Wanted: Forty More Winks

A Shock to Our Systems

Do you live where Daylight Saving Time has gone into effect recently? If so, today you may feel out of sync, sleep-deprived. The loss of even one hour of sleep pushes one’s biorhythms out of kilter.


Who’s to Blame: Daylight Saving Time

In the wee hours of Sunday clocks moved forward one hour, delaying sunrise and adding evening daylight. According to one source, a New Zealander proposed the modern idea of DST in 1895. Germany followed in 1916. Many other country since then have followed the spring ahead/fall behind routine, especially since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

The time change has been loved or hated ever since. My author friend Janet Givens provides a well-researched blog post on the topic. Her research explodes the myth that Daylight Saving Time is supported by farmers.


Sleep: A Cure

Medical journals including Psychology Today, often publish articles about sleep or the lack thereof. Such pieces also regularly appear in the table of contents of women’s magazine and AARP journals.

Literature is replete with references to sleep. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, who has recently murdered King Duncan, knows his sleep will be troubled or interrupted even as he ruefully ticks off its benefits:

“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care / The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath / Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” Act 2, Scene ii

  • Sleep repairs the unraveled parts of our lives, knits them up.
  • Sleep comes at the end of the day; it looks like a little death.
  • Sleep brings bodily relief from pain as do baths.
  • Sleep refreshes the mind.
  • Sleep is essential to life. We can’t do without it.

In Search of Forty Winks, Patricia Marx comments:

. . . party and then firing the cleanup committee. The New Yorker, February 8, 2016
 party and then firing the cleanup committee. (The New Yorker, February 8, 2016. pages 56. 57)


Ben Franklin and the Bible on Sleep

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.   ~ Benjamin Franklin

The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.     ~ Eccl. 5:1


Sleeping Child

Joel sleeping with teddy bear, age 8
Joel sleeping with teddy bear, age 8 or 9

Our son Joel was fast asleep embracing his teddy bear knitted by his Great Aunt Ruthie. He may have been dreaming of riding his skate board or playing with match-box cars. As a nine-year-old, he was certainly not worrying about caring for children, the needs of a wife, mortgage payments, or at-work performance.

Wordsworth offers a philosophical perspective on sleep:

Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth Source: Pinterest
Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth Source: Pinterest


Here is the first stanza of a nursery rhyme Joel probably heard before he fell asleep:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,

Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,

Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,

Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?



Comments about sleep, advice about getting more of it?  Your wisdom welcome here. All creatures need down time, even inanimate ones. Note that there is a sleep button on your computer, just above re-start.


Answer key to limericks published March 9, 2016 

1. lewd

2. dinner

3. divinity

4. weeds



Happy Birthday, Will!

News Flash!


To mark Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, “the Royal Shakespeare Company is spearheading a three year Jubilee, between 2014 and 2016, that will involve theatre performances, events and live streaming cinema around the world.”

*  *  *  *  *

Florida State College students: Of course they're discussing Shakespeare!
Florida State College students: Of course they’re discussing Shakespeare!

It’s April 23 in my college class of English Lit students. Each has brought in a can of Coke, Dr. Pepper or bottled water. I bring cupcakes—chocolate and vanilla for the party.

Reputedly, April 23, 1564 is the birthday of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon. It is also the date of his death in 1616, but we are celebrating his life, especially the writing of his gushy love sonnets (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) and his play, King Lear, which we have just read with all that fussing about a father’s will, sister sniping, revenge and murder. The body count is always high in Shakespeare’s tragedies.

A fixture at every birthday party, Shakespeare wore a bow today.
A fixture at every birthday party, Shakespeare wears a bow today.

Until I was out of high school, I did not realize that my Mennonite Mom was referring to Shakespeare’s line “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another” (Hamlet) when she chided me for wearing makeup. “I’m happy with the face God gave me,” she would retort.

And Grandma Longenecker probably wasn’t aware she was quoting from Midsummer NIght’s Dream either when she tried to comfort me with the words of Lysander: “The course of true love never did run smooth” over my break-up with David, a boyfriend in college. And of various presidents, Truman, Eisenhower, or Kennedy, she would quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV: “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” I can still hear her cracking the “C” in crown.

Other quotes you may know: 

  • Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
  • If music be the food of love, play on.
  • Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.
  • No legacy is so rich as honesty.
  • What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
  • O, had I but followed the arts!
  • ‘Tis better to bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.
  • With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
  • This above all; to thine own self be true.

What special sayings do you remember from your childhood?


What quotes by Shakespeare can you add to the list?

I love it when you comment!

Please check it out: My writer friend, Traci Carver, teacher at Valwood School, a college prep high school in Valdosta, GA, posted on her blog a creative classroom scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet featuring foam pool noodles and Twitter hashtags. Creative and memorable!



Be My Valentine


“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

So says Charles M. Schulz. Valentine’s Day is interpreted by many to include cards, chocolates, candlelight and roses. Some even break the bank buying expensive jewelry. Valentine’s day was named for a Christian martyr dating back to the 5th century, but according to Arnie Seipel in an essay for NPR, its origins are dark and bloody even, beginning with the wild and crazy Romans and their feast of Lupercalia.
During the Middle Ages tokens of love were first expressed by handmade paper cards. In the 14th century Chaucer helped romanticize the holiday with his love quotes like “love is blind” from The Canterbury Tales and his Parlement of Foules, featuring an assembly of birds gathered together to choose their mates. From the Renaissance to the Victorian Age and beyond, poets wrote sonnets extolling romantic love: Shakespeare, known especially during this season for Sonnet # 116, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous lines “How do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways” in Sonnet # 43.

Today, Valentine’s Day is big business. In 2011, sales reached $ 18.6 billion. This year the figure will probably exceed 20 billion. Seipel quotes Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, who says that if commercialization has spoiled the day, we can blame only ourselves for buying into it. But the celebration of Valentine’s Day goes on nonetheless. Even with some sayings on candy hearts we never imagined:

A few candy heart sayings we never saw: Courtesy Google Images
A few candy heart sayings updated by social media: Courtesy Google Images

Years ago, candies like these were hand-picked for that special one, but many valentine cards were home-made. I remember making valentines for friends at school or punching cut-outs for classmates and dropping them in to the big, square box decorated red and white for Valentine’s Day at Rheems Elementary School. Stories in our readers illustrated children making, not buying, Valentine cards for friends:

"The Surprise Valentines," Gray and Arbuthnot, Scott Foresman & Company, 1941.
“The Surprise Valentines,” Gray and Arbuthnot, Scott Foresman & Company, 1941.

Do you remember making or receiving hand-made valentines? Are you holding on to an old Valentine card for sentimental reasons?

Vintage Cut-out Card, Cliff Collection
Vintage cut-out card, Cliff Collection 1966

Your thoughts start the conversation—or keep it going. Thank you!

Purple Passages with Pictures: February 2014 edition

Grapefruit Harvest in February
Grapefruit Harvest in February

Think of February as God’s special gift of time sandwiched between all the hubbub of past holidays and the upcoming arrival of a busy spring. To me, February is the ideal month to regroup . . . to review where I’ve been and to rethink where I’m going. I have found it is the best time of the entire year to pause for several concentrated weeks of deliberate reflection.

Chuck Swindoll, Insight for Living 1999

February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March. — Dr. J. R. Stockton


Marionettes from Prague - Books from all over
Marionettes from Prague – Books from all over

MUSIC: The Mozart Effect (Notes from Lecture)  March 2000


Classical music, like Mozart or Hayden stimulates Beta waves suited for high-quality, analytical thinking.

Jazz: like Miles Davis or John Coltraine, creates order from chaos, good for thinking that does not lend itself to simple linear solution. Generates theta waves: highly creative brain consciousness associated with out-of-the-box creativity, spiritual insight.

Rock: Makes a statement about TIME, especially suited to people who need to be vigilant like those in an inner city environment. Sharpens awareness!

New Age / Alternative: Music organized around SPACE; suited for people who live in a highly mental structure.

Music creates a current on which images flow. It can catch an image in its nets so it can be looked at, analyzed.    Glamour, January 1999


I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten, happy, absorbed, and quietly putting one bead one after another.       Brenda Ueland

stringing beads

And frame your mind to mirth and merriment / Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.”  Wm. Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew 

We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.  Anais Nin

Your turn:  

Add a quote? Comment on one or two you have just read?

Coming next: Do You Know Your Ethnic Mix?

Purple Passages iii with Pictures

Quote from Bartlett himself
Quote from John Bartlett, who compiled over 11,00 quotations in the 10th edition of Quotations, 1919

Writing & Stories

  4.10.99  Why stories are so effective:

The best stories begin as mental pictures which turn into personal mirrors before they become insightful windows through which we’re able to view life with greater clarity and understanding.      Anonymous

12.15.95  I like everything about writing except the paperwork!  Novelist Peter de Vries

9.9.00  I feel 10 times smarter writing on the computer.    My student, ENC 1101


There’s no cure like travel

To help you unravel

The worries of living today.

When the poor brain is cracking

There’s nothing like packing

A suitcase and sailing away.

Cole Porter – Anything Goes.

7.15.13 The only real voyage of self-discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing it with new eyes.   Marcel Proust

8.14.99  Distance lends enchantment to the view . . . .   Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Ozarks

10.22.96  I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. Thoreau

7.28.90  The trip to heaven will be easy because I have sent my heart on ahead.  Loretta Lynn

White-Water Rafting

Ocoee Rafting - Ducktown, TN
Ocoee Rafting – Ducktown, TN

White water rafting, especially level 3 or 4, is a grand metaphor for life:

1. Trust your Guide.

2. Stay IN the boat.

3. Have fun!

Dancing with the Stars

4.16.99  I don’t try to be better than anyone else. I try to be better than myself.   Mikhael Baryshnikov, dancer

5.13.90  If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.   Thoreau

5.10.99  And frame your mind to mirth and merriment / Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.    Wm. Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

 A merry heart doeth good like medicine.  Proverbs 17:22.

Time and Happiness

 3.17.00  Human time does not turn in a circle. It runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy; happiness is the longing for repetition.  Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

12.28.89  How plotless real life was [is]!  Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

 5.9.90  Don’t worry about the meaning of life; pursue meaning in life every day.  Robert Fulghum


12.19.99  You are only one thought away from a good feeling!  Sheil Krystal quoted in Rick Carlson’s Happiness

9.10.13  Sybil, in my book says, “Sometimes, the greatest gift you can give someone is the freedom to pursue their own happiness.”  Red Clay and Roses  SK Nicholls


Which quotes do you agree with?


Your turn: Share one you would add to the themes.