Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Salvador Dali on how to take a nap

with 4 comments

Salvador Dali

[You] must seat yourself in a bony armchair, preferably of Spanish style, with your head tilted back and resting on the stretched leather back. Your two hands must hang beyond the arms of the chair, to which your own must be soldered in a supineness of complete relaxation…

In this posture, you must hold a heavy key which you will keep suspended, delicately pressed between the extremities of the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Under the key you will previously have placed a plate upside down on the floor. Having made these preparations, you will have merely to let yourself be progressively invaded by a serene afternoon sleep, like the spiritual drop of anisette of your soul rising in the cube of sugar of your body. The moment the key drops from your fingers, you may be sure that the noise of its fall on the upside-down plate will awaken you, and you may be equally sure that this fugitive moment when you had barely lost consciousness and during which you cannot be assured of having really slept is totally sufficient, inasmuch as not a second more is needed for your whole physical and psychic being to be revivified by just the necessary amount of repose. For it is exactly, and neither more nor less, what you needed before undertaking your virtuous afternoon labors.

Salvador Dalí, Fifty Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship

Written by nevalalee

December 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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4 Responses

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  1. Facing a meticulous set of conditions like his, how could anyone really relax? It’s surreal …

    Jnana Hodson

    December 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

  2. Genius! And eccentric.
    Alec, your quote of the day are great.

    Bill Allen

    December 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

  3. @Jnana: One of these days, I’ll need to try it for myself.

    @Bill: Thanks! It’s one of my favorite parts of writing this blog.


    December 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

  4. In one of Charles McCarry’s later Paul Christopher novels, there exists a scene in which the Director of the Outfit, David Patchen, does exactly what Dali recommends (without citing him) in order to take a seconds-long break after an exhausting day.

    Frederic Gooding

    April 22, 2019 at 10:58 am

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