to the doctor’s surgery.

For the first time, I felt glad that I no longer live alone.

appendixjournal:

The animated GIF that accompanies this Matter article is a work of art. 

“I don’t particularly want to read stories about writers, poets, college students or college professors.”
I love Roxane Gay. At work, we’ve tried to express a similar kind of sentiment in our contributor FAQs
“There is also a reason fiction with all its subterfuge is so popular: the truth isn’t always that interesting.”
— On B S Johnson, Sheila Heti and (not) writing what you know.
newstatesman:

Why Beyoncé’s VMA performance was feminism’s most powerful pop culture moment.
elizabethminkel:

NOT LONG NOW.
But while I’m here, I have a kind of surprising number of new followers! I know I wound up in the trending section of tumblr after my stint liveblogging the George R.R. Martin/Robin Hobb event? IDK. But hi guys! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.
I don’t know if you’re all Doctor Who fans or not? (don’t worry if you’re not; I’m just excited about Capaldi. I’ll go back to a broader fannish tumblr super soon). But if you are, can I shamelessly plug the piece I wrote a few days ago? 
“The global force of Doctor Who: what does Britain’s biggest cultural export tell the world?”
It’s for the newstatesman: my first proper fan column after the introductory one. I love thinking about the way cultural products get exported and consumed…. mostly I just love thinking about Capaldi’s eyebrows, though. 
I’m off to carolinecrampton's flat to watch “Deep Breath” (SO EXCITED). Wherever you're watching it in the world, I hope you have a wonderful evening.

I am currently butchering a butternut squash in honour of this occasion.

elizabethminkel:

NOT LONG NOW.

But while I’m here, I have a kind of surprising number of new followers! I know I wound up in the trending section of tumblr after my stint liveblogging the George R.R. Martin/Robin Hobb event? IDK. But hi guys! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

I don’t know if you’re all Doctor Who fans or not? (don’t worry if you’re not; I’m just excited about Capaldi. I’ll go back to a broader fannish tumblr super soon). But if you are, can I shamelessly plug the piece I wrote a few days ago? 

The global force of Doctor Who: what does Britain’s biggest cultural export tell the world?

It’s for the newstatesman: my first proper fan column after the introductory one. I love thinking about the way cultural products get exported and consumed…. mostly I just love thinking about Capaldi’s eyebrows, though. 

I’m off to carolinecrampton's flat to watch “Deep Breath” (SO EXCITED). Wherever you're watching it in the world, I hope you have a wonderful evening.

I am currently butchering a butternut squash in honour of this occasion.

cleowho:

"How do I look?"
The Underwater Menace - season 04 - 1967

Very excited about CapalDay, but thought I’d just take a second to remind you all of the excellence that went before (see above). cleowho:

"How do I look?"
The Underwater Menace - season 04 - 1967

Very excited about CapalDay, but thought I’d just take a second to remind you all of the excellence that went before (see above). cleowho:

"How do I look?"
The Underwater Menace - season 04 - 1967

Very excited about CapalDay, but thought I’d just take a second to remind you all of the excellence that went before (see above). cleowho:

"How do I look?"
The Underwater Menace - season 04 - 1967

Very excited about CapalDay, but thought I’d just take a second to remind you all of the excellence that went before (see above). cleowho:

"How do I look?"
The Underwater Menace - season 04 - 1967

Very excited about CapalDay, but thought I’d just take a second to remind you all of the excellence that went before (see above). cleowho:

"How do I look?"
The Underwater Menace - season 04 - 1967

Very excited about CapalDay, but thought I’d just take a second to remind you all of the excellence that went before (see above).

cleowho:

"How do I look?"

The Underwater Menace - season 04 - 1967

Very excited about CapalDay, but thought I’d just take a second to remind you all of the excellence that went before (see above).

newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend. newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend.

newstatesman:

Did Lauren Bacall always get the roles she deserved? carolinecrampton on the screen legend, who has died at the age of 89.

In 2011, Lauren Bacall told Vanity Fair that “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy.” I’m not sure that she was a very happy person (but who is, honestly?), and I also think that she was cheated of the chance to do her best work because of the way Hollywood, and the world, insisted on viewing her always as the adjunct to a more famous man. Anyway, I wrote about it about this morning after her death was announced, and now I’m going to order To Have and Have Not and Murder on the Orient Express (my two personal favourites - the latter has Ingrid Bergman and John Gielgud in too!) so I can have my own mini Bacall film fest this weekend.

"I’ve an opera here that you shan’t escape / on miles and miles of recorded tape…"

I’m trying to buy new headphones at the moment, and the bewildering array of acronyms and ways of differentiating sound quality remeind me of this, by Flanders and Swann: “Song of Reproduction”.