[image description: A lovely Black woman lies back against the deep blue night sky as the world spins around and behind her. Whether the orange on the horizon is the earliest dawn, or deepest dusk we cannot know. She (and her stuffed sheep) lie in comforting spirals of cloud-like gold. To either side lie forms that resemble the shelves that hem in Sleep Miser. But where those shelves were full of distractions, these are nothing but empty peaceful shapes. Text reads, “203, Lulah BYE, small god of A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP”]
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Her faithful are many; she inspires multitudes. Most children come to her when they close their eyes, but it is a skill too many lose as they age, slipping from her hands like the sand they credit to all gods of slumber and of dreaming. They become adults in uncomfortable beds, their shoulders bowed with stress, their dreams clouded with concern, and they move away from her.
So she tries to tell them how to return to her arms. She tells them, replace your mattress if you can, find something that suits the curve of your spine and the comfort of your hip, hard or sort of anywhere in-between. If replacing your mattress is too much to ask of bank and budget, replace your pillows, find something soft and sweet to cradle you, and wash your pillowcases and your sheets. Find a soothing drink to ease you into my arms, turn off the television, put away the phone. Please, please, come home. Come home to me.
She tries to pull them from Appalla’s arms, for nothing disrupts a good night’s sleep like doom scrolling until the walls of slumber close in; she tries to tell them to protect their time with her as they would protect their time with any lover, that yes, she will ask them for hours upon hours, but she will give them so much of their waking lives back again that they will not resent the lost. She is the salt in the soup: she will make all things that much richer and more flavorful. She begs, when she must. She does not often win, but oh, when she does. When she does, she celebrates.
She is not a god of pleasant dreams, cannot promise you fine fantasies or comfort, but she is a god of waking rested and content, able to face the world. She comes for all, the wicked and the divine, the rich and the poor, and while she understands that some lives are more suited to her comforts, she tries to reach us all. She yearns to grant us her compassion.
Each night, she stands in battle with the Sleep Miser for our survival. We have a choice. We can dedicate ourselves to only one of them.
Lulah hopes we will choose joy, and dreaming.
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Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world: