ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Art of the Nap

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Dwight Garner, in the September 2016 Esquire magazine, writes an article about napping called Second Only to Sex. It's funny, when I read the title, I was like... fishing? Then I thought, no, that's a dead on tie. Then what? As it turned out it's napping. The Pre-40 version of me would have agreed. The post-50 version of me agrees most of the time, but also thinks that napping might be as important as fishing. In fact, I remember that scene in A River Runs Through It, towards the end, where Tom Skerritt fishes, then naps, equally happy slumbering as he was chasing the long muscled trout in the great Montana river, while his sons do nothing but fish, leaping from stone to stone as they attempt to outmatch. 

Who's happier? 

Who's more fulfilled?

All of them are, yet I daresay, now that I've learned the art of the nap, perhaps the rambunctious boys might like a short, reclined respite after all their leaping and catching.

I have a chair in my living room. I call it my reading chair, but if I'm to be honest with the universe it's also a napping chair. I know that sometime during my reading that I will fall asleep and slumber for a time. Nothing deep. I'm still able to hear the occasional car rumble by or the dogs shifting in their sleep at my feet. Still, the sleep is such an assuagement that it has become something I look forward to. I don't fight it. I welcome it. I read. I nap. I read again. In fact, if I sit in my chair and don't nap, it feels awkward, as if I'd been out on a date with all the expectations therein, only to return home without even a peck on the cheek, a hug, or an exchange of numbers.

Says Vladimir Nabokov, “sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals. It is a mental torture I find debasing... I simply cannot get used to the nightly betrayal of reason, humanity, genius.” Of course, Vladimir also wrote, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth." Perhaps that's the reason he didn't want to sleep... his little Lolita. Given the choice... well, that's for another article.

Garner rightfully points out that a stigma is attached to napping. The younger version of me imagined an older man, perhaps a pipe, perhaps a cat, napping, almost doddering through his day. But it's not like that. I feel refereshed after a nap. My body becomes emboldened.

Philip Roth said it perfectly, capturing that a nap means. "The best part of it is when you wake up, for that first 15 seconds, you have no idea where you are. You're just alive. That's all you know. And it's bliss, it's absolute bliss."

The idea of just being, without the weight of responsibility, or the ties of duty of family or society... just being. Maybe that's the crystallization of the nap. The bliss. The being.

Napping is an important part of my existence. If for but a few moments every day I am free from everything, how much more would I appreciate the moments of my waking? I'm reminded of that time my wife and I stayed at the Valencia Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Valencia, Spain, nationally-mandated siestas in the front room after a short lunch of wine and arctic char sandwiches, the sun lumbering across the church plaza warming us as we napped arm in arm on a down filled daybed. Then to finally wake, sluff off the static cling of our Iberian dreams, then to rejoin an entire country who was now awake, re-energized, and ready to rekindle the rest of their day, eating, drinking, talking, living until that time in the morning they could sleep again.

Yes. the Spanish have it right. You must rest to live.

As do I, now a firm supporter and appreciative of the nap and everything it adds to my life.

What are your thoughts on the nap? Do you do it? Are you for it? Are you against it, like Thomas Edison, proclaiming that "sleep is an absurdity... a bad habit?"




2 comments :

  1. I love a good nap! It's even better when I'm under a little shade on the Lido Deck of a cruise ship, post-lunch, drink in hand, Jimmy Buffett in my earbuds, watching the waves go by.....

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