Not a new thing, or even something that’s all that rare, but frustrating nonetheless.
Likely stems from the fact that I took a
mental health personal day and spent it doing ‘me’ things. I DID have an appointment in the morning, but I spent the bulk of the day doing little more than reading and writing.
Once upon a time that was how I spent pretty much every day- with time for social interaction and long walks in between. It was a pretty ideal workday.
Reality (horrible, stinking reality) dictates that I don’t get to do that anymore. While I still spend the bulk of each day reading and writing and interacting with people, it is no longer on my own terms and with subjects and people of my choosing.
I know- tiny violins of sympathy playing all around me.
Whining about days of yore isn’t actually what this post is about (although who doesn’t love a good whine every now and again?) so I’ll stop the wallowing tangential train and get back to the point.
I did a lot of reading. Mainly online stuff; friends’ blogs (like this one, and this, and this one too), some articles of academic interest that I’d saved ages ago and never got around to- but I also picked up a novel that I’ve read a number of times before (I do like the re-read) for the TTC trip to the doc and got caught up in the story- even if I know it practically by heart by now.
I finally set that aside and got to some serious writing- work on this blog (hence the back-to-back posts), an academic article, and that book that somehow never seems to get finished. Every time I look at it I hope against hope that the writing angels (or daemons- I’m not prejudiced) have completed it for me, but so far that hasn’t happened. So far.
Regardless, it was a productive and highly enjoyable day. Setting my own pace and moving from one thing to another at will is a wonderful luxury. I know I have weekends in which to do that sort of thing- and some weekends I DO do that sort of thing- but there is something decadent about being able to be both dissolute and industrious on a weekday.
It felt like playing hooky.
Everyone else was at work.
It was as hella hot and steamy as Hades in the summertime outside, but the house was cool and quiet.
I ran all kinds of things through this ol’ brain o’ mine over the course of the day. My reading brought me ideas for potential new writings and the writing reminded me of more things I’ve been wanting to read… Not enough time.
Usually getting things on paper (figuratively- I have given up the ink and paper for the computer pretty much exclusively now) helps me sleep. Once it is out of my head and preserved for posterity I no longer need to think about it. All those ideas and issues that have been circulating for the past while have been swept out of the corners into which they were tucked when I had others things on my plate that were taking priority.
I sorted out a plot point that had been plaguing me for weeks, sketched out two additional chapters, linked a couple of draft posts together for further examination later, finally wrote out a dialogue that has been eluding me AND took on board some of the wisdom that other writers have had to offer- about the state of the world of late, the wonder of discovering new people, places and things… all kinds of good stuff that helped to quell some of the existential anxiety being fed by some of the world’s most current of events.
So the brain should have been all calm and ready for some rest.
Instead, I tossed. And I turned. I had that appropriate (and hilarious) ad for Tylenol PM for company (“Why is the word ‘abbreviation’ so long? What if the hokey pokey really IS what it’s all about?” That’s some GOOD copy!) as it cycled endlessly through my head over and over and over…
I resisted getting up and grabbing the Shuffle Daemon. Listening to music actually keeps me awake (unless I’ve had a couple of beers. THEN I’m usually out like a light before the first song has ended). I can’t help paying attention to the lyrics I love so much and the words get in the way of drifting peacefully into slumber.
I’ve never been a big fan of the non-vocal music (despite many trips to Massey- and then Roy Thomson- Hall to see the TSO) so I don’t have much lyric-free music in my collection.
Except Mike Oldfield. Who I love (Opening Ceremonies of England’s Summer Olympics? Spectacular!). But his symphonies alternate between the quiet and the bombastic (or spooky, as the case may be- Tubular Bells, anyone?) so the lulling is often interrupted by the demon voices and such.
As I lay there considering getting up to try the ‘couple of beers’ remedy, THAT song (up there ^^^^) popped into my busy brain.
Love them. All their stuff. This one reminds me of an old friend I haven’t seen in way too long and always makes me feel better about things as I run through my memories of him.
So I tried to take their advice and ‘sing myself to sleep’. Then the words got in the way (why is Gloria Estefan sneaking in? Can’t stop the musical infiltration- whether or not it’s something I actually like– it seems).
They’re just SO GOOD.
As always, when I listen to James, I choose to ignore (editor’s prerogative) Tim Booth and Jim Glennie’s affiliation with the, um, sect (yes, let’s call them a sect. Cult makes people squirmy. Even if there is some reason to be squirmy in this case…) LifeWave.
Yes, this affiliation seems to make it into the songs (‘I believe this wave will bear my weight so let it flow’) but again, choosing to ignore…
As the lyrics chased themselves through my head I had to appreciate how well they suited my overall mood this week, and reflected some of the things I’d been thinking about and focusing on: Letting go, feeling crazy/down/defeated- then okay again- then back to crazy/down/defeated, and, most of all, that no one is ever alone in feeling that they’ve been to ‘some far out places’.
Feel the breath of sadness
Find they’re touched by madness
Find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me
We can all sit together in the awareness that we share these things in common. All of us.
And when those ‘secrets I can’t keep’ and ‘insights of the day’ prevent me from sleeping, I can always hear some James in my head, telling me they’ve been there too.
At some point the words reassured me enough that I slept- and got up ready to meet the new day. Even if it wasn’t a
save my sanity personal day and I had to get to work.