January 25, 2012
It’s not my strongest virtue. At times I have a hidden store of endless patience on which I can meditate but for the time I don’t have access to this treasure trove, I pace, stubborn and indignant. Frustrated. Irritable.
Come on, I say. Hurry up.
Nothing makes me so impatient as having to wait for books. I order them sometimes on a whim, other times in bulk, to satisfy what Lewis Buzbee describes as ‘book lust’ in his memoirs The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Lust always demands satisfaction.
I could swallow my agoraphobia, dose myself on chill-pills and descend upon my local book store but my desire for books often extends beyond their catalogue. Then the paradox comes; I have the patience to search out the best possible deal.
(Note: I do love supporting bookstores but I long for the secondhand store that thrives on people as much as it does profit. Online secondhand stores that donate proceeds to charity are my preferred choice even though they lack that physical, human element. Support your local bookshop, corporate or independent. Imagine the world without them… Disgusting, isn’t it?)
So whilst I’m suspended between contemplating prices for days on end and waiting furiously for days on end for the books to arrive, I find myself thinking about my lack/abundance of patience.
It’s application extends beyond books by the way; I have as much patience for waiting for my root vegetables to sprout as I do waiting for the dentists to send me an appointment; both can take as much time as they need, though for different reasons.
I become devoid of my staying power when cravings are involved. Chocolate for instance, is an insistent addiction. It’s said that waiting five to ten minutes when experiencing a chocolate craving is enough to render it mute but after having waited almost two hours last night, I set upon a long forgotten packet of baking chocolate chips and satisfied myself that way. Not as cathartic as a small square of Lindt, but it put me at ease.
(Note: I didn’t eat all of the chips by the way, just a small handful. They were sickly).
My composure disintegrates when there’s a hole to be filled; knowledge (book lust), sweetness (chocolate), loneliness (friends, letters, phone calls). It’s the expectation, the anticipation of the fulfilment of those desires, all of them base desires, that drive me to twisting my fingers about themselves until their joints are so loose, they disconnect from one another with a gentle tug and then slide back into place.
My grit exists when I expect nothing. I’ve answered a few calls to writing submissions and I’m calmer about this than I am about anything else in my life. Part of it is confidence, part is knowing that there will always be someone better. As long as I have done my best at the time of submission, I have nothing to feel anxious about.
And if I fail to catch the attention of the judges this time, I can revise the works and do my best for the next set of submissions, the effort itself being better than my last attempt because I have learnt more, matured, and am comfortable with perseverance.
January 21, 2012
I say some terrible things a lot of the time. I get irritable and snappy. Frustration; disbelief; confusion; fear.
I’m a cocktail of unrealised self-loathing at the best of times, and then I go and lose my temper, and losing your temper can be roughly translated into:
Becoming so overwhelmed by the awesomeness of your shock and sudden idiocy brought about by said shock, you instantly fail to recognise the people around you as people and thus treat them as objects to be abused in various ways that might include but are not exclusive to screaming, swearing, throwing crockery, punching/slapping, threatening divorce/break-up, guilt-tripping, silent treatment, and degradation of the spirit.
A lot of my unleashed fury is projection; not being in control of my emotional life is distressing and who better to take it out on than the one who happens to be in the wrong place at the perfect time?
It’s their fault that I’m frustrated, it’s their fault that I’m so pissed off and they’re the ones who always bring me down. They’re also the ones who can’t cope in the world, are avoiding their issues and are emotionally stunted in some way or another. They’re also the ones with a shoddy memory, and complicated framework of desire, and an insatiable but aimless thirst for knowledge, propped up by a shoddy memory that barely clings to its unhinged home.
The Blame Game is one of the most successful forms of self-annihilating entertainment of our age. Asides from Cluedo, this addictive battle of apathy hasn’t been exploited to its full potential. Perhaps it’s because the reality is too painful to admit: no one is to blame.
I’ve just finished reading Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. She has gone through some very difficult times indeed and has dealt with more anger than I can shake a stick at, but she doesn’t really blame anyone; people have certainly been an influence in the outcome of her life thus far, but she doesn’t resent them for it.
She doesn’t blame her biological mother for giving her up
I don’t mind. I certainly don’t blame her. I think she did the only thing she could do. I was her message in a bottle thrown overboard.
Neither does she blame her adoptive mother, the overpowering Mrs Winterson, for the life that she has lead up to this day
And I do know, really know, that Mrs W gave me what she could too – it was a dark gift but not a useless one.
I try to make the conscious effort to stop myself from blaming others, for projecting my own insecurities onto those I love. It’s not an overnight event. This sort of patience, mindfulness and recognition takes years to achieve. Can I be bothered?
I can. I’ve had enough of fighting and hurt feelings. Those things make you sick.
Anger is nothing more than a pallet of difficult, different coloured emotions. The least I can do is paint a pretty picture with it, and bypass the guilt of opening my stupid, uncontrollable mouth at the same time.
January 16, 2012
I am totally avoiding a body of writing at the moment.
Lordy it’s been a while since I was here; look at all of this dust. But dust is cool because once you get past the yuck-factor of it being mostly composed of your dead skin, you realise you can write in it. Make smiley faces.
I didn’t do too bad last year, did I? I kept up with this blog at least until I got into a serious relationship with my MA and then forgot my password to the account. It’s taken me about a week to get access again.
I did extremely well on my MA by the way. A distinction. Who would have thought!
For someone who was repeatedly told as a child that I was retarded, that I was never going to amount to anything, that I’d spend my life stacking cans of beans at the Co-op, and then being punished and / or ridiculed for the slightest whiff of intelligent thought, I think I’ve done well.
Fucking brilliant I’d say. And I don’t often swear in my blog. That’s how proud I am. That’s how wrong everyone has ever been about me.
Anyway, that’s enough of my triumphant har-har for the moment.
I don’t think I got round to fulfilling all of my tasks for 2011 and considering it’s now 2012, to hell with them; I have a lot more to be getting on with.
With roughly a third of my novel composed as a draft, it’s time to resume our intense love affair. I took a break after finishing in August, intending to start again in October but ended up falling ill. I guess there’s only so many months I can get away with reasonable health before my exhausted body and unhinged mind find a weak spot and bring me tumbling back to earth with a prolonged and painful thud.
I’m still recovering.
Now is the time of the novel. As such, I won’t be on here as often as I was in my glory days last year, but I will be focusing on my tumblr blog instead. I set this up to act as a companion for my novel as I go through the motions, a place to explore the ideas and techniques specific to this project.
I’m thinking of starting another soon to serve the same function for a Novella I’d like to write but this is all still being thought through very carefully. Updates will be included on here if there are any.
I guess I’ll occasionally return here to rant about something, explore a profound moment or feeling, or reflect on the books that I’ve been reading. I hope none of my followers are disappointed. And yes, I know there are quite a few more of you than when I last looked.
Welcome. I hope you are all well.
For those who have ventured from Tiny Buddha, I will also be making more contributions to the site in the near future, but again with less ferocity as before.
Sometimes it’s nice to take a back seat for a while and concentrate on other things so that you can refresh, find yourself, and prevent the inevitable decay of an over-worked ambition or hobby. I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’ll say it again: there’s no need to be ‘on’ all the time, neither is there anything to be gained from being so.
Now. Back to the body of writing that I’m avoiding…