Doesn’t mean much, I know. I keep promising myself to write more and I keep…not.
I’m under clouds, wordless. But I’ll power through and find the words.
Doesn’t mean much, I know. I keep promising myself to write more and I keep…not.
I’m under clouds, wordless. But I’ll power through and find the words.
Been a while. I’ve been posting some video game thoughts with Ch00ber over at The Actual Worst, and I’ve been drowning in work. Seriously, by the time I look up from work most days it’s already 4 or 5, and I’m racking up steps.
I’m most of the way through On Beauty, but the end is catapulting into unhappiness and the writing is beautiful, it’s a gorgeous book, but it’s already broken my heart once and it’s about to break my heart again and apparently my capacity for heartbreak is at an all time low at the moment.
Life continues apace.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading over this holiday season — finally finishing the excellent Skippy Dies, and halfway through the very long but glorious Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby. Skippy Dies was really quite good — likable, heartbreaking — but I often struggle with books where I can see myself hurtling towards a horrific moment. In Skippy’s case, that moment comes about 50 pages into the books (hardly a spoiler, considering the title), but then time rewinds and the months leading up to his death are replayed. It’s hard to remember what it was like being a teenager, but my high school years were horrid. My junior year was so bad that I blocked huge portions of it out: I was a mess, and a jerk with it. And Skippy Dies hit that jerky mess perfectly, because I wasn’t a bad kid and neither are these. They’re sweet kids, mostly, who will grow up to be fine adults, and it’s just being a teenager.
Also fine writing. I enjoyed this biting swipe at a particularly unlikeable adult:
‘What is it they’re playing again, Father?’
‘Pachelbel’s Canon in D,’ Father Laughton says, adding, after a moment of internal debate, ‘You might recognize it from the current advertisement for the Citroën Osprey.’
The Automator nods. ‘Quality,’ he comments, settling back in his chair.
Nick Hornby’s Ten Years in the Tub is a great palette cleanser, because I like reading about books almost as much as I like reading them and I have a soft spot in my heart for the Believer ANYHOW so it’s perfect. I’m so glad I wasn’t hit with one of the other depressing books currently in my stack. I’ve chomped it down, more than halfway in two days (ok, look, I’ve been working and it’s 500 pages so that’s an achievement) and I’ll be so sad to leave the cozy world of books on books and back into, you know, just books.
Oh and also I read The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (a Holiday Story) by Lemony Snicket; my brother wisely deduced that this book was not for the nephew but it cheered me up immensely; the Latke feels lonely and out of place in a sleepy village filled with Christmas decorations — each of whom infuriates him so much he ran away screaming, until he finally finds peace with a Jewish family. Peace, pieces, whatever.
Anyhow, November and December were horrid and 2015 was the pits for so many reasons but now it’s going to be January, going to be a fresh year, fresh moments, fresh tries. So, see you in my inevitable New Year’s earnest post. Mwah.
I thought the blues would pass with November, the lights and cheer of December worming their way into my heart. I drove home from Thanksgiving buoyed by family and love and then almost instantly found myself struggling all over again.
December was never going to be a cakewalk this year, but I find myself driving home in tears, thinking about Dad, about tradition, about what it used to be like to pick up the phone and call him. And work is busy and stressful and I think everyone feels more or less the same about December and there’s really not a whole lot of goodwill toward man floating around.
I read a post from a sweetly earnest girl saying “Christmas is what you make it!” which — well, frankly, frankly, UGH. I see those words covered in glitter and lights and hallmark music playing and maybe a lifetime movie through every letter and I get it, I appreciate the sentiment, but ugh. This year Christmas ain’t going to be much. But I don’t really want to give in to that, I want to remember the joy. How do I remember the joy.
On Thanksgiving, my aunt gave me my great-aunt Mary’s christmas tree. Everyone in the family had one, although I think the one we had on Adams Street was green with multicolored lights. I like this one, which speaks so clearly to Aunt Mary: feminine and nostalgic and slightly fussy.
It took a week to unbox it, set it up, and when I did I took a quick picture. “Need all the good memories,” I wrote on instagram. And I do. I need to draw the past around me like a blanket, pick and polish the gems of the present. That little Christmas tree in its 70s glory suits my kitschy little cabin, and it reminded me of gentle Aunt Mary
Growing up, we had peonies in the back garden. They were Mom’s specialty (I don’t know what her favorite flower was, really: the sweet smelling wild colored roses, or the irises, or the zinnias that grew waist high against the house?). They bloomed for her birthday every year, and she’d bring them into the house where we’d inevitably find ants eating away at the sugar coating, letting them unfurl.
This fellow and his enormous big nose. There was a moment in August I thought he’d be gone sooner than I was ready for, gone and gone and I wasn’t ready for that. And then he turned it around, and he’s getting old and I may not have him for much longer but he’s here with me this Christmas, all huge eyes and nose where it shouldn’t be and leaning against me for comfort, for pets, and for the occasional kiss when my face gets too close
This little clown here lived on Depot St at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Grandpa had a whole collection of toys, mostly windup. The little godzilla that breathed fire, the eyes on feet, flipping their eyeglasses up and down, the king kong who climbed up and down an empire state building, the little toy plane made out of pressed tin. We used to line them up on parades, and the rest of the time they’d sit on a high shelf, this unassuming collection. I don’t particularly like clowns, but I loved this guy, spinning him endlessly on his bar. His outfit has been darned, his hat superglued on, and still he spins.
A letter from a friend came in the mail last week and I opened it immediately and then savored the reading of it hours later, a treat at the end of a tedious day. Words on paper, a card, a person out there thinking of me, sharing with me. A friend who treasures the same things I do, values the time spent writing, caring.
Grandma’s necklace. She didn’t wear it all the time, but I remember it over many a sensible sweater. Mom gave it to her, a gift from Kuwait. And when Grandma died, it was the only thing I wanted to remember her by. Dad made me promise: never take it off. Wear it every day. And I do. When I’m stressed or sad I find myself fishing it out of my shirt, holding it, not really thinking of them but maybe, somehow, thinking of them.
My little cabin in the morning, light beams streaming through the window. This place is mine, a space that is only mine, a place I can be alone. I treasure those plays of light through the window, against the wall, on the pages of my book. I treasure every quiet minute there.
Seven days, and I don’t really think I felt that much better at the end but you know, I do now, I do for having written it out. Seven days in a long December, at the start of a long winter, and there it is, a hint of the joy of the past and maybe a promise that there are still joys to come.
You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that at some point in the future everything you see there will one day happen to you … gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg — that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you’d imagine, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor-tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of ‘life’. Now, with every day that passes, another door seems to close, the one marked PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN or FIGHT EVIL ROBOT, until as weeks go by and the doors – GET BITTEN BY SNAKE, SAVE WORLD FROM ASTEROID, DISMANTLE BOMB WITH SECONDS TO SPARE — keep closing, you begin to hear the sound a a good thing, and start closing some yourself, even ones that didn’t necessarily need to be closed . . .
Hit me right in the feels. Replace TV with books and PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN with MAGICAL HERO and that’s my life.
There was a red sky this morning, high scudding clouds and low racers flying across them. The trees are mostly bare, except pines and stubborn oaks. I saw a comet on my drive home the other night, one of the Leonids, a flash and streak of blue before it burned out.
I’m run down and weary. Maybe I’m fighting something off, maybe I’m just stressed out. I’m back to only wanting to curl up and watch stupid videos (twitch streams mostly) at night and be asleep before 10. I know part of it is just transition. Part is just November.
November, when it’s not yet the cold clear of winter, but after it’s the pretty fall. Brown and olive and drab everywhere you look. Low skies. Temperatures up and down and I go to bed freezing but wake up hot. And I’m just sad. It came back in a wave. When I’m stressed my defenses are down and it creeps back in. Did it think I forgot?
I had a stress dream: relieving the last week, trying desperately to change things, but the outcome was always the same. The next night I dreamed of a zombie outbreak, of hiding desperately, pretending to be dead, finally giving myself away in a bid to protect someone else.
I just need to get inspiration back. Steady breaths.
It’s been a while since I’ve had an album get under my skin the way Woman by Rhye has. It’s already a few years old and I liked it when it first came out but now it’s just on repeat, all the time, in my head.
I think about it a lot: if I hadn’t made such an effort to listen to whole albums I would’ve missed out on this. It’s so PRETENTIOUS of me to think that way but it’s true.
That’s on my mind a bit because I finally caved and got internet in the cabin. (Sidenote: I want to give the cabin a name!) and I don’t want to undo the good work I’ve been doing on my attention span. Already, I feel like I’m overdosing on having instant access again: watching five seconds of a stream here, an hour there, netflix streams, changing the radio constantly. And oh, how I love the Amazon Echo. Walk in the door, ask Alexa to play x on Pandora, and instant, comforting noise.
I’m realizing there are beaucoup benefits to living where I do, as well. It’s stunning how different Wellfleet feels to the mid-Cape, and how different the upper Cape is to both. They’re these little regions in a larger region, all culturally unique. Wellfleet feels like a place people live and work, not just a place people vacation (or retire). The people watching at the grocery is so varied. And then there’s the water — everywhere. Everywhere.
I miss things about the old house, but I love that this place is mine. No one else’s. Mine.
Woke up in the predawn, gloom in my heart. No real reason. Rolled over, stared at the ceiling, thought about the day ahead, exhausted before I even moved. No real reason for it. Nothing so bad in my day today — a couple of meetings, a one on one. Getting time to focus in. The tourists are gone. Baxter sleeping soundly, snoring next to the bed, happy in the cool.
Clear sky on the drive in, the high blue of October, still golden, fragile in the pause before winter. Last night the sunset was spectacular – dark grey pregnant clouds ahead, pink and purple behind me, in a flat line. Lines of car on suicide alley, headlights on. Getting dark early.
My cough is finally fading after a week; fever dreams just a memory. So why the doom, heart. Why the irrational, generalized anxiety (the snow falls general over Ireland), the sense of listlessness, the emptiness? Is it just that you want to be a jerk, heart? Brain? Just don’t want to get it together?
New sheets on the bed tonight, brushed microfiber. Windows open to the chill, buried in blankets and pillows. A book. A fall flavored candle. Apple Cider, a fall treat. Lights on against the night. Heart, I’ll give it to you, just buck up. Stop mourning a million losses, stop fighting against the joys that we have today. Things are ok.
Things are looking up, let’s be honest. I’ve got a lot of good feelings about the next few months, and…
This morning I sat in front of an open window, the chilly grey Wellfleet morning blowing in, and listened to my favorite Kishi Bashi song
I found the last page in the sky / it was cold and clear like an apple / I found you and now / the story has its proper end
and made a proper to do list.
It’s been months. And I missed the discipline, because it’s easier to do a hard thing if you know you only have to do one that day. And because I feel better, more in control, when I’m physically crossing items off a list. More like a responsible human being.
Part of it is absolutely the weather. You guys. It’s COLD in the mornings. I mean, 58, but it had been 70 even at 5 am and I hate that so much, and now fall suddenly peaked around the corner and it’s coming and soon I’ll need more BLANKETS on my bed and oh man. Fall. The BEST.
Yesterday was the start of the cooler weather, and I made a dump run and cleaned up my car a little and cleaned up my place a LOT and went to bed so early, watching Red Dwarf and Community. I woke up with a bit of a headache that hasn’t quite faded today, but it’s the kind sleep with cure.
Gonna charge my camera again tonight, start taking pictures again, start seeing the life I’m really living.
It’s been a time. I don’t really know if it’s been good or bad or neutral or what. It’s just been a mess of busyness, exhaustion, frayed nerves, but also expectation, excitement, contentedness. Yesterday I reminded myself yet again that my mood is always linked TIGHTLY to my surroundings and spent an hour or so tidying up Thursday and Friday I felt lighter, like magic. Look, I found 50% of the Art of Tidying Up nonsense but that other 50% rang true as true can be. Of course I woke up this morning having made a slight mess than night before and thought, “ah, oh well,” and left it there. I’ll tidy some more tonight.
This whole no internet thing is working out well, but I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m exhausted anyway and haven’t had the energy to do much that I would usually use energy for. I finished Dragon Age: Origins (and Awakening) (oh, ANDERS) and am most of the way through DA:II. Yeah, I’d say my concentration levels have improved; I’m liking it.
I feel like there’s just not enough time, which is so silly because there’s plenty of time.