Monday, October 29, 2012

Agrypnotic

When I was little (ages and ages ago!), I loved books and I could hardly wait to learn how to read.  That way I didn't have to rely on anyone else in order to tell me a story.  As soon as I learned how to read, I quickly went through as many books as I could and just as quickly got bored with the little kid books.  I wanted to read Fairy Tales!  I wanted to read about Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and the like.  I encountered so many words that I didn't know and so I was delighted when I learned how to use a dictionary.  As I worked my way through the school library, the dictionary was always next to me.
Soon I graduated to more advanced books and my favorite stories were written in the 1800's, books like Little Women, Alice in Wonderland, Beautiful Joe and The Secret Garden.  I ended up with a more archaic vocabulary than most little girls.  Some words I loved to use just because other people didn't use them.  Starting about 5th grade, I used 'twas and 'tis as often as I could fit them into conversation.  And I just liked the sound of other words, words like betwixt and frippery!
That habit has a tendency to raise it head to this day.  I wrote a poem the other day, well, I guess I should say the other night.  I can suffer from horrible insomnia.  I just can't shut my mind off, and words will go round and round making sleep impossible.  Sometimes, I can turn my mind off and get some sleep by "using" the words in a poem.  I titled the poem "Agrypnotic", I thought, appropriately, as it means wakefulness or sleeplessness.  It is Greek for chasing sleep.  I like that word, I like the sound of it.  Agrypnotic.  Agrypnia.  A lovely word.  I like it much better than insomnia; chasing sleep is so much more descriptive than insomnia!
But I found out that the word was rather archaic.  People reading my poem had to look the word up in the dictionary.  So I decided what a wonderful word to Google!
Agrypnia also means vigil: keeping watch, a nocturnal exercise before a feast or festival.  Agrypnotic is also used for items that prevent sleep such as strong coffee.  There is a neuropscychiatric syndrome called agrypnia excitata that is a life-threatening form of insomnia.  There is a musical group called Agrypnia.  As far as I can tell, they play classical music and I found a lovely piece by Bach on a six-string electronic bass (BWV639).  And the last thing I am going to mention is a Greek movie about a corrupt cop, originally called Agrypnia but renamed The Wake.
Oh, this was fun!  Hmm, I wonder if I should post the poem that inspired this blog?