circles

So four years is a long time.

Things that have changed in my life: My work situation. My location (same region, different dwelling). My hair (cut it very short two years ago, grew it out, now six months into locs).

Things that have not changed: my unpublished status. My self-sabotaging inclinations. I mean, I should be asleep right now, actually, but let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on what I’m trying to do.

Things I will (try) not (to) worry about here: who may be reading or not reading. What my writing reads here like. The future. Other nebulous, unspecific fears that I’m sure will reveal themselves in due time.

Goals: Be present. Reconnect. With self, with world. With work toward betterment.

I (rather unexpectedly) went on extended hiatus for a few different correlated reasons. Inexplicable fatigue. Pressure to sound more refined than I perceived myself. Pressure to make this place work as a viable online presence. My life was reclusive and uneventful and I felt I had little to offer. My motivation petered out, dragging my writing progress down with it. I felt I’d run out of things to say, at least at the time. Whenever I felt like hopping back into the groove, I talked myself out of it. I’m still not 100% convinced of myself, but at this point I’m working through those doubts, and I guess that makes all the difference.

I’m realizing that none of those concerns matter. Just do, I’m realizing. Just do.

I’ve sat on this post for a couple of days, wondering how to make it more somehow, how to polish it in ways I couldn’t explain, how to make it work. I have to post it now, because I just remembered that, again, none of that matters.

Here goes.

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Venn diagram snippet, AKA just a circle.

I never do this. It’s a tiny, jumbled sliver of material I’m working on though, so it doesn’t make me twitchy.

I went to bed late last night, as is the trend. Words in her voice popped into my head before I turned off the light.

I wrote this for her:

What is this? I mean, really. What? What is this? How did I get here, and how do I get back to where I started? Someone hand me a walkthrough. Seriously. 

Can I have these last eight years back? Let me— let me just start over from there. I don’t know what I’d do differently. Maybe I’d just get more sleep. Scratch that, actually. I spent too much of those years unconscious anyway.

and realized– or fully admitted, perhaps– that my Everyday and my protagonist’s Purgatory had become one and the same.

Usually I try to make a distinction between Me and Me-Shaped Characters. This time? Nooope.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

In other news: I learned that music sounds better when you’re getting things done.  My theory, anyway. I mean, yesterday was almost fun.

Staying focused. Or not really.

Last week was uncharacteristically strange, and as such led to a slowdown. Either way, I would have still tripped over my own gleefully flailing limbs and never quite picked up where I left off, as feared in a post from the week before last. Although the desire is still present, I feel back at square one regarding energy. How do you maintain momentum when executing personal projects?

One of the things that actually has turned out to be a hindrance is the effort required to write here every day. I spend huge amounts of time thinking about what I have to say, as for a long time I felt I simply had nothing to say– nothing that worked here, anyway. I don’t think that’s true anymore, and learning how to get back into the rhythm of writing daily– and accepting that writing for whatever it turns out to be– is healthy. Still, I struggle with splitting time between posts and other writing projects, which are the higher priority for me.

I don’t see this as the absolute end of my sudden burst of energy, but more as a reminder that it will require discipline and effort to stay on target. I won’t always feel like doing it. I knew this already, but it’s always easy to tell yourself that you’ll never slack again when you’re itching to write and still coming up with ideas at 4 am.

Two times I felt helpless.

1. There was a point in time, not all that long ago, when my mom and I lived with my sister, brother-in-law, and my then-newborn niece in their condo.

I don’t remember if the sound woke me up, or if I was already awake, but I heard it. It sounded distant, maybe a few blocks away in any direction. “Help!” It was a man’s voice, probably, elevated in a gut-wrenching shriek unlike anything I’d ever heard with my own two ears. “Help!”

Sleep is an impossibility with a sound that terrifying trickling into your ears, so I listened, thinking it would stop at some point. Surely someone screaming at the top of his lungs for help would eventually receive it— and in a hurry, one would assume.

But it went on. On and on. I have no idea how long, but it felt like at least twenty minutes. I wondered, Why won’t someone do something?

I actually got up and looked out of my second-story window, wondering if this person was anywhere nearby, in the condo complex maybe. The thing about the complex, though, is that the condos didn’t face the street. The front of the buildings were turned inward, perpendicular from the main thoroughfare, and faced each other. I couldn’t see anything except the shared driveway and the drawn curtains across the way.

Should I call the police? I thought. What could I possibly say? “Yeah, um, there’s someone screaming for help. Somewhere. Nearby. I have no idea where, though. I live off of Main Street. Does that help?”

Now, I don’t know. I’m guessing that there is actually a range of possible explanations and outcomes for this situation. It could have just been a drunken incident, though “help” is a pretty serious thing to scream. Maybe he stopped because he actually got some help. But I don’t know, and I never will.

I’ve always felt guilty about that. I don’t know what I could have done though.

2. I think it was the Fourth of July. It must have been, because I know it was a holiday in the summer requiring the purchase of barbecue vittles. My sister and I went to Safeway to grab some extra things we’d forgotten to purchase earlier in the week. She was also going to buy strawberries, shortcakes, and the whipped cream that she always leaves in our parents’ fridge to go to waste, every year. None of us eat whipped cream.

The store was packed, naturally. We wove in and out of the parking lot aisles, waiting for someone to pull out. Maybe 10 minutes later, a spot was in the process of opening up, closer to the back of the lot. Fine with us. We waited patiently as a petite woman popped her trunk and started transferring her purchases into it a bag at a time. She took her time, which for some reason seems to be the tendency when you know there are people waiting for you. Her cart stood somewhere behind her, with the long basket-end closer to her and the handlebar and toddler seat just out of her reach. Her purse sat in the toddler seat.

A few feet behind the woman was a man on a bicycle.

I’m sure you know what happens next.

The man idled briefly on his bike, and I thought he was just taking a breathing. For a second he eyed my sister and I. We both made eye contact with this dude. There’s no way to describe these moments without making them sound drawn out, but I swear, it all happened in a few blinks’ worth of time. While the woman’s back was completely turned to the cart, the man on the bike rushed forward and snatched the purse out of the toddler seat. He made a loop and pedaled away like he was out to win the Tour de France. Like it was the next thing on his To-Do List. Steal purse. Win race. Bake cookies.

You know when something so shocking happens that you can’t even get complete words out of your mouth for a couple seconds? Yeah. Complete disbelief. We looked at each other just to confirm that it had really happened. Amazingly, the woman had no idea what had just occurred. For a few moments the inside of our car was nothing but shouts and windmilling arms, all to get the woman’s attention. We had to honk before she finally looked at us, and then gesture wildly at the empty space in the cart.

I’ll never forget the hurt look on her face when the situation finally dawned on her. She burst into tears.

The police were called. We stayed, told the officer everything we’d seen. But that woman was never going to get her purse back, and the officer said as much from the word go. A simple holiday afternoon for her was now a day to be spent contacting the bank, canceling cards, and planning to replace her license, phone, and who knows what else. I felt awful. I wished I could have done something more. I wish I’d seen that man on the bike and done something before he even moved forward. We should have honked sooner, gotten the woman’s attention and scared him off. I should have known, I thought, seen it coming. I felt bad, but I can’t imagine how she must have felt.

It’s for my benefit. Really.

Honest question: is it okay to put up a bibliography of work for yourself even if some (most? almost all?) of the work is still in progress, and none of the work is published?

Just wondering.

Anyway, last night I was agitated in much the same way I’d been the night/morning before. The only difference was that I acted like a big girl and went to bed at a reasonable time. Didn’t stop me from waking up at odd hours. Twelve, four. It’s like my subconscious was telling me, “Aren’t we usually awake at this hour? Wait, are you doing that ‘acting normal’ thing again? …Good luck with that.”

I’m in the process of channeling this frenetic energy into something meaningful, but the universe doesn’t seem to be moving as fast as my mind wants it to. I’m caught between an  uncharacteristic satisfaction with my material and a strange frustration in my inability to get it out fast enough. My page count, word count, words per minute are all just not enough for me. This means that next time I post it may or may not be something on the more fictional end of the spectrum. More likely, it might just mean that I’ll put up that bibliography, for purely motivational and/or self-indulgent reasons. Maybe if I make them visible, tangible in that way, then they’ll all actually kind of happen.

*cough*And because I’ve always been good at fantasizing about achievements I haven’t quite achieved.

Crushing blocks with a fist.

Last night. This morning. Let me tell you about it.

I crawled into bed at around 6 am. I’d spent much of the night with my not-terribly-secret lover, Youtube. We laughed together while I clicked through a maze of old comedy and music videos posted by my favorite independent musician. We teared up together, just a little, when I somehow fell into a strange string of emergency 911 dispatch videos, including a darling one made by a five-year-old who reassured her father with the calmest “Don’t worry, Dad” ever. I also discovered a new musician through the old one and got lost in his old videos too. Dude’s posted over 400. Yeah. I’m still a little concerned about losing future nights to this guy’s work. I hate days like this, tripped up in the fog of self-imposed exhaustion, but old habits die hard.

It was still dark, so I tried to trick myself into berating myself a little less than usual over my largely aimless all-nighter. I put my head to my pillow, surrounded my face with blankets to block out the impending sunlight, and closed my eyes. My head buzzed and my eyes flickered behind my lids. I was still kind of amped, slow cooking on HI.

Watching YT musicians isn’t a complete waste; it does tend to strike an inspirational chord for me, even though writers and musicians are obviously two different kinds of artists. I’d been trying to get myself to write every day with more balance, more acceptance of what I accomplish (or fail to accomplish) at the end of a writing session. Not just fiction either, but more of this, more of the conversations with myself that I’ve fallen out of practice with. I lay in the dark this morning thinking about what would come next. I don’t quite remember what the first flash of inspiration was, but I turned on the light to write it down in the notebook I keep beside my bed. Then I turned it off and stuffed the blankets up around me again. Maybe that would steady the tremble I felt like I’d developed.

Oh, another prompt to scribble down. I knew I wouldn’t remember it when I woke up, and I knew that thinking about forgetting it would bother me so much that I would struggle to fall asleep. So I turned the light on again and scrawled the thought. The light seeping through my blinds bled from dark blue to pale.

It happened again. And again and again. I didn’t keep perfect track, but judging just from the number of thoughts I got down, I turned the light on and off no fewer than fifteen times. I got in seven pages of material. I haven’t reread through all of them, but one of them sticks out to me: “I’m afraid for when this sudden burst of ideas goes away.”

All of a sudden I wanted to write everything. I wanted to share everything. And every idea I had was a good one, or one with potential. Every thought I had was too precious to lose to sleep because I’ve been so hard up for motivating ideas that I refused to let any go. If I hadn’t been so tired, and if I hadn’t rationally known that I needed to catch at least a few Zs if I wanted to even pretend to function, then I’d have run right back out to the keyboard and pounded out something, anything.

The last time I looked at the clock just before finally reaching unconsciousness, it was after 8 am.

Having nothing to do today, I woke up around 12:30. My near-uncontainable enthusiasm about the things I wrote in that notebook has settled, but my overall optimism about what I might accomplish while in Starman–mode again is still there, somewhere behind the dark eye circles.

So we’ll see.

Hiatus, clearly.

Hi there. Long time no see. Still kicking. And working on all my long-term goals. I’ve obviously been on hiatus, and that’s not going to change immediately… but it will change. Once things settle into a nice groove. Not having a camera really impeded on posting regularity, but that’s changed. In the meantime, I’ll be working on my novel, my screenplay(s!), spending more time on my (non-literary) art, learning new crafts, and enjoying Veganmofo. See you soon.