jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
Feeling distant from everything. This is a known side effect of trying to get in touch with new people, especially in this city. It's still kind of alienating. And it comes on top of some other stuff that's sloshing around in my head.

Y'all still like me, right?
jazzfish: a fairy-door in a tree, caption $900/MONTH + UTILITIES (The Vancouver rental market)
... actually not all that many: the end of the VP reunion, [REDACTED] ("it feels like I said 'That mountain over there looks like it's got a nice view' and next thing I know I'm hanging off the back of a motorcycle, whipping along twisty cliffside roads at 150 kph"), and housing. It just seems that way. Sleep will help.

housing )
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
On the one hand, yay for widespread recognition that the Confederate flag is a horribly racist emblem, even if it took a tragedy to get to that point.

On the other, I didn't really need confirmation that some number (greater than zero) of my relatives and in-laws are racist crackers.

Facebook: where you learn how much you can't stand your family.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Let's see.

Chaos

Is doing fine after being nuked. He's gaining weight (anecdotally, he feels more substantial when I pick him up), there's been no cat yuke to clean up, and he just generally looks better than he has in months. I feel a little bad for not having caught it sooner... but it was a pretty gradual drop-off.

Running

Is ... going. My knees (more accurately, between my knees and shins, on the inside of the leg) have started hurting, so I've had to cut back. This is deeply frustrating, in a HOW WILL I GET ANY BETTER IF I DON'T PUSH MYSELF kind of way. There's a good chance I need new shoes; will perhaps go get those this afternoon. My lungs remain terrible; I blame the humidity.

As far as running-related goals go, I'm pretty much guaranteed to miss them. 'Run 10k without stopping to walk' by next fall might be doable. '5k in 25 minutes' is almost certainly not. 'Run or swim [or other acceptable exercise] 3x/wk for six months' relies on not getting sick, hurt, or traveling someplace where it's difficult to get out, which is both unlikely and not entirely within my control. Oh well.

Weather

Bright and sunny and warm enough that I'm noticing the humidity: upper-twenties this week, supposed to break thirty next week. Ugh. I console myself by remembering that the highs here have been the *lows* in the DC area for the last couple of weeks.

Other

Apartment-hunting has been fruitless so far.

Apparently pimento cheese is a Southern thing. [personal profile] uilos made some and took it somewhere as a snack earlier this week, and it was met with suspicion and confusion. Huh.

Is there a statute of limitations for when semi-unexpectedly encountering certain people makes one start twitching? Asking for a friend.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
The autumnal fog has descended on Vancouver. Last week was filled with one-condo mornings: I could see the condo across the street but not the one immediately beyond it, and forget about the North Shore or Stanley Park.

I love being in the middle of the fog from the tenth floor. I mean, I love fog anyway, but up here the sense of floaty detachment is magnified. I could stare out the window with a warm mug of tea all morning.

It's ... been a week. My coping mechanisms (hiding and Sheer Force Of Will, mostly) are failing in utterly predictable ways and I think I'm starting to crack. I need to *actually* shake up my routine, *actually* get on track with working during work and only during work instead of goofing around and then cramming it all in late at night. Among other things. (How's that for needlessly cryptic? Also inherently self-defeating, as I'm writing this during the workday.)

Last year I took a week off work immediately after the November DC trip, and it... did basically nothing. It maybe staved off some burnout by several months. I feel like I could do with some time off... but one week won't help as much as I want it to, and I can't reasonably afford to take more than that at once right now. Half measure versus forcing it through until I *can* take more time. Not sure what to do. Maybe with a week off and some forethought I can come back and reset my work schedule to something more effective.
This is not the scene I dreamed of. Like much else nowadays I leave it feeling stupid, like a man who lost his way long ago but presses on along a road that may need nowhere.

--J.M. Coetzee, Waiting For the Barbarians
Steph from VP (not to be confused with Steph my good ex) has arrived in Vancouver, which is an unalloyed Good Thing on both the social and local-writer-type fronts. And immigration is moving forward, and the leaves are turning, and my tea is warm, and I am home. That's worth something.
jazzfish: five different colors of Icehouse pyramids (iCehouse)
I do not need sixteen pounds of "light" wargame I will never get to play.

Heck, I already own well over sixteen pounds of OTHER "light" wargame I will never get to play.

But... I can put the box up on the top of the gameshelves where they meet at a corner and there's a dead space where things are likely to fall between them and be trapped forever, and it would block that off nicely. And it is an awfully pretty edition.

... I do not need sixteen hundred cubic inches of "light" wargame I will never get to play, not when I already have 2,150 cubic inches of "light" wargame I will never get to play.

ETA: in wholly unrelated news, sticking one's metaphorical pinkie in a metaphorical open flame still produces real burns. At least I know to pull back quickly and not put my entire hand in the fire.
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
"Why I can't write" turns out to be one of those things that my brain just slides off of rather than grappling with. I literally cannot hold the idea in my head for long enough to say anything coherent about it. Usually when that happens I forget about it altogether. It's some sort of defence against prodding too much at something very frightening. I've only kept track of it this time through concentrated effort.

Anyway, writing. I've been here before, and sort of skirted around what was actually going on. Now I'm getting closer to it but still not to a point where I can think usefully about it.

A tangent: in my limited experience, the two main attitudes of counselors/therapists are "wait the patient out, they'll bring up the hard stuff on their own when they're ready" and "prod the patient gently to get at the hard stuff." Prodding seems to provide more immediate results for me, since I'm very good at Not Thinking About things. However, my current counselor is more of a waiting type. This has the (probably intended) result that if I don't bring in something to talk about there's not much talking going on. So when something happens like "I spent three days straight playing a computer game that I'm not even sure I like very much," I bring that up, and it turns out to be relevant. Anyway. Tangent over.

Normally when people think about being afraid of writing, it's the whole 'what if it isn't any good' thing. I don't have that, so much. I mean, I moan about how awful my stuff is as much as the next writer but I don't let that stop me. I keep going, usually with friendly support and 'it doesn't suck' from various people. Once it's Out There for whatever value of Out There, I don't worry so much. It's either good enough or it isn't and either way the next one will be better.

This... has something to do with the weight I place on Being A Writer, and something to do with needing other people, and, oddly, some relation to a couple of other things I'd like to do but haven't pursued.

Twitter turns out to be a horrible medium for me to feel connected to anybody. It really is like being at a huge party all the time, and as such it's exhausting for me. (I am decidedly not comfortable with jumping into conversations.) Unfortunately it's also where much of my writerly social circle is being sociable and supportive. That's more of a big deal for me than I'd thought it would be. It's not a cause, I don't think, but it's not helping. I am, as always, deeply grateful for the people I have here. DW/LJ helps. It's just not enough.

Which is in some sense the problem. What I can get isn't enough, and so I stop asking and seeking. Not sure how to resolve that.
SAM: Well, that was needlessly cryptic.
MAX: I'd be peeing my pants if I wore any.

blocking

Mar. 22nd, 2011 02:18 pm
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Blocked:
"For a long time, I considered myself ADD and dreamed of a pill that could make it alright. But the longer I write, the more I think my problems have less to do with ADD, and more to do with my desire to avoid pain.

It's painful to write. It's painful to take a clear look at your finances, at your health, at your relationships. At least it's painful when you have no confidence that you can actually improve in those areas. I would not speak for anyone else, but most of my distractions (and I said this at SXSW) are traceable to a deep-seated fear that I may not ultimately prevail.
I was diagnosed ADD in elementary school, and put on Ritalin for a few years. At this point I'm willing to believe that it wasn't that I couldn't concentrate, it's that I didn't want to. There wasn't any point to it. The reward for doing the work was either more work, or getting to go play-- and it was easy enough to just go play without doing the work, especially once "playing" and "reading" became interchangeable.

(None of this is intended as a slight to anyone else who may have been diagnosed ADD. It's a Real Problem for a lot of people. I'm only looking at whether it was the problem in my specific case.)

These days? There's something going on there, something that makes focusing incredibly difficult without an external deadline, and trivial when the deadline's imminent.

(Self-imposed deadlines have less force. I hate that.)

And I'm tired of how much effort it takes to start writing. I'm tired of sitting down intending to get the next scene done, and having this bit in my brain that doesn't even bother talking to the rest of me about what's going on and instead just holes up with a mindless computer game for an hour or two.

I don't know myself well enough to say whether I'm afraid of writing. It's got an awful lot of baggage associated with it; maybe I'm afraid that may parents were right (and if they were right on that then what else might they have been right on? TERROR).

I don't know what to do about any of this, other than to name it.



No deadline this time, just a reward: when I finish the (current draft of the) space story, and ship it off to VP, I can write a (fun! or at least exciting) letter that I've been contemplating for the last couple of days.

That ought to be enough incentive. I hope.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
So this evening I was going to go do something New and Interesting and possibly Fun and Exciting. It would have involved attempting to be sociable around people I've never met, but I was willing to give that a try.

Then I just sort of collapsed a little before four. Hazard of running on a) 5-6 hours' sleep a night and b) the last dregs of my emotional reserves, for most of the last two weeks, I guess. I was sort of mobile by sixish but still kind of shaky, and that didn't really get any better after dinner.

I have a well-documented hatred of driving into DC, and tend to enjoy wandering around cities, so my original plan for the evening was going to involve metro and a mile walk. By this point it was really too late to metro. So I was looking at the hassle of finding parking in DC where I wouldn't get ticketed or towed, on top of the stress of being a stranger and being in a New Situation... and I stayed home.

I deeply resent my body and brain choosing now to run completely out of cope. One more day is all I asked for.

Oh well.



Earlier this week I found, on eBay, a reasonably priced Easton Press edition of Growing Up Weightless. Easton puts out very nice leatherbound SF classics and first editions. At least, I'd always assumed they were very nice. Maybe I've been spoiled by Subterranean's The Club Dumas but Weightless came today and it's... just kind of nice. Good solid cover, gilt-edged pages, decent paper, but nothing terribly special. This kind of kills any desire I may have had to shell out the money for the Easton edition of Lonesome October.

(Also, and interestingly, they didn't set their own type: they used the same plates as the Bantam trade paperback, the first non-limited edition. I wouldn't have even noticed but it's got a very distinctive font.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Two weekends ago I went backpacking in Shenandoah, on the Jeremys Run / Neighbor Mountain loop. A lot of little things went not-quite-right and so I came away with a general sense of dissatisfaction with the whole thing, instead of the calm solitude I'd been hoping for. The best parts: catching a glimpse of a startled bear, watching the clouds roll quickly past the moon on Friday night, sitting on a rock in the middle of Jeremys Run and watching the moon's reflection rise in the water on Satyrday night.

I'm pretty much done with my external-frame pack, since it prevents me from craning my head back. Also, I got a pretty serious blister on my pinky toe; not sure whether that's a result of weirdness in my socks or if my Good Boots are actually too small. Also also, a 1600-foot drop over 2.5 miles is No Fun.

This past weekend I went to see Girlyman at the Birchmere. They were of course totally awesome. They played mostly stuff from the new album, but also a handful of older pieces (notably "Through to Sunrise," which is always amazing live, and "Young James Dean," which is I think the last of their songs that I'd badly wanted to hear live and never had). (No "Saint Peter's Bones," which is the song that turned me into a Girlyfan. Oh well.) They also borrowed the drummer (and her full drum kit) from the opening act, Po' Girl, so most everything got the full drum treatment. This is especially impressive on songs like "Storms Were Mine" and "Through to Sunrise." Ty and Nate both had colds; this maybe detracted a bit from their vocal range but, still. I wouldn't have missed it. I picked up the new album and wound up in the front of the line to talk to them, completely unexpectedly, so I had nothing prepared to say, not even "You non-gender-specific guys are the awesomest." Maybe next time.

Also this past weekend it occurred to me that yes, I can in fact go spend a couple hours talking with a good friend even when I'm not coming apart at the seams. I should do that sometime.

grr

Jul. 30th, 2009 11:38 am
jazzfish: an evil-looking man in a purple hood (Lord Fomax)
The weekend involved a visit from a black mood, about which the less said the better.

Monday evening I discovered that I can't read calendars and thus can't plan, but still get upset when the plan diverges from what I'd thought it was.

Tuesday morning I got a "you seem so nice but" message from someone who sounded really cool and vaguely promising.

Wednesday evening was bad in a way I'm not really ready to talk about. Plus the maple pound cake turned out slightly bitter around the edges of my tongue (in the same way that pancakes do sometimes, which means that all it needs is about a teaspoon of vanilla, but still frustrating).

Tonight is my first trip to a writers' group. I'm a little nervous about what happens if and when this trend continues.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
Twenty-four hours ago I was pretty well convinced that I was on my way to getting just about everything I wanted out of life.

Between personal revelations, a good hard look at my finances, and the realisation of a few things that I was just plain ignoring, I can now say that the chances of that happening are slim at best. Reply hazy, try again later.

So today I clean. Because, like a fifties housewife, I may see the world come to an end tomorrow but my house will be spotless when it does.

If my dryer were larger I could probably get laundry done in fewer than six loads. This task may spread over to tomorrow. Breakfast dishes are done (mm, pancakes). The bathroom is in the process of being swept. After that comes the task of scrubbing the tub, and the less scary tasks of scrubbing the toilet and sink. Perhaps I will finally get around to vaccuuming the other rooms as well, now that I have a vaccuum cleaner. (Which may or not work, actually.)

Once things other than laundry are done I will sit down with my tea and book. Unless I'm going to Rockville tonight after all. Quis scit.

Update: Last load of laundry in the wash, bathroom cleaned, vaccuuming delayed 'til another day, definitely going to Rockville. Need to sweep kitchen, also.

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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.

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