Toward the end of his life, reading and writing came together in a kind of painful synesthesia. In the spring of 2000, one of his letters admitted, "I can't find anything to read that isn't overstimulating. I am about half way through War and Peace and if I read that after dinner I go on living it in my dreams. Awful things that I know are going to happen, scenes I have made up in my sleep and sometimes just writing."This is something I struggle with as well: any reading I do in the time leading up to going to bed is guaranteed to stay with me through the night. My dreams become suffused with the language of the author I'd been reading; I spend hours in some nebulous state between reading, writing, and living the words of the novel, wrestling (often stressfully) with its problems and thinking in its language. The most recent book to take me over like that was Murakami's 1Q84, which did not make for restful dreams--the oneiroi made sure that Murakami's flat language was even more freighted with dread than it is in daylight hours.
I had always assumed this was common among serious readers, but Collier's account makes Maxwell's case sound unusual. Am I wrong? Is this something you experience? And is it, like with me, bad enough that it makes you avoid in bed much of the time?