So, due to not hearing my alarm go off on Sunday, I slept til 5:00 p.m. Meaning that despite my needing to be up 2 hrs earlier than usual the next day, there was nooo chance of me getting to bed at a decent time. All I could do was try and tire myself out and hope I konked out at some not-entirely-indecent hour. I finally felt tired enough to sleep at about 3 in the morning. Then I just lay there, physically exhausted, but with my brain awake, in an almost disconnected state, not thinking about anything except how aware I was that I wasn't thinking about anything. About the time this started to fade, Brittany's cursed parrot started "aaarrrrrkkkk aaaarrrkkk arrrrkkkk"-ing at the top of its lungs, and continued for around an hour, after which point I finally fell asleep. At what I can only calculate must have been about 4:30 a.m.
So when my alarm went off 3 hours later, I knew my only chance of making it through the day was hitting the caffeine like a jaded mobster and hoping for the best. Which I did. The result was that I made it through the day alright, and felt well enough by closing time to stay an extra hour. By the time I got home I was so full of energy that I had to keep reminding myself it wasn't Friday. Everything was way more entertaining and exciting than it had any right to be, and I couldn't figure out why. Then, half-way through cooking myself dinner, I realized what was happening. And began to prepare myself for the next two steps in my caffeinated crest and descent.
Caffeine usually doesn't have a strong effect on me, and I don't drink it very often. I have one caffeinated drink in the morning on weekdays, and usually nothing more. I even make a point of not drinking anything with caffeine after 7 p.m. However, when I suddenly break this routine and slosh myself in it, I have very strong reactions. First there's the rapidly increasing energy, then there's the slight giddiness, then outright excitement, then everything starts to become much funnier than it is, and stuff that's truly funny becomes paralyzing and I find myself with my face on my keyboard, weeping with laughter. Then comes an exhausted crash the likes of Hokusai's "Wave" and I collapse. Right now I am somewhere between the last two steps. Agh. Hopefully this will all pan out, and I'll feel normal tomorrow.
Having been in love with the story of Scheherazade since childhood, I've always known I wanted to eventually try my hand at a retelling. I've had several different ideas throughout the years, but never one that felt exactly right. I was always approaching it as a novel, not seeing any way to work the king's development from murderous nut-ball to someone you might plausibly be happy seeing Scheherazade marry with any shorter length.
But I recently had the idea for a short story, framing the whole tale within the thousandth-and-first night, when Scheherazade's last story finishes before dawn and Shahryar must decide whether to spare her or not. We know the framework of the original story, we don't necessarily need it elaborated on. But how they resolve the issues of guilt/forgiveness/what the heck they're going to do now need to be dealt with, and I had the idea to resolve that not through their own interactions, but through the action and development of the characters in Scheherazade's last story.
Ideally, I actually had already formed an idea for one of Scheherazade's tales a long time ago, and as it dealt with a similar theme, it worked perfectly as her last story.( Read more...Collapse )
Does anyone else ever suddenly get overwhelmingly depressed—like, unable to function, crying in the middle of work, crying on the way home, exhausted depressed— not about anything that’s happened to you, or that’s going on in your own life, but just about the general condition of the world around you? That all over the world, right now, people are being killed, raped, tortured, imprisoned, humiliated, starved, denied their basic rights, everyday, and it never stops? And it’s happened from the start, and it’ll keep happening, and there’s nothing you do can stop it?
I don’t see anyone else dealing with this, so it seems like I’m the only person who ever gets this way. Part of me wonders if maybe I’m just too soft-hearted for real life, while the other part wonders how on earth everyone else can just be moving along, undisturbed, like nothing’s happened.
But some days I just can’t deal anymore: sometimes it’s out the blue, other times I’ll have seen something or read something that set me off, but there are days when I just wish I was dead, or senseless, because the world is grotesque and there’s nothing I can do—nothing I can ever do— to really change it, and I just can’t stand it. I can’t help but think there must be other people who feel like this, at least once in awhile.
There are days when the weight of all the world's miseries seems to settle on me at once, and I ask myself why I was even brought into to this horrible, horrible place.
I have a tendency toward depression, and have since at least late childhood. It's further exacerbated by not knowing how to deal functionally with anger, and so having learned to channel it into depression instead. But the major reason for my depression through my whole life has been knowing in my heart that the world is a horrible place, and knowing how little power I have to do anything about it. And it drives me to do even the small amount I can to change it, and when I can't or don't I feel useless and a failure. What I don't understand, is how everyone else in the world doesn't feel this way, too, how they can see the darkest side of the world and not be crippled by it. I don't feel the need to do charity and service because I'm "such a good person", I do it because it's the only way I can stand the world I live in, and I can't comprehend how others don't feel that same need.
I have a dependency on books that's like an addiction. It's very rare that any great length of time will go by that I don't have one book or another I'm chipping away at. A lot of what I read is fiction, but I read a lot of history as well, and that's where a huge part of the inspiration for my writing comes from. Because at it's core, my need to write comes from the need to re-write that history. I'll read something or hear about something that hurts that tender part in me, and I have to fix it. And in real life I can't. It's too late, or too far away, and I'm helpless to do anything about it. So I do the only thing I can, and I write them a better ending. I think that's why so many of my characters go through such hardship, because they're carrying the hurts and struggles of real people. But in my version, in the end the slaves are freed, the wounded are healed, the dying are saved; I rescue the characters because I can't rescue their inspirations. So, it's not an option for me to imagine a hopeless end for a story. I have to give the characters some chance of happiness, because the real people didn't, and if I doom the character, then I'll be back at square one, helpless to save anyone or change anything.
Sometimes their power begins before the cover is even cracked. I picked one up today that I’ll be reading soon. I held it in my hands and felt myself tingling with the thought of opening it, tantalized at the idea of what new people, and nations, and histories were lying between its pages, a whole universe bound inside a bundle of paper and ink. I was torn between wanting to read it, and not feeling ready to start it quite yet, but I wanted a little taste. I opened the first pages, ran my eyes over the map that covers them, then moved onto the first chapter, and scanned a few teasing lines to get a glimpse of the style, the sound, the names, the cadences. Sometimes I can just slip into a book without hesitation, without ceremony. But this one is a different animal. It needs more, I can’t just casually settle into it, much as I’m tempted to. It will need to be coaxed, I think, romanced, made to divulge itself only after the lights are low, and the room quiet, and all other thoughts have been set aside, when I can give myself to it without the shadow of other things and other stories to distract me.
The car stopped working again. Wasn't able to get a jump til closing time, since I was ringed in on all sides. (Stupid me, I thought my car might work, ha.) Thankfully my mother was back from Wisconsin, and after I dropped my car off at the repair place again she took me home, and then dropped me at work and picked me up the next day. This time it was the alternator, and it cost $457 to fix.
My replacement W2 arrived today. Hopefully I'll be able to get at least one of my taxes done this weekend. (Thank God I am down to one W2 this year, last year I had 4 and it was not pretty.)
I'm trying to work some vegetarian dishes into my diet, as well as some actual cooked meals, since most of the time I eat fruit, yogurt and low-fat microwave dishes. I worked on one this week, stuff tomatoes with in garlic and shallots with egg inside. It sounded delicious, but came out really sad. I'm not sure what went wrong exactly, I tried to follow the instructions to the letter, but it tells you to leave the shallots and garlic in the bottom of the pan while the tomatoes cook, and then when I did they burned, so everything tasted burned. And the eggs were rubbery. About $10 and most of my evening down the drain. I don't know how people try knew recipes, when it's so expensive and can so easilly turn out wrong. I basically need a new cooking apprenticeship.
So, here's a blow-by-blow of how I spent the week of 02/04-02/08:
- W2 arrives prior to Ohayocon-- after con over, prepares to get taxes in to make sure is proactive. Finds W2 has vanished into thin air. Overturns bedroom and most of house without result.
- Has saved up $20 to pay for library fines. Gets home after library is closed, so attempts online payment through bill pay on library website. Bill pay has error. 3 nights in a row. Gives up attempt to pay bill.
- Buys Daenerys GOT POP! figure. Arrives, brings it to work to display. Figure falls onto her side on the display shelf and breaks.
- At work deals with last customer of the day who drags call over closing time, refuses to take any action to resolve account issues, and who makes so upset that end up crying on and off all drive home and a little after arrival.
- On the way in the door, checks on a tree newly-planted in the yard; ends up sunk almost to the ankle in mud. Disgusted, throws shoes in trash instead of cleaning. Vaguely considers fishing shoes out after mud dries, but never gets around to it.
- Checks banks account to find overdrawn due to fraudulent charge for an $180 purchase at Sephora. Not even sure what Sephora is.
- Contacts bank to alert of fraud. Customer service is closed and no emergency line of any kind exists, so unable to alert anyone.
- Furious, throws phone to the floor. Despite surviving many previous bumps, phone can't handle impact with carpet and snaps in half. Even after phone reassembled, screen permanently dark and phone unusable.
- Previously arranged to meet mother for breakfast. Due to misunderstanding mother is half an hour late. Ends up setting in car for forty minutes, and for once did not bring laptop. No ability to communicate regarding delay or whereabouts due to phone issue.
- Since unable to use own phone to contact bank, spends most of breakfast using mother's phone to make fraud report calls.
- Forgets to bring lunch to work. Goes to Taco Bell to buy some; on a whim decides to get bread sticks added. Gets back to work to find was charged for bread sticks but given none. Drink also flat and warm.
- Runs out of aspirin; gets headache halfway through shift. Gets change to buy aspirin from vending machine; machine out of everything but Alka-Seltzer. Ends up begging aspirin from boss.
- Goes to store after work to plunk down unplanned $65 to buy new phone and phone card.
- Goes to bank to withdraw $200 from savings account, then calls to cancel card. Will now be forced to live on cash only until new card arrives.
Then here's how I spent this weekend:
- New phone runs out of battery
- Goes out to car to pick up lunch. Car won't start. Can't check engine because hood sticks. No point in lifting hood since don't know what to check engine for.
- Go back in, use boss's phone to call mother. Mother believes battery is dead, says to take into repair place after work. No repair places are open after work.
- Coworker volunteers to jump battery. Tell boss taking car to repair place now and will return if possible.
- Get car jumped. Tank on empty since end of week. Forced to decide between driving straight to repair place and risk running out of gas, or getting gas first and possibly losing charge. Decide on the latter. (Not possible to park the car, leave it running and fill gas can since only has cash and so can only prepay. Reason only has cash is still waiting on new card due to fraud on bank account from previous week.)
- Puts $20 in tank. Car won't start. Attempt another jump; approach car with 4 men inside who all claim to not know how to jump a battery. Finally get assistance, but man has huge truck, and finishes filling gas tank first, which takes 10 minutes. Uses ice scraper to get hood open again, fills wiper fluid and cleans windshield during wait.
- Get car charged gain. Drive to Wal-Mart. Leave car unlocked and running outside service door, since if park in traditional spot will not be able to move car. Dash inside, verify with staff what should do. Staff have pull up all the way to door and then turn off.
- Arrange for new battery installation. Cost is $99.91, which is $5 short of all money on person.
- Still not having eaten lunch, and unable to go anywhere else since has no car, uses last $5 to buy lunchable and Little Debbie cake and gets ice water from Subway for cheapest lunch in human memory. Has not brought laptop and phone still out of battery. Mp3 player at least has charge, so sets to relaxing singing bowl music.
- Since has no way to tell time, must gauge it from track time on mp3 player. Wishes had laptop so could work on novel during wasted time. Writes this account instead.
- After hour wait, repair men notify that can't even check battery because "tie down screws" are stripped, which will cost more, and that can't do that there. Recommends another place. Call mother from store phone to find out what should do since has no more money. After giving life story including dead phone, fraud and moneyless-ness over to phone to mother in front of rotating audience of 4-6 people, decide will take car home and go to bank in morning and then to get repairs.
- Go home. Attempt to cheer self up by remembering that friend is coming over, and will at least have more time with him.
- Get home. Nothing in mail. House empty. Charge phone, call brother to tell about battery issues, plans for tomorrow, and to come pick me up so can hang out. Brother explains friend not coming over today, coming over tomorrow instead, and that he and other roommate have gone out for friday dinner at favorite restaurant without me again.
- With no reason to stay up, goes to bed.
- Gets up at regular time next morning. Washes hair, puts in load of laundry, goes out to try car. Car won't start. Goes back inside to ask roommate if will help jump car. Roommate generally refuses to answer any direct, important question I ask, or to get up in the morning without 30 mins of prodding from various people, so have to have to ask brother for her, as if going through personal secretary. Brother reveals that they discussed issue last night and that roommate claims her battery is low, so cannot jump car. Apperantly decide not to inform me, despite having access to phone, and later to myself in person entire night. Unable to understand why lack of communication might upset me in any way.
- With no alternative, knock on unknown neighbor's door and ask for assistance. Neighbor is kind enough to help, and eventually get car started.
- Drive to nearest bank to get cash. Pull into lane, open window; doesn't work. Tries again, still no result. Attempts to open door instead; too close to pillar to extend. Closes door, tries window again. Still not working, so attempts standard procedures for re-starting window, including turning power off then on again, forgetting can't start car. Now can't open window, can't open door, and can't move car.
- Crawls out passenger side, leave car in lane with hazards on and goes inside to get money with ID since card invalid.
- Asks for assistance with jump since car in their lane. Rep says no one can leave to assist.
- Goes back out and gets help from another man in line. Crawls back into car through passenger side to get jump cable and ice scraper to open hood, and back and forth to try engine.
- With car finally running again, grabs Taco Bell for breakfast and drives to repair place.
- Mp3 player runs out of battery as leaving Taco Bell.
- Arrives at repair place. An hour and 216 unplanned savings account dollars later, car finally starting on its own.
So I've wasted two weekends in a row, completely decimated my savings account, probably ratcheted my blood pressure up to heart-attack levels on multiple occasions, verified that I can count on the two people I live with for absolutely no help ever, been subjected to continuous emergency situations and embarresments despite my efforts to be responsible and on-the-ball, and still haven't been able to do my taxes. Well, at least I know that if I had any ego to speak of before February started, I certainly don't have any left now.
I feel like frickin' Bilbo Baggins. If something catastrophic happens this coming weekend, someone else will have to step in and resolve it, because I am officially done with everything.
I had a fight with someone close to me tonight. For awhile I was really angry, now that has morphed into sadness, which is the only way I know how to deal with anger. I know there are things I could have done to prevent this fight from happening, or from escalating into "fight" as opposed to just "unfriendly disagreement." If I had not tried to talk about issues I had, if I had kept silent, the fight wouldn't have started, and if I had not responded to aggression with aggression myself, it would have remained more tame. But if I don't speak up about things I have a right to talk about, if I let others use unacceptably aggressive behavior on me and do nothing, I'll keep the peace only by letting myself continue to be dominated by others.
I said that out loud tonight, said that I was trying to set boundaries, that I wasn't going to let myself be oppressed anymore, and the response was, "No, you want to do the oppressing." Because if I'm not being ordered around like a child, while being expected to make your life possible, then I'm oppressing you? I don't know how I'm supposed to keep a balance between behaving maturely and trying to make peace while protecting myself and fighting for myself. I just can't. I can't help but think the only way I'm ever going to succeed and be happy in this life is to be alone, because that's the only way I know to keep from mucking things up on the one hand, or from being treated like a possession on the other. It's the only way I've found to attain any semblance of peace, or control.
Somewhat related, there is little I find more exasperating than having to live with a "chivalrous" chauvinist who feels fine bossing me around and asserting his own dominance, but somehow doesn't find me "feminine" enough to feel I should be included in his sphere of protection or concern.