It Turned Into a Meditation

 

Didn’t mention, but probably should have, mentioned I’m going to a cousin’s wedding this weekend. After all, it’s eating up two of my usual blogging days.

Despite all previous evidence to the contrary, I though on this trip, I would have been able to keep up with all my self-appointed tasks. That is in part, after all, why a laptop with extended battery power was so desirable. When you grow up in the middle of nowhere, you’re always anticipating long trips.

It may have happened. But just as I’d decided to pull out my computer and write about something—I’m not sure I remember anymore—we heard some terrible news from home.

Not personal news, as though that means much. It’s a small community. Small enough that “things like this don’t happen here” to apply, simply because people are too scattered to be prone to the kind of random violence cities suffer from.

This wasn’t random violence in any way, except that it happened victims just as innocent.

It’s the story you hear all the time in the papers and on the scroll bar of television news: nothing that makes the front page except locally, and nothing to develop an entire segment of precious TV space . Trust me, you’ve heard it before. I know it bothers me to see so little attention to such stories, since it’s often overshadowed by any celebrity doing anything.

I hate to say it, but it’s not much more or less shocking to hear than any of those other stories. I’ll think about it longer, it will be impossible not to, in such a small town. I don’t regret that. Often you never hear the follow-up as though it’s not important. But it’s harder to hear this story with names I know, people I’ve met. Not that I could change anything, have made any difference.

What is there to say? I don’t want to name anyone, focus the story. Give the family what privacy they can have. I don’t know details, and I almost wish I wouldn’t ever have to know more. That’s easier, of course, and why no one wants to talk about it.

Not long ago, my brother sent me a link to a list of stories to “restore your faith in humanity.” I love those stories. Just not so soon after something like this.

 

There is No Try

So, I actually tried to finish reading that book, referred to in the post before the last post.

No, I won’t clarify that, you can figure it out. Good practice, I’m sure.

Anyway, the book referred to was the apparently Edwardian mystery. And I tried to pick it back up again. I didn’t give up when the male main character suddenly became a hero in the papers because he was conveniently in a train crash where he was not supposed to be, and saved some man’s son, who naturally thought to ask his name as he’s running off.

I did not–quite–give in when the two villains of the novel, after being caught entrapping and blackmailing the heroine’s secondary gay fiance of convenience (no, don’t try, that really won’t ever make sense), are themselves held at gunpoint and forced to kiss each other in front of a secret male brothel. By the first (straight) fiance of convenience, who thereupon uses that evidence to apparently integrate himself with the heroine’s stodgy father.

However, I could not make myself go on when the private detective (I was mistaken before–the hero is a private detective, though apparently with official ties to the police–turns out there are two earlier books–which I will not find) goes with the officer from the official police go to speak to one of the blackguards (previously referred to as villains).

Yes, they are getting an interview where they are underhandedly showing their hand, or showboating, or whatever it is called when the detectives collude with the officials and confront the villains halfway through the book before there is an official arrest forthcoming.

No, it’s when the official, thinking about the gross upper-class (fat) lord begins to fantasize about being the head of a revolution and executing said lord by firing squad.

Okay.

Not entirely unforgivable, especially considering how the rest of the book (and the first half of the other–I was hoping the other might be better) but no, no, he was not finished.

He yelled fire. In the middle of the conversation. And then excuses himself, and apparently gets away with it.

Of all possible English revolutionary leaders, I would not choose him.

Mopedom

Beware those who have stumbled here:  Self-indulgent rant ahead. I beg you, forgive me now, and don’t actually read this. I’ve started and I can’t stop!

I know I’m not particularly smart, though I’ve always wanted to be.  It comes from living in a small town and going to a small school where all it took to look “smart” was finishing your homework. Not that there weren’t smart people there, but it was still small enough that I could get away with never really making much of an effort at anything beyond what I wanted to do–specifically reading.  I simply didn’t do anything. Or at least it feels that way now.  Admittedly my memories of that time of my life have faded remarkably in only three years

So I suppose I can claim I’m scarred for life from the experience because I can’t stand getting anything less than A’s, a grade level I really can’t keep up, and yet still can’t learn efficient study habits. Mostly I’m deliberately stupid, kbecause I can’t care enough. I really can’t. For one thing, I can’t believe I’m really going to post this when I don’t really believe any of it, though the facts are straightforward enough.

No, I did not get enough sleep last night because I like to punish myself in strange, self-destructive ways (that are really ineffective at teaching me anything) but do I have to actually get sick, too? That’s not fair is it? Really? Well, yes, it is. You’d think I’d learn. Every time this semester (the only time I’ve actually done this) that I’ve gotten less than four hours of sleep (well, last night only makes the second time), I’ve gotten sick (again, twice). Will I learn after this?

And I’ve always had trouble getting sick. It feels so irresponsible. So now I’m feeling sorry for myself.

Depends on how well I do next semester, really.  I have high hopes. There will be someone else in my apartment, so I won’t be able to hide away like I’ve done this semester.  Really, I just need someone else’s expectations, really. Again, on my own I don’t bother anyone, but if there is someone else who will have trouble with my bad habits, I can handle it. Sad, I know. But if I can’t live alone, at least I’m a pretty good roommate. Or I haven’t had anyone completely freak out on me.  At the very least I guess I’m fairly inoffensive. I hibernate. It probably helps.

Proves I’m weird, but since I am with or without proof, I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

The Literature Conspiracy

I don’t know exactly what this post will be about.  I just read the title of Will Thomas’s “The Hellfire Conspiracy” incorrectly, and I like the sound of it.  Maybe I should write about Terry Pratchett.  There can never be enough discussion about Discworld as far as I’m concerned.

In 2004/2005 a book called Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature was published.  I would dearly love to read it.  Unforunately the only edition I found for sale was on Amazon for about $350 dollars.  He’s that awesome.  Or people are just that opportunistic.

Actually, I start lots of drafts far more than I have posts (as if I have all that many), and so since I started this one, I’ve changed my mind.

I’ve been really lethargic and out-of-sorts lately, kinda depressed, and it’s making it very hard to get things done.  I’ve always had the bad habit of procrastinating on homework, particularly papers, mostly because I usually can write papers fairly well in a rather short amount of time.  The more you get away with something, the harder it is to stop.  Can’t do much about that now, actually. So I’m going to write about NaNo.

National Novel Writing Month (more completely NaNoWriMo) which is in November and means that you’re supposed to write 50,000 words in one month, specifically November.  Turns out that November just came at a really bad time this year. For me. At least I distinctly remember October, but the beginning of November started way too early and I missed it. I think it was the the forth (?) or something before I remember that I was supposed to start this whole fifty thousand word thing.

The only thing discovered is that I simply don’t write fiction well. Or at least quickly. Summary is okay, the summary of a story, but all the rest of the parts of fiction–dialogue, description, etc., I just write really, really slowly.  That same day, when I started the only fiction I could think of–fanfiction, because NCIS wasn’t on because of the election–and got about 645 words. About. Not like I counted. Word did it for me, and that is kind of the point. Well because of that I counted the other writing I did that day…only the stuff I did on the computer.

Found out I can’t write fiction, but I can write a whole lot about myself and my opinions really quickly. And usually at the times when I really don’t have much to say.  So that day, or the next maybe, I wrote almost a thousand words in an email to my aunt, and then a note on facebook got…I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure more than I got on that “story.”

I think the problem is that I’m simply not much of a storyteller.  Either of my brothers, now, they were born telling stories. I just prefer to read them, and occasionally watch them.  I can tell, usually, when I’ve read a good story, and whether it was told well–entirely separate issues. So I know well enough the aspects of writing…in fact I own far too many how-to-write books (maybe I should sell them?). The only reason I got them though was because, really, I like to read them.  I’m not very good at following advice. At least in from books, I don’t know if I get much advice in real life. If I do, I think we can safely assume I don’t follow it.

Anyway. So I like the title of the post, but I really have nothing to say.  Very sad that I can’t live up to the title.

I can say I went to the library to pick up a copy of a novel for class. I own it, but the only problem is that it’s part of a collection, and that book is a nice copy, but heavy, and I’d like to keep it nice too. Anyway, I got it at the school library first–picked up two others too, even though I was in there for about fifteen minutes or so–wait, that’s pretty good for me. I didn’t like that copy (at the school) because it’s old, from maybe 1948. And it’s hardback and looking like it will fall apart.  Risky for taking to class. I got a bit luckier at the county library (and I can’t believe there’s only one in this town, I used to have access to three in the same town) and they had a far newer, paperback, lighter copy. Much easier to read too, without the old-fashioned typography. I was in that library for about fifteen minutes too, and that time I picked up five others.  None of these extra books are really all that likely to be read either, I suppose.

I miss reading.  The kind of reading I did as a kid. Used to be I was never caught without a book. Now I have the books I’m reading for class, but I don’t actually carry all that many others.  For an English major, and such a lover of books, that’s a very sad state of affairs.

I’ll blame the internet.  Why not?

To Sleep…Seriously, No More

So, I don’t like to sleep.  Sometimes.  This varies: often I do like to sleep.  Particularly to sleep in. However, when I am stressed about the future I cannot help remembering that any particular person will spend about one-third of their life asleep.  A whole third.  That’s, like, a lot.

I apologize.

Anyway I don’t think there has been one day this week that I actually went to bed before midnight…and that does not include the time spent in actually falling asleep.  Then I have, or had, my alarm set for six-thirty in the morning.  Admittedly, I didn’t actually get up until only half-an-hour before class several days, but it still overall completely ruined my sleep schedule.  I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee.

I need my sleep. That’s all.  Of course now that I really do: i.e. school is in full swing and I need a job and I’m a procrastinator at the best of times, I’ve installed the StumbleUpon toolbar.  Will I ever sleep again?

Doubtful.

But I found one site there that does relate to this post (eventually).  It’s called LikeBetter (I think) and you just choose out of two pictures which one you prefer until the brain says it has something to say about you.  And then you tell it whether it was right or wrong. Generally it worked well for me…at least until it thought I was a guy.  I don’t know if I want to analyze that particular answer. Anyway, after one sequence of picture-choosing, the brain said I was a night person.  My brother’s first thought was, yeah that’s right. (He was visiting–or rather needed a place to sleep last night, so I got to see him. Yay!  And I’ll see him on Tues, twice, I think, and he’ll bring me Apartment Life.  Yay!)

Re-railing this post.  Yes, lately I’ve been a night-owl type.  This usually happens once school starts, and I actually have to do homework.  I can’t do all my online stuff, not to mention my games, writing, knitting and other free time stuff until I get back home.  And that’s especially hard now that I actually hang out with friends.  Seriously, this has been totally screwing with my academic life.  (Well not really, actually it’s really helpful when I’m writing an essay specifically and can brainstorm with a bunch of other people who have some idea of what I’m talking about.) But it does mean that I don’t have nearly as much time to screw around in. Though I do anyway.

And I stay up too late and don’t get up until pretty much just before I have to leave for class.

Why don’t I consider myself a true night person then?  Because I really like to get up early.  Preferably before, say, 6:30 am.  When I do manage to get up that early, I tend to accomplish much more.  There’s more daylight to work with, and while I have just as many hours when I stay up late, I don’t have the motivation.  I love the early morning light, and the way the sun slants through the window just after eight.  And I can appreciate that so much more when I’ve already had coffee and breakfast.

I can get kind of obsessive about not wasting time–though I continue to do so–especially when I’m stressed.  When I was really depressed my junior year in high school I didn’t want to sleep at all.  Seriously.  Mostly I just got stuck on the idea that as human beings we spend approximately a full third of our lives asleep.

What a waste of time, right?

This was before I’d come to the realization that sleep, is, in fact, the only the best, most useful part of the day.  So lets just say it probably didn’t help that I was depressed.  They (they being scientists, somewhere, apparently doing research, probably with federal grants) have found that the clinically depressed, are often also often chronically sleep-deprived.  And I have discovered since then that I need between eight and nine hours of sleep at night.  No matter what time of night, or what time my alarm goes off, if I go back to sleep, I will get back up almost exactly nine hours lately.  Or sometimes eight, if I did intend on getting up for something.  For example, when my brother came by he didn’t get here until after midnight, and we ended up talking until nearly two.  I woke up this morning enough to turn off the alarm and actually got up at almost exactly 10 am because I was going to help my youngest brother with his essay.

I know I’m an English major because I wanted to take the thesis (which was very good) from his one-and-a-half page draft and turn it into an eight page paper just for kicks.  He was very grateful that I didn’t try to make him do that.

P.S. You’re also supposed to sleep better in a dark room as well.  I’ve always preferred pitch black.  Unfortunately someone made the incredibly odd decision to install indoor office fluorescent strip lights on the walkway (where the only windows are).  They are rusting.  Then again,  the cover came loose on the light nearest the stairway, and it has killed lots of bugs.  It must be their supa-secret plan.  And so long as I don’t get electrocuted.  But at any rate, it means my room is darkest (currently) at about 6:30pm just before those lights come on.  Blackout curtains, maybe, if I ever think of them and can afford them at the same time.