Wednesday, October 13, 2010


So, what's up with me lately? I'll tell you what's up with me lately. Things are great and kind of awful at the same time. And I just realized that I'm in a particularly tricky position right now.

Right now things are different for me than they ever have been before. Instead of being a creep alone in his room, I'm a lovable eccentric with a small audience and a growing circle of professional acquaintances. Instead of doing this weird, half-formed art and writing, I'm creating at a higher level than I'd ever seriously aspired to. There is a shift in my relationship with the missus; I'm gaining status and a whiff of romance is in the air. I'm currently in a position to make some substantial changes in my living conditions. And it's been nearly six months since I've had a major episode of mental illness. I've gotten a little shitty around the edges here and there, but I've exhibited no genuinely aberrant behavior.

But in the last few weeks, I've started having episodes of insomnia again. Rather than waking up at two or three and going back to bed at three or four, I'm waking up and staying up. Because I'm working or fiddling.

Or, mainly, worrying.

I've managed to overcommit myself and I'm not managing it well. Actually, my suspicion is that I've commited myself to an appropriate degree, but I suck.

That sentence has a familiar look. Let's rephrase that. I don't suck, but I'm going through a period of transition and I wish I was handling it more gracefully. I wish I was carrying out my obligations in a more generous and timely fashion. And I'm going to have to make some life choices (like buying more prepared foods, or pre-making and freezing meals) that I'm not crazy about if I'm going to pursue my ambitions fully.

Right now I'm facing a constant demand for one thing or another from me. An illustration here, a critique there, and then there's the missus, who wants me to do stuff with her and around the house and she's not above yelling and she probably has a point.

And she wants me to write her a promotional piece for her business, but I've been asked for a crit and I've been putting it off and I'm working on it and I get an email asking if the crit is in the works and I say yes and the missus asks me if her piece is ready and she sounds like she's upset and I have to go to class and I haven't done homework all week I'll have to do it in a chunk and my stomach hurts I've got to sign up with California Lawyers for the Arts and find out about health care so I can get a checkup and when was the last time I checked in with Twitter but it's time to make fucking lunch for the missus and all this crap is piling up in the studio and I need to get those blinds put in I can hardly see the fucking screen and I've got to pick up Poppy from school jesus I sweat so much everywhere I go I've taken to carrying a rag crap should I get a macro lens for the next batch of Swillistrations or is there a magnifying setup that would work what if magic was a peasant martial art that allowed an unarmed combatant to take on a member of the local warrior elite that would motherfucking rock I could base it on my high school gang fucking have to write that oh crap I need to xerox this shit scanning it in takes to long crap where's my pen I should be asleep right now why am I looking at musical instruments on line I haven't touched the novel in three fucking days shit shit shit --

Like I said, right now I have all the ingredients for a sweet life and I'm managing to dick things up to a limited extent. Not entirely, thank goodness. If I let myself continue to lose sleep because I'm worried about all the wonderful things going on in my life, I'll screw myself up. I do not want to slide back into that fucking cycle of madness if I can avoid it.

Here's how that goes. I eat one meal a day -- which I've been doing for some time. That interferes a bit with sleep, so the insomnia kicks in. Three, four hours sleep last night, so there we go. The lack of eating and the insomnia feed into each other until other symptoms kick in, like irritability, pacing, compulsive verbalization, perhaps a bit of finger- 0r lip-chewing, and by that point, well, look at the image at the top of this post.

I'm currently at the point where I'm constantly working and I can't feel as if I'm getting anywhere, and every time anyone makes a perfectly reasonable request of me I feel like curling up in a ball and screaming while big chunks of concrete are dropped on me until the screaming stops. So I need to prioritize.

I'm halfway through a critique. Finish it, and then no more online critiques until I've got breathing space. Then write the promotional piece for the missus. And then do my homework for Grammar.

No. Grammar first. This is my fucking livelihood, let's be serious. I'm putting the other things ahead of it in an expression of what some would call a martyr complex.

Then crit. Then Karen's piece.

Then regular doses of Grammar rather than a pre-class cram. And tackle fucking Swill. I have been anxious to do the next batch of Swillistrations since I finished the last. I've refined my system, I'm adding a fascinating new element that will help me ground the images with their inspiration in the novel, I have new tools.

But now that I think about it, there's a big mistake I've made in priorities already.

Why did I write this garble instead of going to bed? Now I've got to get dressed to go shopping and come home and work on my homework and hopefully get some time in on the crits and the promotional piece before I go to class it'll be another late night damnit and --

And the missus yelled at me to go shopping, and I avoided screaming at her. When I explained why screaming was even on the menu, she got it. My not blaming her for anything helped. Which is convenient, because I would have had to work to blame her. And that would take time I should be spending on other things. I need to quit panicking, take a breath, and make some decisions.

Connections. That's my blessing and my curse, is my mind's ability to correlate its contents. I need to stop seeing the forest and start looking at the trees one at a time, instead of being overwhelmed this baffling series of interconnected tasks every I contemplate any labor.

Oafboy? Tomorrow, maybe Friday, you sit your ass down and make some kind of concrete plan, a one-step-at-a-time deal.

And you move sleep to the top of your list of priorities. You see that thing at the top of the post, boy? You seen one of those before? Can you take a motherfucking hint?

Get some sleep, Oafboy. And stop worrying so much.


Glendon Mellow said...

The spinning wheel of priorities - the whiff of romance in the air -
the overcommitment, the accolades -

Good times. Stay the course.

Peter Bond said...

You've already given yourself some good advice. Now all you have to do is follow it.

It's the hardest part, small steps and all that, but worthwhile. You are in a good place right now, just take one bite at a time and be sure to swallow it!