Research for Nanowrimo

It’s a grey, overcast day out there. I like it. I’m not quite in focus as to what I want to be doing today, but it is early. Hopefully today I will start to dig into the new book I’m reading. It’s a book about Zen Buddhism. I bought two yesterday. One of them is introductory and written by an American, the other is a collection of two classic Zen texts translated by a Japanese man. I figured I would try this approach because a “Western” author might help make the concepts more initially relatable while an Asian author will be able to translate according to a more in-tuned perspective. That’s the hope, anyway.

I don’t plan on becoming a Buddhist, for the record. I am interested in Zen as a philosophy, as an outlook and primarily as an element in the story that I am planning for Nanowrimo. I am setting those gears in motion, with the hope that they don’t come to screeching halt before November even gets here. It may seem early to start, but I want room to maneuver. I want the chance to explore a couple of topics that will flesh out the theme of the story.

Incidentally, if anyone reading has a recommendation for good texts related to metaphysics, I’d love to hear it. I figure Kant is one person to investigate, but I don’t know if I’m smart enough to digest his material. I’ve only ever taken two courses on philosophy: Philosophy of Religion (I did quite well) and Philosophy of Mind (I struggled with this one).

I like to look at things from many different angles, so all the thoughts in my head take their time becoming something I can put to paper with any satisfaction. I think that’s a concentration/attention issue as well. I also like to start simple with a story and then add complexities bit by bit. Last year when I did Nanowrimo I used a similar approach, but found that I hadn’t planned enough of the intricacies ahead of time. When my word flow started to freeze up from the pressure I didn’t have enough material to work with. I fizzled out very quickly after that.

I am quite obviously a planner and not pantser, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a pantser. The more power to you! I’ve heard that some pantsers are “discovery writing” when they do Nano, which is a way of figuring out the plot as you go. With that style of writing, one might write whole passages that don’t make sense down the line, because of a change in direction. The results can be a really long, intricate plan for a story more than a first draft… sort of a pre-draft draft. Still, that means they have material to continue molding, and they’ve gotten over the first hurdle towards a finished product. Whatever the style, planning, pantsing, discovery writing… the editing process is going to be important.

This is especially true of works done during Nano, as they emphasize quantity over quality. It’s not a bad concept, though I find it hard to adhere to. I suppose it’s like sculpting, in a sense. The first draft is the raw materials, roughly made into a shape. Editing is where the chisel really comes into play.

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What time is it?

I wonder if it ever makes a difference

Those twenty-four arbitrary wedges

Worldwide we are simultaneous

One stone skipping the waves

But someone added borders

Because they say time is light

Time is the sun

 

But the dark is not timeless

In more ways than one

So I start to wonder

If nothing were perceived

If nothing ever changed

Would there still be time?

I can’t help but think so

 

Time is a constant

It is invisible weather

Just as rain can fall unseen

It subsists without observers

It is the ultimate movement

But we try to pin it down

Does time care what it is?

A Plan for Fall

I’m feeling conflicted but at the same time it seems my feelings are slipping away from me. Right now I am in a weird limbo. I have some sort of energy but I can’t seem to do much with it. There’s a barrier. I think this has to do with the dose of medication I took today? The higher dose of the newer prescription? It gave me a boost but something is still holding me back. It might be stress. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

I don’t want to lapse too many days but I also haven’t got a solid idea what I want to talk about. I suppose one thing I could mention is that I am leaning towards the idea of participating in Nanowrimo this November. (That’s National Novel Writing Month.) I have tried it seriously two or three times in the past and I have yet to succeed. The goal is to write 50,000 words over the course of the month. I have a hard time getting more than halfway into the month before I run out of steam. Even thinking about it right now I am filled with doubt. It might be that it is the wrong time of day to be thinking about it though, as I am getting weary in general.

Still I find that I want to try. I want to see if I can improve. I feel like trying to challenge myself this way is important, especially since I have not succeeded in the past. If I can muster the will to try again where I have failed, then I am helping to reinforce that idea in other areas of my life. I need to hone my determination and my perseverance in many ways, so I feel like starting with this way is good practice. After all, this is about storytelling. This is the thing nearest and dearest to my heart.

It won’t be easy. I have a story I would like to work on…. But it is only a very vague concept in my head thus far. Barely more than a theme, a premise and a couple of flimsy characters. Nevertheless, it is the one I have wanted to flesh out for quite some time. I want to give it attention because I think it has potential. So for the next two months I am hoping to do some research and some brainstorming and get a better idea of what I will be writing come November.

Some people have a much easier time getting words down than I do. I have to try my best not to let that bother me. I think it isn’t even so much other people’s ease that frustrates me, but rather the fact that I used to have a much easier time of it myself. When I was younger I wrote out a story using every spare bit of time I had. I would write my school notes out, and then switch to my story while I waited for the next projector slide. That I used to be able to let the words fill page after page is a point that irks me.

The conundrum is that I know overthinking things in my writing is slowing me down, but at the same time I don’t want to put thoughtless words to paper either. I am also aware that my confidence sinks far too easily when I am devoted to a project. I know I tear myself down in my head but it so damn hard to keep those thoughts out.

Broken

I am not broken

We are not broken

Not a one

There is no perfect

No one so whole

But we have all felt broken

Or if not all

So many

That

Are we not the norm?

Do we not set the trend?

Do we not shape the world?

And so

We are not broken

But

Something is broken

What is it?

It is the lens

It is the mirror

It is how we see each other

It is how we see ourselves

It is how I see myself

It is point of view

And we broke it

We held it

And listened when we were told to break it

Because generations before had done it

Because our parents had done it

Because everyone else had done it

So we did

And I did too

But something happened

The view tilted

To an awkward angle

For a moment I could see differently

I saw between the cracks

I could see us

I could see everyone

I could see myself

Clearly

Unbroken

Now I try

Today

This moment

To hold it in my mind

To always remember

The truth I learned

I am not broken

We are not broken

Not a one

Despite Myself

I had a feeling I might get up way too early, but that’s what happens when you go to bed early and you’re feeling antsy. I spent a busy weekend working on my apartment. Purge, purge, purge. So many things have been thrown out. I wanted to do this before I found out and then after I found out it became a necessity. Found out what? This is hard to admit, but there are bugs in my apartment. I feel just about as awful and ashamed of this fact as I have ever been about anything, no exaggeration. I can tell myself that I’ve been sick and that this is a result of that but it doesn’t do a lot to make me feel better. I feel like a disgusting failure.

Dealing with this, and having to suddenly find the motivation to work through everything that has to be done has been very stressful. I wasn’t doing a lot, barely anything. I believe I mentioned I have next to no stamina? So that’s pitiful reserves of energy, almost zero functioning work ethic and bouts of apathy that suck all my drive to do things, no matter how important they may be.

And it doesn’t matter. Things still have to get done, despite myself. They have, I’ve come a long way in this cleaning process, but I’ve had a lot of help. If I hadn’t had my mom and my boyfriend (Jeremy) to help me with this purge I would have been screwed.

The frustrating part currently is that they were due to come in and treat for the bugs on Monday, so I plowed through the preparation with Jeremy here over the weekend to help, Mom coming in on Sunday, and a final push by myself to be ready Monday morning. Monday I left before they were due to arrive and didn’t show up again until well after the treatment was supposed to be done. I thought I was going to get home Monday night and find that things were well on their way to being normal again. No such luck. They didn’t come. They left me a note stating that they won’t be here until the 5th.

This might sound like I get more time to prepare, but really I was ready. Everything was thrown out that needed to be, everything else was bagged and the furniture was moved. Somehow, even with help, I had managed to do a lot of work myself. And now? Now I have to undo some of the prep in order to live here, without undoing all the prep that was so hard to achieve. And I have to be here, with a problem I barely see but I know is still there. I have to stew with this stress-triggering problem for a week.

So it spills over onto other areas, as things tend to do with depression and anxiety. I am cranky, sleeping a bit oddly (obviously, it’s almost 4:30 am as I write this) and feeling my creative energies are floundering. I am trying not to be completely pessimistic but it is certainly weighing me down.

I guess it’s a good thing that I am seeking out counseling. I’m looking to bridge the gap between me and what Dr. R can offer me as my psychiatrist. He is there to listen, in a sense, but on the whole he is there to establish my current condition, prescribe medication accordingly and guide me towards any other necessary steps. Counseling is not really his domain. I started to look for help for myself but if I can’t find what I need he is prepared to refer me to someone I can talk to.

This all has to do with that problem I mentioned before, the one I cried over for a while and then sort of calmed down about. It’s still relevant, and I’d like a counselor’s help in having to deal with it. I don’t mean to tease with this mention of an ambiguous “problem” but it’s still sensitive. I want to share it when I am ready but at this point I am still not ready. I think I would be more comfortable with it if the larger portion of it were resolved.

In any case, I am hoping to get in touch with a counselor in the next few weeks. There’s always the option to go to a walk-in if I can’t stand the wait, but I feel like I can hold out for now. Part of this may be that I don’t want to juggle the bug problem and the other problem at the same time. I feel like I need to compartmentalize in order to preserve myself.

Haiku Bundle

Sky Haiku

the blue in the sky
is really cold black space
lit up by the sun

 

Mind Haiku

stand with eyes open
open to the world today
look with mind open

 

Haiku haiku

Too many haikus
The world is thick with people
Trying too damn hard

Praise for my Sister

Grace is a super-hero. She saves lives. No, she really does. She works in 911 dispatch. She’s a supervisor and in her time working there she has coached people through many emergency situations, including women who have gone into labor. She could tell you more accurately what she’s gone through on a daily basis, but some of it she isn’t able to because of confidentiality and some things, well… people die while she’s on the job, too, that’s not the cheeriest of subjects.

[My immediate family consists of Mom, Dad, older sister (Grace), younger brother (Louis) and middle child (that’s me, Peg).  Grace is two years older than me, while Louis is two years younger.]

Grace is extremely resilient and an awe-inspiringly capable person. Her job involves incredible amounts of focus, quick-thinking and a cool head. She has all this going for her and it really impresses me.

We’ve gone through phases of closeness and separation as sisters. When we were little we were very close and played together all the time. We were the well-behaved girls while my brother was the one getting into trouble. We had separate circles of friends growing up but we had each other’s backs. Still, we had divergent personalities. We do even now, really. I have always been more abstract and less practical than Grace. This helps my creativity but leaves me lacking in functionality.

That’s the thing: Grace is high-functioning, but I’m certain she has her own mental illness that she deals with on a daily basis. At times this has been hard for me to sympathize with, as she used to make me feel like I was weak for needing help, and especially for taking medication. She has a way of plowing through life that I have never managed, but she used to make me feel like there was something wrong with not being able to cope the way she did.

I don’t get that sense from her anymore. I believe she has grown more accepting of our differences. It’s hard to know for sure, though, as most of her feelings she keeps very guarded. We were close as children, distant as teens and now as adults we have bridged the gap with a lukewarm friendship. I think we both wish it were better than it is, which is promising, but then again our lives and personalities are still vastly different.

This doesn’t stop me from admiring all of my sister’s strength. She has lived through some harsh experiences and I hope she continues to heal from them. She is a super-hero.