How Did You Sleep? by Paul GlennonHow Did You Sleep? by Paul Glennon

How Did You Sleep?

byPaul Glennon

Paperback | October 15, 2000

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about

Paul Glennon makes a commanding debut with a writing style that is both quirky and elusive. His stories -- strange, yet funny -- are about madmen, paranoiacs and the allegorically burdened. For the characters in these stories life is a board game to which we have lost, or perhaps never had, the instructions. Their predicaments are impossible, absurd but strangely genuine. A husband wonders if his wife has always been made of wood. A scientist suspects his left hand is plotting against him. A tourist visits a museum dedicated to his own failed romance. The world is trying to communicate something to these characters, but they cannot interpret it.

These stories navigate an unusual course between science fiction, satire and psychology. It makes for a journey that is strange, disturbing and surreally comic.

Paul Glennon, born in England but resident in Ottawa since 1975, has been published in Descant, Matrix, Canadian Fiction Magazine, and the Blue Penny Quarterly. He has an MA from the University of Ottawa and currently works as a Human Factors specialist -- which means that he attempts to encourage software to work the way humans expect...
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Title:How Did You Sleep?Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 8.7 × 5.54 × 0.48 inPublished:October 15, 2000Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889842159

ISBN - 13:9780889842151

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Suspend Your Disbelief Glennon is as ambitious as he is talented. These stories are unlike anything that I have ever read.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unusual Glennon has crafted an incredible collection of stories here. In particular, the story Chrome was a standout that has stuck with me for over ten years. Glennon is ambitious and has the chops to pull off all the risks he takes.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strange, Odd, Wonderful book This is an astonishingly good collection of stories. It's been a long time since I've snickered so much while reading. Each story begins with a more outlandish premise than the last, but Glenon manages to pull them off. The book is reminiscent of Barthelme or Barth, but wholly original. "The Secret Agent" and the title story are standouts.
Date published: 2000-12-01

Read from the Book

My Babylon Cells On high balconies and in certain quiet restaurants is when I'm most aware of it, when I have to be most cautious, but it is always there, an impulse to self-sabotage, a sudden compulsion to do the wrong thing. Where does it come from, this voice that urges us to jump from that high balcony or to shout that inappropriate word across the restaurant table? For the longest time I had no idea. I suspected it was some psychological flaw.But I'm not modern enough. I've never been satisfied with psychological explanations of my inner conflict. The urge to these self-destructive acts is too real, too physical. It is like some dormant suicidal muscle or organ inside me. I can completely imagine, in exact detail, the thing I do not want to do. I can feel within my legs the leap that would propel me over the balcony railing, the breath that would hurl the obscenity from my lungs.The medieval view of human behaviour as determined by elemental fluids like phlegm and bile always seemed right to me. I can understand how these humours might wage war and negotiate truces that control a body's temperament. I fall on the side of nature rather than nurture in the behavioural debate, and believe that much can be explained by genetics. DNA supplies the modern humours, the chromosomes that at meiosis form up in soldierly battle lines and fall together in hand-to-hand combat to claim the right to determine our identity. I have to believe in genetics; it is the only thing that gives our bodies any unity. Without it we're merely a tangle of tenuously linked organs, a mess of heterogeneous cells connected by the mere biological whim that threw them together into the sack of our skin.DNA, a genetic identity, allowed me to think that the rebellious voice within me was a phantom, some echo, something that was not really a part of me. Other people were troubled by this urge, this will to and immediate fear of self-destruction, weren't they? I persuaded myself that it was a cultural thing. But I was deluding myself.There's this stuff called mitochondria. Think back to your grade ten biology. You might remember the word, if not its meaning. I know I certainly didn't pay much attention to it, but I came across it again not too long ago, in a borrowed physiology text. There it was, the explanation, the damning truth revealed by the same DNA that had been my refutation, my defence, the line of entrenchment between the me and the not-me.Mitochondria do not share our DNA. It is as simple as that. A body may be a fortress, but there are sappers inside, foreign DNA in the very building materials of our bodies.I've done some investigation and this is the history of their infiltration as far as I can reconstruct it. It started a long time ago, before I or any other multicelled thing ever glycolysized or oxygenated blood, before life became multicellular, when we were whole and complete in one cell. We were undermined from the beginning, sold out by our cells. Mitochondria are bacteria, simple, stupid, hardly alive. They invaded the single-celled creatures that are our ancestors, exploiting some protozoan weakness to insinuate themselves inside the cell walls. This happened once, only once. In one moment of weakness we let the bacterial interloper inside and that was aeons ago. But as we evolved, they remained within us, growing up within our body's fortress. It may not have been entirely their decision of course. Our weak unicellular ancestors found them useful.It might have been different though, if we'd been more even-handed, if we'd continued the partnership, the symbiotic relationship with the little purple bacteria, but we became proud as we evolved. We demoted them -- enslaved them. No, I will not refrain from anthropomorphizing my own mitochondria.Mitochondria have toiled for ages within our cells doing those essential but negligible tasks, producing energy from digestive raw materials and oxygen. And now that we depend on them, now that we can't evict them, they want to get out. They'd like to break the contract they made with us, to leave the cell walls that once protected them. But we can't let them. We have built this great complex structure on their backs, and now the slaves are rebelling. I am sure they are conscious, sure they have finally recognized themselves. After ages of obedience and subservience, they recognize that they're different, that they are prisoners, in exile. They yearn for a homeland, for repatriation, for escape, but much as we might like to, we can't allow it. We've come too far to expel them now; we can't live without them.And I suppose they also realize that their dream of escape, of life beyond the cell wall, is impossible, so they've descended to terrorism, to sabotage. They take every opportunity to smash the machi

Table of Contents

The Museum of the Decay of Our Love
My Babylon Cells
How Did You Sleep?
The Terror
The Triangle Man
The Bear Story
One Hand
Self-Loathing Stymies Council
Reminiscence
Chrome
The Manikin
Via Crucis: A Retrospective
A History of My Mistakes
Touched
Icarus's Sister
Save the Barbers
An Anthology of Nestorian Literature
Our Flotation on the Bourse
The Secret Agent

Editorial Reviews

Paul Glennon makes a commanding debut with a writing style that is both quirky and elusive. His stories -- strange, yet funny -- are about madmen, paranoiacs and the allegorically burdened. For the characters in these stories life is a board game to which we have lost, or perhaps never had, the instructions. Their predicaments are impossible, absurd but strangely genuine. A husband wonders if his wife has always been made of wood. A scientist suspects his left hand is plotting against him. A tourist visits a museum dedicated to his own failed romance. The world is trying to communicate something to these characters, but they cannot interpret it. These stories navigate an unusual course between science fiction, satire and psychology. It makes for a journey that is strange, disturbing and surreally comic.`How Did You Sleep is highly innovative and well-wrought. It intrigues in its layered texture, it discomforts and richly rewards its reader.'