“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.”
Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it. I drank more and continued my mantra. ‘Stop thinking’, swig, ’empty your head’, swig, ‘now, seriously empty your head’.”
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Did you know?
The first reference to counting sheep is found in a twelfth-century Spanish book, Disciplina Clericalis by a lad called Petrus Alphonsi. It’s a collection of fables in which the author tells one humorous tale about a King and his Story-teller counting sheep. Apparently counting sheep was a widespread practice in early Twelfth century Islamic countries, which fascinated and influenced our dear Mr Alphonsi. No doubt a shepherd or five was known to fall asleep during this monotonous daily routine …
Et voila! The origins of a completely useless remedy for insomnia.
“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)”
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My Dad was desperate to retire. He wouldn’t admit it, but work was challenging and he wasn’t coping. He had many plans for his retirement years. But he was also anxious. After all, he’d worked since he was 16.
On his last day at work I gave him a card. “How exciting,” I’d written. “To be on the cusp of a new season, a new chapter in your life!”
For months, even years later, in deep thought, he’d often say to me, quite out of the blue, “I’ve thought a lot about what you wrote in my card. A new chapter … I’ve got to make the most of it.”
“Now here’s my idea. Why not keep the journey times the same but make the trains so comfortable and relaxing that people won’t want the trip to end? Instead, they could pass the time staring out the window at all the gleaming hospitals, schools, playing fields and gorgeously maintained countryside that the billions of saved pounds had paid for. Alternatively, you could just put a steam locomotive in front of the train, make all the seats inside wooden and have it run entirely by volunteers. People would come from all over the country to ride on it. In either case, if any money was left over, perhaps a little of it could be used to fit trains with toilets that don’t flush directly on to the tracks.”
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
A knock at the door. Lights on. We sat up, bleary-eyed. 03h30.
A black-leather-jacketed Romanian border guard stood at the open door of our train compartment.
“Pașapoarte!” We handed them over.
A welcome fresh breeze played into our 2 person compartment from an open window in the corridor. Old soviet trains are seriously over heated in winter.