Tag Archives: creativity

Thirty-Five


I’ve thought for years that 2013 would be my year – the year when everything finally worked out, and I’d be “successful” (whatever that means). I thought this because I was convinced that I would come into my own when I finally turned thirty-five. I’m not sure why I thought this, but I just did.

After the weekend I’ve just had, I would have to be fucking Pollyanna to continue to believe that this is going to be the case. For the last forty-eight hours, I’ve basically lain in bed the whole time, staring at the ceiling, and crying.  I was supposed to go to work yesterday, and today, but I called in sick. I don’t think I’m going to go tomorrow either.

I have done no housework for days, and there is barely a clean dish to make myself any food, so I don’t eat anything or, if I do, it’s cereal. Much to my eternal shame and guilt, I also didn’t feed any of the pets until long after the usual time because I couldn’t rouse myself to get out of bed to do so.

I have no clean clothes, and, in fact, I’ve slept in the ones I’m currently wearing two nights in a row. It goes without saying that I haven’t brushed my teeth or washed my face, and my hair looks like I stuck my finger in an electric socket.

I also haven’t cleaned the litter boxes in days, which is a big, big problem when you have so many cats. What with the terrible stench in the house and my dishevelled, dirty appearance, I am a classic crazy cat lady.

I feel very hopeless, isolated and lonely. I know that I need to get back to meditating, and start working the SLAA steps, but both of these tasks seem so daunting, and time-consuming. I want a quick fix! I know that’s lazy, but I do. Or I want a guarantee that meditating and doing the steps will revolutionize my life. I want the promise of results, goddammit!

I think that part of the reason I’ve stopped meditating and haven’t started working the steps yet is because I am scared to death that they won’t help me. This makes no logical sense whatsoever, but, in some way, it’s comforting not to do anything, as that way I can hold on to the hope that there is something out there that could help me. If I start meditating/working the steps, and they don’t help, then I’ll have nothing. All hope will be gone.

It’s the same way with writing. How much easier it is to sit on the sidelines, bitching about other people I consider less talented than myself who are successful writers than actually getting around to doing any writing myself. It’s comforting to think of myself as a talented writer who “just cannot get started” rather than a “writer manqué” who just doesn’t have it in her to be successful.

I don’t have faith in anything at the moment – not myself and certainly not a Higher Power.

 

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Breaking Promises


Hello, little blog. It’s been a while – a month to be exact. I got a little tired of walking to the lake at lunchtime to blog frantically for the last fifteen minutes of my lunch break. It wasn’t terribly relaxing.

Not much to report as usual. Same old dead-end job; broke; tired, depressed; self-hating and self-defeating. The cherry on the top of my shit cake is that our landlords, and their evil property management company, are absolute cunts (I mean, seriously, that word was invented for them), and they’re trying to get rid of us…for what? For standing up for our rights really. It’s all a bit stressful. Of course,  I suppose I could just roll over and let them shaft me up the arse, but, nah, I don’t think so. I’ll be seeing them down the JP Court, thank you very much.

The one bright light in my tunnel of doom is that I am in a new musical project. I met a musician on Craigslist (is there anything you can’t find on that website?!) and we’re getting along very well, both musically and personally. Well, he could be a bit more emotive, and say what he means more often, but, well, you can’t have everything.

My only concern about this project is that I have neglected my “own music”. I was supposed to be coming home at night and practising piano, and making my music. To be honest, though, I prefer working with somebody who challenges me and tells me what to do. It’s not that I don’t have ideas; oh, I have plenty of ideas, and that’s the problem. I have a hard time focusing on just one idea, and I get terrified and overwhelmed by them all, and then I don’t do anything. It’s a relief to let somebody else steer me a little.

I feel guilty that I don’t have enough gumption or “get up and go” to make music on my own, but maybe that’s just the kind of person I am, creatively. Maybe I just need structure. My life kind of fell to pieces after university because I wasn’t used to not having a place to be, an essay to write, a book to read etc. In my last year, when everybody was freaking out about our final exams, I was a little oasis of calm. I must be the only person who actually enjoyed finals. And I’ll tell you why – it was the fucking papers we had to write throughout the year that terrified me because, technically speaking, there was no fucking end to the amount of research I could do. And that’s what happened. I would research a paper for weeks, and weeks, and weeks until I had so much fucking information I didn’t know what to do with it. In comparison, two weeks of finals, which had so much ridiculous significance for my overall grade, were nothing. A three hour exam in which I have to write something about Goethe? Pfft. Bring it on. I loved the fucking time limit. I loved being limited.

It’s the same thing when it comes to writing. I have so many ideas, but I just don’t know where to get started. I just wish somebody would fucking hire me, and tell me what subject to write about. Sigh.

 

 

Cubicle work is the opium of the masses


If Karl Max was alive today he’d have to revise his opinion about religion. We no longer need the promise of a golden afterlife to placate grey-faced, factory worker grunts. For most of us in the West, life has become a lot more comfortable and, for those of us who are still living in abject poverty and misery, consumerism has replaced religion as our insidious balm of choice. Who needs God when you can replace Him with things, or the heady dream that you’ll soon have those things?

In the grand scheme of things, my life is OK. I’m not exactly happy, and I do live from pay cheque to pay cheque, but I have food, clothes and a roof over my head. Life is a struggle, but it’s not the same soul-crushing, spirit-sapping struggle it was for people like me when Marx was alive.

But there is huge problem – I no longer think, or care about all the really important issues I should care about. And why is this? It’s because I spend 40 hours of my week, sitting on my arse in a cubicle. Sometimes I do get to interact with my colleagues in a normal human way (face-to-face!) but the vast majority of my daily interactions take place in online work chat rooms because I need to sit at my computer and get good “stats”.

The most “meaningful” work relationship I have (and I’m truly stretching the definition of the word “meaningful”) is with “T.”, a married, self-professed piece of white trash from some shitty Republican town deep in the heart of the state. I like him because he’s irreverent, very funny and is a Socialist, but I’ve barely exchanged more than a few sentences with him in person. All of our work relationship takes place via chat.

When I get home at night, I’m too tired to do anything except fall on the sofa, and watch episodes of “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” on TV, glass of red wine in hand. I barely read any more, and if I do, it’s usually 30 minutes snatched here and there in my lunch hour. I try to read “The New York Times” as much as I can (I’m old-fashioned…I get the paper version delivered every morning) but it worries me that I just absorb all the things I read there, without really thinking about them. I just go back to my online work chat room, and laugh at whatever new nyah nyah cat or Rebecca Black meme people have sent around.

I know it’s arrogant to think this like this, but ten years ago, when I had just graduated from university, I never thought my life would be this way. I thought I was destined for great things. Ha! I know I’m a good writer and singer, but there’s now so little time to get things done. Combine the lack of time, with my unfocused brain, crippling perfectionism and fear of failure, and it’s no wonder I never do anything creative.

I don’t know where to start, to be honest. I’m thirty-three years old, and I haven’t done anything much with my life. I can never seem to make the changes I should to be “successful”.

Is this it then? Am I destined to spend the rest of my life in a fucking cubicle, becoming more brain dead by the second?

Still a moany wee shite.


Wow, I had no idea that the last time I posted on here was January 6th! I thought my last post was in mid-February. I should have realized it was a long time when I attempted to log into WordPress, and had a hard time remembering my user ID and password. Thanks to those chipmunk aficionados, though, my stats haven’t taken much of a beating. In fact, insultingly, my busiest day ever was January 7th with over 300 hits!

Since I’ve been gone, lots of things have happened. “MM” and I passed our immigration interview, and so now I have a two-year green card. I’ll get the ten-year one at the end of next year (if we haven’t got divorced, that is!). I also passed my driving test about a month ago. Both of these things mean that it will be much easier for me to find a teaching job. I’ve been substitute teaching in a neighbouring school district in the hope that that will help me get my foot in the door there.

You’d think I’d be happy, wouldn’t you? But, well, I wouldn’t be the same moany wee shite you know and love if I was happy. I still have days (like today and yesterday actually) when I’m crushingly depressed, and I wish I could just stay in bed all day. I fantasize about slashing my wrists, or putting a bullet through my head. I don’t know why I feel this way. It just seems that nothing ever changes. I feel hopeless.

Last week was a particularly difficult week, as it always is in Mid-March, because there was a massive music festival here. Every year I’m reminded by all the musicians floating around of how I’m a talented singer and yet I do nothing, absolutely fucking nothing, with my talent. It’s the same thing with writing. I have all these ideas for articles, but I never do anything.

I picked up my copy of “The Artist’s Way” this morning, and read through the first chapter with the intention of working through all the exercises. Maybe this time it’ll help unblock me. I can’t help but be discouraged, though, whenever I look at the date I wrote on the inside cover when I started using it the first time – January 15th 2007. 2007! More than three years have passed, and still I’m completely artistically frustrated and blocked. Admittedly, I didn’t really follow the book properly, so it’s no bloody wonder I failed.

At the weekend, I posted an ad online to see if I can find musicians to collaborate with. Every so often I’ll realize that I’m wasting my vocal abilities, and I’ll frantically spend about a week or two trying to find somebody to work with. I’ll meet up with a few, but nothing ever seems to fit. I shouldn’t let that discourage me really, and should keep on looking…but I don’t, and then I forget all about making music. If I can forget so easily, maybe I don’t even want it enough.

Even blogging is a chore these days, another stick to beat myself about the head with. I find it hard, if not downright impossible, to keep up with all of the other blogs I read. I don’t know how you do it, but everybody else seems to manage it. They manage to write a post per day, read and comment on other people’s blogs, and then respond to comments on their own blogs in a timely fashion. All that, and they’ve got a life as well! If I did that, my life would consist only of blogging! Yet another reason to feel guilty and “less than”.

So what does this mean, Sigmund?


I was so tired last night that I lay down on my bed “for a few minutes” around 11:30 p.m. I don’t know why I always think it will be for just “a few minutes” because what always happens is that I wake up hours later, with the lights blaring in every room, fully clothed and still wearing my contact lenses. Last night was no exception, of course.

I woke up around 4:30 a.m., and then couldn’t really get back to sleep again because I started thinking about Wednesdays, which are, from now on, going to be one of my “days off”. 2009 was a disastrous year for me because I was so stressed out about money that I never really allowed myself to have “down time”. Of course, I did end up having “down time” but it was mainly because I got so frustrated and depressed by working myself too hard that I ended up being forced to stop working instead of actually choosing to have fun and relax. The main result of this was that I never really could have fun and relax because I always had this nagging feeling that I was slacking off and should be doing something else. This a pattern I’ve followed since I was eighteen, and I don’t know why it’s so fucking hard to break it. I don’t understand why I have a lot of self-knowledge, which I then proceed to ignore to fall back into my bad habits.

Anyway, I digress….so back to the main story. So, here I am at 4:30 a.m., thinking about Wednesdays, wondering how to spend them. I’d like to make Wednesday a “creativity day”, a time when I attempt to write a short story, or just do anything creative and fun. It terrifies me to think that I might “only” be a teacher. I know teaching is a noble profession, and it’s definitely something I enjoy and want to make part of my life forever, but I just don’t want it to be the only thing I do. I’d like to start writing fiction and perhaps also creative non-fiction but I don’t know if I have it in me. I mean, if I want to write, why the fuck haven’t I written anything before now?! I’m fucking thirty-two years old, for Christ’s sake! Surely I’d have started years ago if I truly had something to write about. Maybe I also want to write for all the wrong reasons…you know, just so I can say “Oh, I’m a writer” and think of myself as a creative person. Maybe I don’t have a creative bone in my body, and I should just accept the fact that I’m going to be a teacher, have kids, retire and then die, just like everybody fucking else in the world.

By 5:30 a.m., I was still wide awake, trying to come up with a short story idea (I thought about writing one which incorporates a Scottish myth) but still listening to the little voice deep inside me whispering “You can’t do it! You can’t do it! Who do you think you are?!” Eventually I remembered a woman in my book group who is a published novelist…but, well, her book is awful. I don’t want to be mean (ultimately I admire her for having the determination, will-power and work ethic to get the damn thing written…and she did also pace it well) but, oh my God, I just know I can write something better than a completely unrealistic, “feel good”, happy ending type novel. This calmed me down a wee bit and I was eventually able to fall asleep. Now, I know it isn’t very nice to use somebody else’s literary deficiences as a sleep aid or as a boost to my own creativity, but, hell, give me a damn break. I needed to get to sleep somehow.

Unfortunately, I was then re-awakened at 6:30 a.m. by a text from a friend of mine in Berlin, a painter. It was strange that she should text me just after I’d been agonizing about being creative. I have always really envied her life and creativity because she’s devoted herself to her art since a very young age, and moves in bohemian, artistic circles. I wouldn’t say that I want to be her, but I have always wanted to live my life more like her. Her text said that a friend of hers (an annoying, pretentious, rich English girl whom I’ve never liked) accused her of stealing her painting ideas. I’ve never really understood why my friend likes this girl so much (I suppose they must just have some sort of connection through painting), but their frienship has always been so fraught with stress and drama, so it seems like far too much effort to me. God, there is enough pain in the world without having friends who add to it! My friend also told me that a famous gallery owner had come to see her show, had wined, dined and bedded her, all while promising her the world…and, then…neglected to get back in touch again.

I don’t know if there’s any significance in receiving a text from my “creative friend” just after I’d been agonizing about my own creativity. Probably not. Probably it means nothing. Or maybe the text was to remind me that writing, and being creative, isn’t going to be a panacea for all that it is wrong with my life. Who knows.

I finally fell asleep again and had the weirdest dream. I won’t go into too much detail (reading about other people’s dreams is kinda boring, huh?) but suffice it to say that I was a trainee teacher in a school that was being taken over by strange, evil orange tabby cats (in the vein of Garfield). They kept appearing, then vanishing, and turning up somewhere else in the classroom. I was drawing a picture of a leaf-less tree in winter on the blackboard when one turned up and knocked over all my belongings. Next, all the teachers were out in the car park, discussing, quite nonchalantly where they were going to be transferred (as if it were normal for evil Garfield-like cats to destroy your previous school!). “MM” was there, too (he was a trainee teacher also, apparently) and a very young teacher came up and whispered something to him, so it was obvious that they’d had sex at some point. I asked “MM” if they’d had sex before he met me, but he never answered, so I took that to mean he had had an affair with the teacher. She was still around, gloating, so I kicked the crap out of her, and then started to beat up “MM”, too in the hope that he would finally admit the truth. He never did, and the dream ended with us standing in my living room with “MM” looking away from me.

The strange thing is that I then sent “MM” a text about this dream (it felt so real!) and I got the following message back:

“Oh baby. I also dreamt you were having an affair. I was breaking everything around me and woke up very sad”.

What does it all mean, Sigmund?!