jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
Will Moore RIP. The comments are insightful, particularly CassandraLeo's, particularly when paired with Five Lies Depression Told Me.

I don't know. At this point I feel confident in saying that I was depressed by summer 2012. That I was probably depressed by September 2011, and likely October 2010, and back and back and back with a little less certainty at each milestone. That being laid off eased up certain pressures but not others, and that after six months, being off work had done about as much good as it was going to. That I remained depressed up through last summer and on into the start of fall.

Still, I'm reluctant to identify as "depressed." I guess maybe I am, if frequent suicidal ideation and sporadic self-harm are anything to go by. I don't know. I feel pretty okay these days, but then oxytocin is a hell of a drug. Ask me in a month.



Too, I'm reluctant to try antidepressants for several reasons. In no particular order:

One, I am not the most reliable observer of my own mental state, and would prefer not to lock myself into something that maybe works with unpleasant side effects.

Two, finding a doctor in this town is a fool's errand.

Three, I would much prefer to sort out the external stressors in my life and see what's left after that.

Four, I've tried drugs once. I was on Prozac for a little over two years, from the end of high school through the first two years of university. It clipped the highs and lows of my emotional state, which I guess was a tradeoff I was happy to make at the time, and also sharply limited any pleasure I took from sex. Not the drive, mind you, just the physical pleasure.

This was under the direction of a terrible, terrible counselor chosen by my parents, at a time when their worry was "clearly there's something wrong with our son, he's not keeping up with his schoolwork." (A caricature, but not, I think, a wholly unfair one.) It's possible that that whole experience has made me averse to the idea of being depressed.



I don't know what the point of this post is, either, other than leaving a record where I can find it later. At about this time, Tucker began to consider that maybe he was clinically depressed and had been for well over a decade.

Eh.
jazzfish: Exit, pursued by a bear (The Winter's Tale III iii)
I'm notoriously bad at determining whether I like doing something, particularly something that's new to me. It took me at least a year before I could say "yeah i like viola," for instance.

bendy )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
On Wednesday I finally got the home office area set up. Now I can work from home with an actual monitor and keyboard and trackball and standing-desk, rather than laptop on couch/bed.

It's all in acceptable shape, but only just. I'll need to drag in another mat or two to stand on, to get the desk to the right height. My Mac keyboard has lost the use of the S key and spacebar, but I've got a Windows keyboard which works well enough for now. The real problem is that Microsoft hasn't updated the Mac software for my trackball in several years, and it won't talk to the latest version of macOS. So the trackball works, but the buttons are ALL WRONG. I've found a couple of potential workarounds but they looked more involved than I wanted to get on Wednesday afternoon. Sometime next week, I expect.

The office is actually the back of the second bedroom. It's got yellow walls that desperately need some art hung, the (two? three?) TUCKER'S OFFICE boxen need to be unpacked onto desk / bookcase, and there's some other miscellaneous /stuff/ that needs sorted or scooted or something. But the window's nice (though glare is problematic in the afternoon) and it's good to start to feel like there's a space that's mine again. The 'office' in the New West place was that, more or less, but it was dim and stuffy and caught a lot of dust from the dryer vent. This room is substantially nicer, if more cramped.

There are things about this apartment that frustrate and irritate me: the laundromat-style laundry, the dining room being a little narrower than we'd thought, the kitchen in general. Overall, though, it's not so bad. It'll do for now.



I am also now the proud owner of a bass guitar (Freeway 4) and an amp. My friend Chani's partner had been talking about selling his bass and amp for, o, months now, and it's sort of been at the back of my mind since then.

I think I have this idea that it'll be faster to pick up bass than it has been for viola, or that I'll be more readily able to find places/people to play bass with than viola, or something. This of course all depends on me finding my way to the alternate universe where I have enough time to learn not one but two instruments.

I'm also looking into an ear-training app for the phone, for commutes and such. And perhaps some actual formalised music theory learning, instead of the ad-hoc bits Tegen's been teaching me.

I'm not sure why music's becoming more of a focus than fiction-writing. Maybe it's that I understand how to get better at music, or that I'm more comfortable with not being very good. There's something in there about smashing awful pots, too. With music I'm learning a skill; writing feels more like creating a work. And yes, I do know that there's a hell of a lot of skill inherent in writing, skill that improves with practice, but I've not figured out how to feel comfortable practicing my skills in fiction.

Or maybe it's as simple as music being what's pulling me right now. Being more interested in accessing a space without words.

It's not like I can make rent (well, "mortgage payment," which sounds even worse despite being a smaller number) on either of those activities in any case. So in that sense it doesn't really matter which it is, as long as I'm having fun with it.

As always, we shall see.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Sitting in a cafeteria outside Granville Station, watching people walk by, reading. Or too tired to read. How does that even happen? I know how it happens when it's past bedtime, but at five in the evening?

Watching people. Today I have: gotten a music stand and mute so I'll feel less awkward practicing the viola; done some repetitive work correcting a thing I did a month or two ago that I thought would be useful, and was but had unexpected side effects (unrelatedly, work does not appear to be doing the stupid thing from last week, so yay); written to my parents again and perhaps it will get through this time; taken a profile-silhouette photo of myself a la Hitchcock; listened to David Francey's "Nobody Lives Here No More" "Torn Screen Door" a dozen or so times; gone running. I think that's it for useful.

They worked their fingers to the bone / Nothing left they can call their own / Packed it in under leaden skies / Just the wheat waving them goodbye

And tonight I'll write with Steph and Kat and Theresa, at least in theory, and then I'll go home and intend to practice and we'll see how far intention gets me.

I am tired, wrung out, stretched thin. I don't know that this is actually the case in any larger sense but that's what it feels like. Possibly too many people at housewarming yesterday? Possibly too little actual downtime? Possibly too much rattling around in my brain to settle down?

Had a life that they tried to save / But the banks took it all away / Hung a sign on a torn screen door / 'Nobody lives here no more'

I should enjoy the people-watching from here, I think, if I didn't have someplace to be. Coming up from and going into the Granville skytrain at rush hour, all manner of interesting and no sense that I have to be a part of it.

Onward.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
ETA: To clarify: as things stand, I seem to be on an upswing. I can tell it's not permanent, there are things that need to reassess and change. But it's not as bad as it may seem. You can tell by how I'm willing to talk about it, for instance.

cw: suicide talk )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Five things, etc.



I strongly suspect us writers will be moved out of our current office soon. I've gotten used to it, despite the temperature quirks. I like being away from open-plan hell, and the view of downtown and the mountains makes me happier than almost anything else about work. Oh well.



Since I've been living in apartments I've been using hand-me-down vacuum cleaners from my parents: first a big blue Electrolux canister, then when that died a brown Hoover pushvac. The Hoover was heavy, clunky, and way more vacuum than necessary, and I've been talking for years about getting a replacement. Haven't been able to justify the purchase based on the amount of vacuuming there is to do, though. That's reached its natural peak in the current place, which has no carpeting at all.

Finally, on advice from Erin, I got myself/the house a Dyson stick vac for Xmas. It is amazing. It's light, it's fast, it replaces sweeping, and it even works alright on the one rug we brought with us. I hesitate to say it's changed my life but it has certainly had a positive influence on the housekeeping and the amount of cat litter scattered around.



I get to see ... hm. "One-quarter of my favorite band, plus one." Girlyman used to be my favorite band, but they went their separate ways about four years ago. For Ty, 'separate ways' included putting out a solo album, then getting married and forming a duet with her wife, Mouths of Babes. And they're playing in the Seattle area in a few weeks, and I'll get to see them at least once. /Possibly/ twice, but probably not.



The apartment is gradually getting into some kind of usable shape. All the games and books, with the exception of the books in the Last Damn Box, are on shelves. Most of the shelves are where they're going to stay. The second bedroom is still a wreck, and there are about a dozen white boxes still hanging out in the main area. It's livable, though.



Me? I'm doing alright. I'm back to viola on a somewhat regular basis. Writing is less frequent but still regular, and I might finally have a draft of this story by the end of the month. It's incredibly useful to have things that I can point to and say "this is part of who I am," particularly right now while I'm contemplating several kinds of major life upheaval.

... to the extent that that last wants talking about at all, a public DW post is not the place.

Last fall, and the move, and xmas, were all both good and highly stressful. I survived them all and I'm better for it. I'm curious to see what spring will bring, and what I'll bring to it.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
It's no exaggeration to say that I never expected to see forty.

In elementary school I remember reading an article in, o, probably 3-2-1-Contact, that opened with "What will life be like in the year 2000?" That seemed unimaginably far-off at the time. I counted it out and realised that I'd be twenty-three-turning-twenty-four that year, which didn't make it any closer.

Birthdays mostly don't register for me. Having a birthday right around Yanksgiving means there hasn't been much point in trying to celebrate since elementary school: people are always off partying with their families. Some friends threw a surprise party for me on my eighteenth, and at least once when I lived in McLean [personal profile] uilos got a bunch of people to call and wish me happy birthday, both of which were pretty cool.

In general, though, milestones don't signify. I'm the same on both sides. I turned eighteen and was still stuck in the same house for another year, I turned thirty and that didn't make "29" any less relevant.

There was no particular reason I should have made it as far as forty. No reason not to, most of the time, just ... no overriding need to have drifted that far downstream. And yet.
A man's still got his strength at forty. He knows most of what he's going to learn, and he's got the strength to put it to good use.
--Terry Brooks, "Magic Kingdom For Sale -- Sold!"
I first read Magic Kingdom sometime in late elementary school. It felt thin, even at that age, but it was a lot of fun watching Ben Holliday traipse around his new kingdom, trying to be the best king he could be. Too, I was amused that I had a pretty good idea of where the portal to Landover was located, a couple hours' drive from my previous house.

And Meeks's quote above stuck with me, for no reason that I can possibly explain.

I'm not even sure I believe it, either. I certainly hope I don't know most of what I'm going to learn. Far too many things I don't know yet, in both the "neat facts" and "handling situations" senses. As for strength ... my hearing has been getting worse (that or I'm spending more time around quieter people) and my sight, well, that's been getting worse all my life, no shock there. Will see how things go when I get moved and can start running again.

At least I don't have the bourgeois concern of whether there's fun after forty. I think that's pretty well taken care of, between pancakes and (I hope) cinnamon creme pie and [personal profile] uilos and Erin.

Happy day, y'all.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
Usually when I'm not writing here it's because I'm depressed. This time it's because I am running myself at the ragged edge of exhaustion again, and "time to write introspective journal entries" has been one of the casualties of that. Along with "much other writing," and "most boardgaming and roleplaying," and "quiet evenings at home." Viola too has dropped off to what I consider an absolute bare minimum, sometimes beyond that.

So, I mean, that's still not a good thing, but at least I'm not crushingly depressed. \o/

The current state is nonsustainable. Yay me for recognising that now, after a month and a half, rather than waiting, o, three years to figure it out. Thing is, I can sustain an unsustainable state indefinitely, I've proved that plenty of times before. I just crash pretty hard once I don't need to sustain it any more.

I've not been sleeping well since we turned the heat on, around 1 October. I genuinely don't know what's going on with that, staying asleep has rarely been a problem in the past. Lot of stuff rattling around in my head that I haven't had a chance to sort through, maybe. Not bad stuff, I don't think, just ... stuff.

In another month (ack) we'll be moved in to the new place, which will relieve a lot of the temporary stress. The scheduling stress is substantially less tractable but perhaps next year will be easier on that. Family will ... either sort itself out or not. The current round of my stupid personal issues are at least identified so that I know which buttons are being hit this time. ("Everything is connected. That's why it shorts out so often." --JMF)

And, you know. I can tell that a lot of the things the inside of my head is telling me are bullshit. Doesn't make them any quieter but I do recognise that they're the product of stress and ongoing sleep-dep, and not reflective of the actual outside world.

Onward.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
When, twenty minutes before you were going to knock off anyway, you get a work email consisting of "There's a persistent odour of rotten eggs, so we're evacuating the building and calling the fire department, come back in an hour," it is clearly a Sign that I should stand up at my desk. I'm meeting [personal profile] uilos at 5:30 for dinner and movies anyway so this is just more time to amble slowly towards downtown.

I walked to the further transit station from work. Normally I would have continued on foot across the False Creek bridge but it's sunny and somewhere north of 25 ("80") degrees out, which is about the temp at which I start to melt. So I took the air-conditioned Skytrain across, intending to walk to the little park near the restaurant and theatre.

Aside: Emery Barnes Park is, I think, the thing that most exemplifies the Vancouver I fell in love with. It's a smallish (1x2 block) green space in the heart of downtown, surrounded by traffic on three sides. And it's got windy paths through grass, and trees making shade for benches, and playground equipment, and a water-feature / concrete creek running all down one of the long sides. It's designed well enough that there's very little road-noise, particularly if you're near the water, which I usually am. It is Good Urban Design. A year or so ago there was a movement to tear it up and build more generic condos, and if that had passed it might well have been enough to push me away from Vancouver altogether, because a Vancouver that will tear up its urban parks is not a Vancouver that I want anything to do with. (Insert generic rant here re Vision Vancouver, the local party currently in government, and their coziness with developers.)

I'm glad I took the Skytrain instead of walking, because there was a violinist playing "Air on the G String" as I came up from the station. I sat and listened to her for awhile, and dropped some cash in her case when I left, because I will pretty much always tip buskers that aren't using amplification and aren't terrible.

(I've been having this urge lately to reinvent myself as a musician. I think this is what they call a mid-life crisis.)

And now I am sitting across from the park enjoying a butterscotch-and-Butterfinger shake and writing this, because I miss writing (and reading) random-slice-of-life entries. Shortly I shall go out and sit next to the waterfall and read Le Guin until [personal profile] uilos gets here, and then we shall have dinner at Basil Pasta Bar and see a couple of movies at the Cinematheque, because these are also wonderful things about Vancouver.

Like the man sang, I can't complain but sometimes I still do.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
This is an old stupid story and I'm tired of living it:

At the age of twelve I'd been hearing for years that I could be anything I wanted to be, that I was smart enough to do anything at all. So I told my parents that I wanted to be a writer, and write F&SF novels.

My mother famously answered, "How are you going to put food on the table?"

Lesson learned: I could be anything I wanted to be as long as my parents were okay with it.

A stronger kid might have said "screw you guys" and kept writing anyway. I wasn't that kid: I still desperately needed my parents' approval, because being an army brat meant that I didn't have anyone else, at all. I spent the next N years trying to simultaneously fit my future into the box of Acceptable To My Parents, while making my present Acceptable To Me.

In hindsight, it's no wonder that I was depressed.



That's not the story I'm telling now but it's useful background. So, take it as told.

During my terrible terrible junior year of high school, my English teacher was Ms Bettie Stegall. I can only assume she didn't think much of me. I certainly didn't give her much reason to. My teenage rebellion mostly took the form of not showing up and not doing the work, and Ms Stegall's English class was not one where I could slide by. I got my shit sufficiently together to pass, somehow.

For senior year English we had a few choices. The only ones I can remember are AP Literature and Writing Seminar. Had I chosen AP Lit, I could have taken the English AP exam, and placed out of freshman English at Tech. (And likely not ever have read Borges, and my life would have been the poorer for it.) On the other hand, there was Writing Sem, advertised as being meant for creative writers.

The point of the old story above: I never gave up wanting to be a writer. I just gave up on doing much about it, because no one cared.

I signed up for Writing Sem in the hope that it would make me into a writer. Ms Stegall taught Writing Sem; I took it anyway. I don't remember much of the class but then senior year was a depressive burnt-out blur for me. In Writing Sem I tutored a special-needs second-grader with Jen Larson, and read Catch-22 which was exactly the right book for me at that point, and taught Kafka's Metamorphosis to freshmen with the help of Brian Aldiss's parody "Better Morphosis". I'm sure there was writing, too: I recall terrible poetry, and a Finnegans-Wake-style stream-of-consciousness depiction of a high school class.

Throughout the year I'd hear whispers from other students about how they were working with Ms Stegall on ... things. A chapbook of poetry, a collection of monologues, whatever. Books. Actual books. (I only ever saw one, and that only because Nesa used a photograph I'd taken in photography class to go with one of her poems.) And I'd think "that would be kinda cool," and then I'd stop thinking about it, because I had no idea what I'd do other than "i want to write" and, well, I'd already nearly failed out of one of Stegall's classes for not caring.

And so I graduated from high school, and went off to college, and the rest, as they say, is history. Or silence. One of those.



My memories of Ms Stegall are of someone who contribued to making my life miserable junior year, and didn't much care about me during senior year.

Maybe six months ago I fell into a snarky Facebook group of alums from my high school. This weekend, someone reported that Ms. Stegall had died.

Immediate outpouring of grief and love and "she was my favourite teacher" and "she kicked my ass and really helped me get my writing in gear" and specific tangible things she'd done for people.

I had no such response. I got none of that from her.

Thing is, I'd really like to have. I wish I'd been someone that she saw enough potential in to encourage, to kick my ass and get me in gear.

But that would have required me to have gone through junior year differently, and for that to have happened, the changes keep going back until I'm not even recognisable to myself anymore.

And just showing up isn't enough for that. No mentor will come to me and say "yes, i will teach you, and help you, and guide you, and care about what you do." Most of the time I'm grown-up enough to know that.

Most of the time.

I make no promises as to whether I will reply to any comments here.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
A grey day will not make me depressed, but a grey day can and will feed existing depressive tendencies.

I don't recognise my books. Rather, I recognise them, I know what they are and in most cases where and when I got them. When I last read them, or when I intend to finally get around to reading them. But they don't speak to me.

Mandy came out of the all-night Vurt-U-Want clutching a bag of goodies. I've not read Vurt or its sequel Pollen in, oh, probably not this millennium. I've yet to get to My Real Children or Jim Morrow's short stories, or finish Le Guin's Changing Planes which I've had for something like a decade.

I don't recognise the guy who bought them, who's hauling them around from apartment to apartment.

It's a wolf this time, I swear.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
I realised this morning that it's not that Bowie changed my life, although I'm sure he did. It's that he's been a part of my life for twenty years: not just the music, but the anticipation of music to come. Which is why I filed Steven Brust in the same kind of category: I think Brust is the only author I've been reading constantly from before high school who's still writing. (Le Guin, I guess, but the only Le Guin I read before the university class I took was Earthsea. And she's no longer writing novels anyhow.)

To probably misquote someone or other on Twitter: "It's like if someone told me Mount Everest had died. I keep wanting to say 'No, silly, that's not how mountains work.'"

Recommended viewing/listening: Under Pressure from 1997, with Gail Ann Dorsey; The Hearts Filthy Lesson (a rather disconcerting video).

(I haven't yet picked up Blackstar, on the grounds that I don't have a spare hour to spend in tears. We watched the video for Lazarus last night and that was about enough.)



In other musical news, playing the viola is hard. It's hard in what I assume is the way that new things are always hard, and what I assume is the way that complicated and finicky things are always hard. I haven't really tried either in a long time.

It is *depressingly* hard. I picked up the cello tonight for the first time in a year, and after five minutes of reacclimatization I was sawing away at the opening of the Squire tarantella and a couple of the easier bits of the Bach cello suites. My fingers *know what they're doing* on the cello, and I understand how to shift, and how to hold the instrument and the bow, and how to sound halfway decent. I nearly cried when I went back to fat-fingering and screeching on the viola.

The other problem is that, as I'd more or less expected, my ear is not actually all that good. We're spending part of each lesson drilling on intervals, and while I can semi-reliably distinguish between a major and minor third, and somewhat more reliably between a major and minor second, for some reason I hear fourths as fifths and am running only slightly better than fifty percent there. At least I can tell a tritone when I hear one.

I'm not giving up. As I've said, after a year I suck on a whole new plane. I figure I'll keep at it for at least another couple of years, and if I still can't stand my sound at that point then it's probably time to throw in the towel.

Currently working on a bit from the Bach cello suites. I *think* they're mostly a little easier on the viola but I'm not certain.

On the bright side, I can stumble through alto clef well enough to pick out the "Baby Elephant Walk" from my book of Henry Mancini viola arrangements. Indeed, I can stumble well enough that I can tell I don't much care for this particular arrangement, and may soon be looking for either a better one, or the original score so I can bloody well do it myself.

I still harbour fantasies of arranging Peter Gunn for two violas ("With apologies to H. Mancini and A.O. Noise") and playing a duet with myself. We shall see.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
Well, fuck.

... no, that's about all I've got. It's too big. I'm having trouble conceiving of a world without David Bowie in it. I think "There won't be any more Bowie albums," and my brain comes back with "oh, so he's saying he's retired?" It makes.no.sense.

ancient history )
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
I've been out of DC for long enough that I'm starting to think of driving as fun again.

I've popped down to Seattle a couple of times in the past few months to play 1817, one of them honking long train games, with a group down there. It's about a 2.5-hour drive, so I've been leaving around 8-8:30 and arriving at elevenish. Then we play for eight hours, and I drive back, getting in well before midnight. Reasonable.

Traffic is light, the scenery's pretty, and I get to dig into some music I've forgotten I had. (Coming home last weekend I listened to Loreena McKennitt nonstop.)

Maybe this is bundled up with why I like traveling: if you're traveling, there's nothing you need to do other than travel. Nothing that needs worrying about, nothing that needs attention.

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I could write about work (garden-variety corporate stupidity coupled with software-industry-specific stupidity) but that would just make me irritated, so I won't.

Besides, I've been meaning to write about some music stuff for a couple of weeks now. That was the first time I've ever done any sort of formal play-by-ear. That is, my teacher picks a key and plays a few notes, and I play them back to her, and repeat.

The first time or two it was fun but exhausting. It works my brain in a way I'm not at all used to. A couple of times I could stop trying to think note-names and just *play* and it worked, which was amazing and inexplicable. And then today... today it was just fun.

And I am apparently pretty good at it, which is a great shock to me as I've always thought my ear wasn't all that hot. I can mostly tell if a note's out of tune, but not always whether it's high or low.

Then it occurred to me that this isn't the first time I've done this. In high school, on cello, I picked out the melody to "Chariots of Fire" and the bass line to "Stand By Me." So, I dunno.

Side note: I seem to have a much harder time hearing notes in voices. I don't know why that would be but it might explain some of my inability to carry a tune in a bucket.



On being a beginning music student, by [livejournal.com profile] siderea. (Who, incidentally, is brilliant, and you should all be reading her stuff, and probably throwing money at her as well.) I was mostly Xena, with a lot of Quentin mixed in.

I started playing cello in third grade. I stuck with it because, I don't know. Because it was Something I Did and I didn't know how to stop doing things, and because I had some friends who I only knew/saw because of cello. I don't think I really aspired to anything musically.

Except that my uncle Jimmy Dale (not to be confused with my uncle Jim) knew that I played cello, and one Christmas he gave me a cassette of Skylife, by the Turtle Island String Quartet. I was... as blown away as it was possible for me to be at the time, which was "kind of." I had no idea you could do that with a string quartet. I wanted to be able to do that. To play like that, popping and sliding and all.

I never said anything about it. Certainly not to my parents, but not to my teacher either. I'd moved on from the early-music violist who taught me at first, to Liz West, a bassist who ... was probably only a year or two older than my current viola teacher, now that I think of it. I suspect Ms West would have been thrilled if I'd ever said that I wanted to play like Turtle Island. But I didn't, because I was in eighth grade and miserable, and I'd been stuck in Fayettehell for five years, and I still stung from the lack of support I'd gotten when I'd said I wanted to be a writer. I'd learned better than to want anything.

And then we moved, and I went from being the second-best cellist in the district to second-worst in the school, and eventually something had to give and it was music.

When I started taking viola lessons last year I thought I was David. To some extent I still am. (With that same mix of Quentin to go with it, of course.) But I put on Skylife for my commute in to work one day last week... and I'm starting to suspect I might be an Emily as well.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
As of today I've been unemployed for a year.

I'm less unhappy than I was when I was employed. That... I think that's the only thing I have to show for it, that and one completed story and the beginnings of a novel. And the beginnings of what might eventually be "music" on the viola.

It's not about accomplishing anything. It's about rebuilding reserves. It's about no longer feeling crushed. It's about being able to find joy in more than just rare flashes.

Still hard to shake the sense that I've wasted the year.



It doesn't help that I'm less than a month away from the end of my 101 in 1001 project. I have thoughts on that as well but they can wait until late September.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
At the beach with boardgamers, like I do. It's been good for the most part: good games, decent company, sunshine, conditioned air. Feeling a bit more disconnected than usual this year. Partly this is because [personal profile] uilos isn't here, because "end of the school year" is a terrible time for an assistant instructor to try and take a week-long vacation. Other likely culprits include a sharp lack of time to introvert (the wifi downstairs is sketchy at best), and the fact that vacations feel less like vacations when they're a vacation from an unstructured life.

(The lack of structure is starting to seriously get to me, I think. When I get back I will have to a) restructure my life a bit more cleanly and, well, usefully, and b) start looking for work. These things are at least more or less complementary.)

For the first time in six years I'm not going to Wiscon. This is weird. I'm gonna miss the smart panels and conversations and the company, and downtown Madison. I am almost certainly going to stick my head in at Balticon, where I can at least get some of the smart conversations and good (if different) company.

Having writing thoughts, which is not at all the same as actually writing. Those ... may gel into a post later this week.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
I'm not writing much here these days. This... is probably not a good sign.



Weekend before last my parents were in town. We had quite a good visit: hit the Maritime Museum and Granville Island, wandered arond Queen Elizabeth Park (a large hill in the middle of the city that used to be a quarry, so it's got some very neat planned-gardens and waterfalls and such, and also a domed conservatory with lots of birds), and ate much tasty food. Dad and I got our "portraits" done in magic marker on cardboard, by an itinerant artiste while we were loitering in Gastown.

They left very early on Tuesday morning, and I was thinking "it would have been nice if they'd stayed another day or so." I think this means that the visit was exactly as long as it should have been.



My viola finally arrived yesterday. Stupid Long & McQuade. It is in fact black and not green, as I'd requested, and the electric pickup seems to work, and in general it looks quite nice. And maybe sounds as well, at least when someone who knows what they're doing is playing it.

That is clearly not me. I feel like between the Gathering and my parents' visit I have lost most of whatever skill I'd developed and have been fumbling worse than usual trying to get it back.

It'll come. I keep telling myself that. I think I'm now past the point where any jumpstart I had from cello is doing me any good, and am having to learn the hard way like anyone else. Frustrating. Practice, practice, practice.



That may be part of my problem, honestly. I'm not really doing much of anything that I'm *good* at. Rather, the things I'm good at are either not things that I want to be doing (tech writing) or of very little use (boardgames). I'm a beginning violist with all that that implies, and a fiction writer with limited experience. And doing those things is how one gets better at them, but it's really annoying to spend my days feeling like I'm terrible at everything I try.

Which may be part of why I've been hiding. I don't know.
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
ABOUT fourteen years ago I fell into a career path of software testing and tech writing. I'm good at both those things and they paid well (better than minimum wage, anyhow), so I kept doing them.

It took me a long time to realise that being good at something that pays well doesn't automatically translate into enjoying it.

long, historical, and of limited interest )



I'VE BEEN out of work for coming on four months now. I've spent the time trying to figure out who I am when there's nothing I have to do.

I still have very little idea.

long, introspective, and of limited interest )
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
It will have been raining in Harvard Square for only half an hour when you give up hope.

On Monday I got laid off. I spent the next couple of days lazily rounding up personal documents and potential writing samples from the work laptop.

Today I transferred those to my home machine, cleared all personal touches from the work laptop, and shut it down for the last time. Then I went out and stood on the porch for a little while.

The Fraser River was mostly empty. In the distance, a barge full of dirt passed out of view behind Annacis Island.

You cannot know what will happen next.

Profile

jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Tucker McKinnon

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags