Technically, there’s one more day: tomorrow. And I might write, but then again, I probably won’t. Even if I do, though, and even counting this blog (which I will), I will still have failed.
Part of that is not committing fully to writing daily. It can work for me, for sometimes as long as a 5 day streak. (I might have even managed a week streak. I’d have to look at the regular Nano history to find out.) But it doesn’t usually work for an entire month. And it appears to rarely work during one of the Camp months. April? Nope. July? Apparently nope. But November? I’ve done relatively well at least once.
I don’t think this means I’ll never be able to do it. I don’t think it means I can’t write or any of that. But I do think I need to start out with lower expectations. I wanted to adjust down to 10 items (pages were the indicator I was using for that), but the system wouldn’t let me go below 30. Even so, I wouldn’t have made that.
I can’t decide if that means I’m going to skip out on camps from now on, or if I’m just going to try to be more reasonable with my goals. Balancing real life stress vs trying to decompress in healthy ways (I have been reading more again lately, which is pretty awesome; I’ve cut back on gaming with friends lately, but I really enjoyed blowing stuff up with them on a regular weekly basis, and we’re still doing other gaming activities, which I really love) and then trying to add in a task that is almost a chore – but not – well, it doesn’t seem to be working.
It needs to become a new habit. But so do a few other things. Like exercising and dealing with first year home owner issues. I don’t want to back-burner writing, but I think it’s just going to be one of those things that has to be wedged in as I can; and unfortunately, the NaNo camps don’t seem to work for that particularly well.
I’m here. I haven’t been blogging much, and I’ve only written a bit else-web on other topics.
I miss internet people/connections in general, and a few people in specific. I have reached out, but only through the forums we generally connected in. The thought occurs to me that I actually have other avenues. But the way the world is makes me wonder if I’m intruding or crossing boundaries by taking advantage of them? I enjoy getting postal mail. You know, the old sort. Cards and letters with stamps. I’m not as good at sending it out. But I try and I have. It’s so terribly slow though. One thinks of calling, but then time zones raise their hands, clear their throats, and I worry about disruptions to life and peace of mind. This is a failing on my own part, likely, feeling as though people would rather I only be available when they want/need me, but that I hide neatly tucked away in my box until that time. Knowing that’s likely the case doesn’t actually reassure. Because what if?
I read a review the other day of Anne of Green Gables and how she could be read as bi-sexual. Or at least bi-romantic, with her love of Diana. And yet her equal love of Gilbert. And how that wasn’t what the author intended, and in fact, the review asserted, the author would be extremely upset because she herself thought such things inappropriate. And I have been dithering about exploring that rabbit hole. If it’s true, I will be so disappointed. Because what’s so wrong with that? I read it that way as a girl, I realized, when reading the review, even if I didn’t have the words for it, and connected on some level with it. Why take that away from thousands of people? Not that it actually does take it away, mind you. At a certain point, an author can intend all she or he likes, but what the reader brings to a work is also valid in interpreting and experiencing that work.
I have an odd relationship with summer. It’s my birth season, and my mother’s. But neither of us cared much in some ways for celebrating overly much on specific days, and while warmth is nice, being overly warm is not. At the same time, it’s still a break, in my head, because my father was tied to an academic calendar. And finally, it’s not at all a break, especially in my current job, because our general niche doesn’t find it that. It is one of the most challenging times of year in fact. And yet, we also typically go on a company trip in the summer. So yeah. Summer isn’t getting easier to deal with it, the longer I’m in my current position. I’m getting resigned to the stresses and volatility, in small ways. But I still dislike them. And I think they’re making me dislike summer.
I don’t know. There are other things. Those are the ones that are coherent and floating at the surface. I keep floating back to missing people. I miss playing on text-based roleplaying games. I miss being able to walk upstairs to visit friends on the 9th floor. I miss being able to call someone at all hours because we were younger and didn’t need sleep. I miss, in tiny ways, hanging out at conventions with a lot of people at once. I miss feeling able to set aside responsibilities as easily as I once did. I’ve always been a responsible person, who takes things perhaps too seriously, but lately, it feels harder to step away and breathe for a moment.
This is the part of being an adult that I understand people wanting to step away from. When they envy being a kid. Other parts? Not so much. I like not having to answer to someone for other things. For being able to say yes and no on my own terms. I just hate that as an adult my own terms have tightened down so much. I need to find a better balance there, as I’m the only one who can truly control that.
Creating the things. I like to create things. Sadly, sometimes I create half-finished or un-finished things, more than complete things.
I even have a t-shirt that reads Weapons of Mass Creation (I wore it yesterday in fact) that shows things like a fountain pen, paint brush, pencil, crochet hook and knitting needles.
Sometimes, figuring out and focusing on the way that I want to create/make art/make things in the moment I’m feeling like making a thing is more challenging than I’d like. Is it necessary to focus on just 1 or 2? To improve my skill level, I’d have to say yes. I’m not going to magically be able to draw technically well without practice. Or to paint well without practice. Or to have consistently good cookies or pie or dinner without practice. To just enjoy whatever I’m making though – maybe/maybe not? Sometimes, just the act of crocheting or writing can be satisfying.
Sketching / Writing / Crochet / Baking / Cooking
I enjoy fiddling about with all those things.
I’ve managed about half the words for a successful NaNoWriMo (and am planning on participating again next month). I’ve participated in the Camp NaNoWriMo’s and … well, not necessarily succeeded but have definitely increased word count, which is a sort of success, because of the Camp’s relaxed rules.
I sketch as the mood strikes me. In fact, on my drive home this morning from my sister’s house, I decided that instead of buying a birthday card and wrapping supplies for my godson’s birthday gift (already purchased), I’d use comics and draw him a thematically appropriate card. I got him a tackle box for fishing. He’s just getting into it, and really excited. So I googled an image of a trout, and found a rainbow trout that looked simple enough for me to recreate in colored pencil. It came out pretty darn well. Sometimes, that happens. Sometimes it does. I want desperately to draw and no topic comes to mind.
I haven’t crocheted in a while. I should. We’re getting to the right season for it again. So maybe, soon.
And of course I cook several times a week, even if I’m not always baking. Luckily, cooking and baking are basically just chemistry with instructions; once you have a basic idea for how things interact with each other, you’re set. There’s a baking school starting up north that I’d really love to attend. I hope it does well. I’d like it to succeed so that I can try to attend some semester in the future.
But the thing is, they’re all hobbies. They aren’t things I do to earn a living. I like dabbling here and there. But I do sort of wish I could improve more quickly. (And I haven’t even addressed things like musical instruments or coding, which I haven’t truly touched in years.) But again, without focusing…
So, am I thinking too hard about focusing? Is it just finding something to whine about?
Is the fact that I’m writing about it to explore the idea just an expression of the easiest to explore or is it a sign I should focus on writing?
Any or all answers are probably true.
I wonder how people think of me? Do they think of me as an artist or consumer? Depending on which, what kind of artist/consumer?
Some of this triggered by Patreon. Some is just standard existential questions that wander through my brain in passing. Maybe my brain just can’t stand a quiet moment and feels compelled to mutter at me in the brief ones I have. Anyone else have those moments?
I picked up Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition) recently, and finally got around to reading it Tuesday night. According to Amazon it’s 320 pages, and I sort of remember that, but some of that is table of contents and biographies and cast and such.
Because, when it comes down to it, it’s a script you know.
Scripts read somewhat differently than novels, although not a lot. To be honest with you, once I’m a handful of pages into either my mind’s eye takes over and it all sort of flows with words and voices and images of the setting and they feel about the same, except scripts go a teeny bit faster. I read quickly anyway, but normally 320 pages would probably have taken me closer to 5 or 6 hours, and it did not take me nearly that long.
I enjoyed it. I had seen some things on the internet (spoilers) about specific people missing from the book and how that was important/horrible/weird, but in one case specifically they aren’t “missing” they’re just … off-stage. And the characters on-stage react to their existence very much as if they’re part of the world, and in fact, important there. In a play, this is considered normal and is a useful device. In a book, it’s somehow less common (although honestly still happens, but I think people don’t think about it with characters who once had speaking parts and somehow don’t now in this book).
I got to thinking about it though, and I think I’ve been reading scripts since I was either 5 or 6 years old. That I can remember, at least. Mom and Dad had the collected works of Shakespeare in the house, of course, but Daddy had shelves of scripts. I still own some, in fact. I was in an original children’s play as a very small child. And in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as an older child. And Murder in the Cathedral as a teenager. Not to mention plays for school, like Lilies in the Field and others I can’t currently recall. I didn’t particularly like being up on stage, in front of people, but I liked playing a part. And I really loved helping with set creation and lighting and talking about costuming choices and blocking; so I enjoyed reading scene direction.
All of that meant that I have very clear ideas and opinions about what the characters in The Cursed Child look like. And how some of the story line would force some interesting costume changes. (I’m particularly fond of Hermione and Ron in one bit, I’d love to see that live and interpreted on stage!) I have a feeling for where they’d be on stage, and where they were in the universe of Harry Potter. It felt as fleshed out, in many ways, as the books. Perhaps this worked because I’m already familiar with the universe? I think it must be that, to a large degree.
It does make me miss Mom and Dad more, though. I can’t recall if Daddy liked the Harry Potter universe or not. He didn’t read long form for fun all that often, although it did sometimes happen. But he watched a pretty wide variety of television and movies and they would have been within the realm of things he’d be interested in. Mom I know loved the books and movies well enough that she had a favorite line.
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
She’d hand written it, copying out of the book, and kept it on her desk from having fallen in love with it until she died. And I think she’d have been very interested in this installment. Plus, I could have talked to them about the mechanics of reading the different formats and how that feels in your own head, which would have been really good. Most of the time, when I miss my parents, it has less to do with wanting them to fix a thing, or know about an event, and more to do with wanting to talk with them about small daily things and things that made me think of them, and of course, to get hugs and just see them with my eyes again.
I think Rowling understands those feelings so much. And in the end, she explores it quite well in this book. I’ve already lent my copy out to a co-worker, who expressed an interest after she discovered I’d read it the night before. I really hope she enjoys it.
I am tired.
I am tired of being doubted, repeatedly enough that it feels like always.
I am tired of micro-aggressions that nick and crackle at my patience and soul.
I am tired of half-truths and secreted things that breed more negativity.
I am tired.
I read a story about Buddha in the last day that was wonderful. He was being abused by an angry man who thought he didn’t have the right to teach. Buddha asked, “If you give me a gift, and I refuse to take it, who does it belong to?” And the angry man said, “I do. I bought it.” And the Buddha said that the anger was like that. If he didn’t accept it unto himself, it simply turned on the giver.
I liked this, because it’s true. But it also means that the anger feeds and increases on itself. And that part wasn’t mentioned. It’s wonderful that the Buddha can let go and not internalize anger and hatred. And it’s definitely something to aspire to.
But it’s not something that most people can do. That’s why the Buddha, Jesus, and others who have preached only love are so special. It’s hard to do.
Because really, anger isn’t inherently bad, any more than sorrow is inherently bad. When they feed, when they don’t have a healthy outlet and become unthinking tangles of so much frustration and deep depression that lash out like a wounded animal when prodded, bad results. Often, things occur that are not even the things the tangle-bearer would have dreamed of intending.
And that more than anything else, makes me so tired.
There are various articles on the internet that suggest the best thing to do mid-afternoon, when you’re feeling slightly sleepy after lunch and run down after a busy morning working, is to take a power nap of 15 to 20 minutes.
I hate those articles so very much.
Some are better than others, and admit that it’s an “average” among sleep studies. Some of the sleep studies are tiny by research standards.
For me, 15 to 20 minutes is usually not enough time to actually fall asleep. If I’m extremely lucky, I will have just dozed off at 20 minutes. Usually it’s more like 30 minutes.
So, I try not to take naps. If I’m very tired, and it’s no where near bedtime, I might go ahead and lie down; but I do so knowing that I’m probably going to foul up my sleep schedule. I seem to sleep in 3 hour increments. If I’m, again, very lucky, I might manage a “short” 90 minutes, but that’s rare.
I’m not sure what exactly has changed, as I’ve aged.
I have some theories.
I know my sleep patterns took a large hit around the time I was separating and getting divorced from my first husband and my father dying of lung cancer. I don’t recall if it ever really recovered, because I moved away for a year to a different time zone, and never really slept well there either. (Except for when I was very sick with what was probably the flu.) On the other hand, since moving back to Oregon, I’m relatively certain there was a stretch where I slept… somewhat normally for me. And then again, several years later, when my mother had come to live nearby and became sick, I think I regained the habit of cat-napping to keep aware of potential need.
I think this last time, I never really got out of the habit. Even now, I tend to sleep in chunks. I drift off sometimes when my husband does, more often later, and then wake up in roughly 3 hours. On good nights, I might manage 4 hours… but almost always, I’m awakened at 4:30am at the latest by the cats.
That’s first breakfast time, you see. Well, it’s main breakfast, as only one cat is hobbit-like enough to require second breakfast. So after they’ve been fed, if it’s a work day, I go back to bed for another two and a half hours. Just before I leave for the office, the one cat gets his second breakfast. Sometimes he lets our girl have some.
It’s evenings when I often shoot myself in the foot. I’ll get home exhausted, and lie down knowing that it won’t be just a few minutes. I was surprised – the other night, I ended up perhaps only sleeping two and a half hours, and then, although I wasn’t horribly sleepy, I did manage to fall asleep within a couple hours of bedtime, which made the morning much less painful.
At this stage of things, I’m not entirely sure how to fix it. “Ignoring” the cats doesn’t work. Slight sounds I might once have slept through, when younger, now wake me and require acknowledging and identifying before I can roll over and attempt sleep again. And of course, dreams often get in the way, as I dream nightly – I just don’t always remember the dreams later.
I’m not a person who looks back with nostalgia to school years, in general. But that age… where I could sleep without regard for responsibility? Oh, I do miss that!
I have a Facebook account. A lot of people do, anymore. It hung on better than MySpace and continues to adapt and suck in other websites and spin them and twist them into its own useful web. If I allowed it to, I could cross-post this blog there. Sometimes, I rather hate Facebook. Somehow, the newsfeed has shifted over the years to become a graffiti wall on a college campus. People post funny comics, neat flyers about music and art shows coming up, and diatribes about whatever they like. And sometimes they yell at each other. It’s both anonymous, because you aren’t actually face to face, and not. I keep threatening to back off and just use it as a way of keeping up with distant relatives and then something will happen and I get sucked back in. Sometimes, there are funny things there, you see. Sometimes there are things that make me think.
And sometimes there are the rabbit holes. Someone posted a picture of a newspaper clipping, unattributed, with the in-set quote: “People need art in their houses. They don’t need Bed Bath and Beyond dentist-office art. They need weird stuff.” Ezra Croft, art show producer And I thought, well, who is Ezra Croft? What art show? And of course, I liked the photo that was shared by my friend, because really, I agree. Although I do have some Bed Bath and Beyond dentist-office stuff, because sometimes that’s just weird and cool too.
In our home, we have photographs. Yes, family photographs, but also photographs my dad took and had blown up of the sun setting through the field and trees, and a street lamp in the fog through one of the bois d’arc trees. They’re a matched pair, and I have the vertical set. Another sister has the horizontal set. He couldn’t decide which print he liked better you see. I display them both because he took them, and because I like them.
We have prints. Upstairs in the guest room I have prints of winged cats and butterfly winged dragons. I have beautiful anthropomorphic ladies my talented friend created. I have a small print on the nightstand of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet. I have a print by Ursula Vernon that came with her book Digger that I helped support with Kickstarter. Downstairs I have prints of Neil Gaiman quotes, gifts, illustrated by David Mack and Chris Riddell. I have a painting of a silo, hay barn and a small house that my father created years ago. I have metallic and a wooden Kokopelli figures, piping back to back around a corner from each other. I have wind chimes that only sing when the cats tap their pendants, because they’re inside and never feel the breeze. I have a blown glass dragon, a painted paper rhino and a panther, and a piece of Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass. On the stairwell a piece of set from a play hangs on the wall, and in the bathroom a self-portrait of my father as a clown. In my mother’s glass secretary cabinet there are small knick-knacks of a wide variety; from an onyx Madonna to an Under Milkwood miniature to a small weyr of dragons. And rocks. There are of course rocks and sea shells scattered about the house. And I haven’t even gotten to the things with words on that hang in the house, be they in English or languages I don’t read. Scrolls found and kept because they were lovely.
For me, it’s all unique art, but I’m not sure any of it is weird, you see. Because it all means something to me. If you ask me why I have it, invariably the answer is because it was beautiful, and I wanted it. Or some pieces, simply because “my parents had it in their home, and I loved them… and it.” Like the portrait of my parents kissing under a bridge in Pittsburgh, near Three Rivers, framed perfectly, that my uncle took and someone had blown up and framed. Or the prayer that was framed, that was found in a church, that was given to my mother, and the words are lovely, even if I no longer feel particularly Catholic.
I was thinking about these, and others not mentioned, when I stumbled back over the quote and tracked it down. It was in the San Francisco Chronicle, an article written just the 28th of July, about Ezra Croft, who had an art show dedicated to Bill Murray, the comedian. Mostly, it appears to be homages to the actor. The fun thing is, the quote from Mr. Croft? When asked where his day job is? It’s Bed Bath and Beyond. What I took away from the article was that what he really wanted was art to be about connection. Well, he wanted the city’s connection and quirkiness to be back. And maybe, just a little bit, when we see a Peanuts cartoon strip with Lucy’s Psychiatry Booth reimagined as Cthulu’s Psychological Trauma Booth, or other random things on Facebook, some of that connection occurs and keeps some of us there longer.
Then again, for me, art has always been about connection. So perhaps, my art is and always has been just a little bit weird, by those standards.
I’m very okay with that. I like the comfort that weirdness brings.