Sleep, and the Consequences Thereof

31 01 2012

Okay, that was a bit of an unintended hiatus, that was. Not to worry, there’s life in this blog yet.

So why has there not been a post for more than two weeks? Sleep. And the side-effects thereof. You might remember that I wrote about getting up “early” every day in my very first post here. Well, that experiment is going… Okay-ish. Most week-days I’ve been up before 9am like I said I would, although I’m falling into a habit of catching up on sleep during the weekend. Another problem has been the lack of energy. The first week went alright, but it’s not unusual for me to get up early and go to bed equally early for about a week. Week two was when it started to get difficult. It was hard to get myself out of bed and hard to stay awake during the day. Even harder to focus and find energy to do the things I wanted to do, like write. And week three and four were just so bad that I started power-napping more or less unintended, and on Thursday last week I took a three and a half hour nap in the afternoon. And this isn’t even counting weekends where I’ve been playing catch-up on sleep, staying in bed ’till around 11-12am (2pm this Sunday!).

But! And here’s the good news: I am getting out of bed before 10am on weekdays and some days even earlier and my sleep patterns are stabilising. Just look at the chart below from my SleepBot app. The weird patterns on the left is how it looked before. The highlighted portion to the right is this last month. See how much more regular it looks? Could be better, sure, but I doubt I’ll ever have a completely regular sleep cycle. Experience tells me that that will never happen. I am a night owl and no amount of getting up early will change that.

Which leads me to the big problem with this whole thing. I like being up at night. It’s when my muse is awake and when I feel most creative and when I have the drive to write. And I still have that little voice in the back of my head telling me ‘screw this sleep crap. It’s not worth it spending your time in bed – at night – when you could be writing’ and it’s a hard voice to ignore. Especially when the muse starts chatting away at me when I turn off the lights at night and try to go to sleep.

So what does all that mean? Right now, it means that the writing project is on hold while I get used to this new sleep pattern. If I get used to the sleep pattern. Hopefully, it will happen and hopefully my muse will come along for the ride. Otherwise, it will be a very difficult journey to see all the way through. Writing is important to me. And if I can’t write because I have a nocturnal muse and I’m trying to live up to “normal sleep times”, then fuck it. I’m going to be going where the muse is. As long as I’m unemployed and unemployable, I only have two days a week where I have to be up early (due to reason that are too complicated to explain in this post).

But so far, so good. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. Not yet. I’ll be giving it at least another month before deciding whether it’s worth it getting up in the morning…

Advertisements




Beginnings

13 01 2012

I just wrote the first line of my novel. And now I’m back to procrastinating as I write this blog about it. Go writer!

Well, already I’m feeling the inner editor rearing its ugly head, telling me that there’s no way you’ll keep that first line and maybe it’s right. But at least I’ve begun now. The document has been created and I wrote the first line. Two, actually. A total of forty words. In those forty words, I think I’ve already established that this world is not entirely normal, that it’s certainly not set in the present and I’ve introduced the main character by name and gender. Not too bad, I think.

Now, I’ve said earlier that I was going to rewrite the novel I did for NaNoWriMo back in 2010 and perhaps I am. Time will tell. What I am doing is using one of the characters from that novel and telling his story first. It’s what I’m feeling inspired to do right now, partly because he’s an interesting character and partly because it’s a story that has been in my head for a very long time, one that I started as a short story over a decade ago and never really expanded on. Time to write that story now.

I’m not much of a planner. I don’t outline my stories. I don’t know how they will end when I begin writing them. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never really been able to actually finish anything. I like to think that the reason I haven’t finished anything yet is because I haven’t had the will for it before. I found that will last year. I finished NaNoWriMo. Didn’t just reach 50 thousand words and then stopped. No, I wrapped up the story (perhaps a little fast, granted) and put ‘The End’ on it. And it felt fantastic!

And so, while beginnings are easy (I have dozens of beginnings in notebooks and stored on my computer), this time around I feel confident that I will at least get a first draft of this story done in 2012.

Now, back to writing on my novel instead of procrastinating with writing about writing!

 

[Edit] And then, just as I returned to the document and wrote another one hundred words or so, the muse decided that the story needs to start a little more… Um… Violently. Fun times!





Trust

11 01 2012

This journey is about trust. About learning or re-learning to trust other people. It’s a hard thing to regain or gain (if it was never there to begin with) and I’m still not there. It’s been such a long time since I’ve truly trusted others that I have trouble remembering what it’s even like. This isn’t a simple thing like trusting people with a secret or telling them something in confidence. It’s about the trust that they’ll not just disappear on my or turn on me and hurt me. Remember that trust exercise? The one where you fall back and count on the person behind you to catch you when you let yourself fall back? For years, since I was maybe 11-12 years old, the way I’ve felt about that – metaphorically speaking – is that there have been no one there to catch me when I fall.

That saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’… That one was always a huge lie to me. If anything, words are more harmful than physical harm, since you can point to a bruise and say “look, I’ve been hurt! Please help me.” In my case, I was bullied with words for a large part of my time in school (in Denmark, we go to the same school with the same kids in the same class for 9 or 10 years). It hardly ever escalated to violence, but was much more focused on exclusion, “teasing” and telling me that I was worthless. Every once in a while, some of the kids would pretend to be my friends and then turn on me once they had gained my trust and start the bullying all over again.

This was back in the ’80s and early ’90s and there wasn’t the greatest focus on bullying yet, so when I told the teachers, they would just tell the other kids not to tease Charlie, which of course, only made it worse, because now you were a snitch too. My parents might have been sympathetic, but they did nothing about it either, even when I asked to be moved to another school. My parents are a whole ‘nother story that I’m not going to cover in this post, but suffice to say that my parents weren’t always the most supportive parents in the world. So I was stuck at that school, with the kids who alternatively ignored me or bullied me whenever they were bored.

I coped by isolating myself. During recess, I’d go to the school library or hide in out of the way places on the school’s grounds (there was quite a lot of outdoor space at my school), meet with one of the two or three friends I had at the school (who weren’t in my class, but were kids I had come to know before even starting school). Those things got me through the day. My few true friends, the books and being able to just get away from my tormentors during those few minutes every day.

School was hell for me. No, let me rephrase that. I actually LOVED learning and I still do. But the people I spent my days with made it hell for me. But all that is in the past now. It took me a very long time to come to the conclusion that I can no longer let those people rule my life and dictate who I am. I won’t let those people from more than twenty years in the past continue to haunt me and keep me from trusting others. It’s time to change. Not going to happen overnight, I know that. And I will never be an extroverted, fun-loving girl. That’s not who I am. But I want to allow people into my life again. And I want to trust them to be there if I fall.

 

This post took me a good few days to write. It’s a difficult thing to admit just how much bullying has affected my life and my interaction with other people. I’ve told myself multiple times to just ‘get over it, already’, that bullying is just part of the school experience and many other victims of bullying have managed to move on. It’s taken me over twenty years to arrive at the point where I’m finally doing something about it. The reason is that I have the help I need now. And for that I am grateful.





Book Review – Espedair Street

9 01 2012

Espedair StreetTitle: Espedair Street
Author: Iain Banks
Published: 1987
Pages: 362
Rating: 3/5

Review:
All the while I was reading this I was waiting for that moment where there would be the unexpected twist, the turn to the weird and the strange. I was waiting for the moment that I’ve come to expect from Iain Banks where he takes the story in an entirely different direction than the one you were expecting and make you reel from the surprise and the delight of it all.

But that moment never came and the only Weird in this story is the main character’s nickname. Danny Weir (Weir, D=Weird) is an over-the-hill rock star in his early thirties, who now lives in a fake church, letting his new friends believe that he’s simply the caretaker of the place and not a once-famous rock star worth millions.

The story follows Dan in two ways: the first is life after rock fame, telling us how he gets along with his two buddies, McCann and Wee Tommy as they drink and hit the bars of Glasgow. The other storyline tells us the story of Dan the more or less unwilling rock star (writing the songs and playing the bass, not really wanting to be in the spotlight) and life with his band members, showing us the shenanigans they get up to as they become more and more famous.

But story is rather predictable for an Iain Banks novel and while it was certainly interesting and there are some fun bits in there, it’s just not my cup of tea. I rather prefer the Banks novels that are truly twisted and strange and the science fiction that he has published with the middle initial “M”.





Write What You Know

4 01 2012

These past few days I’ve given a lot of thought about what the focus of this blog should be. Should I write about writing a novel? Should I write about photography? Living with epilepsy? With an anxiety disorder? What about politics and current events? Maybe book reviews or reviews of stuff I watch on TV?

In the end, I think I’m going to end up writing about all those things. It’s what I know. It’s my life and deep down, I think that’s why I started this blog. To write about my life and my experiences. For others, it might not be the most exciting thing to read, I know that full well, but I’m not blogging for others, am I? I’m going to be writing this for myself.

I was once told that I ‘don’t pull punches’. And that’s what you can expect in this blog. I’ll tell it like it is and will be brutally honest about my life and what it’s like to be me. Right now, being me isn’t a fun place to be, but it’s getting better and that’s partly the reason I want it down in text, so I can track my progress. And, I suppose, inviting pretty much everyone in the world to follow along just gives me that extra bit of motivation to make it happen.

So. Write what you know is a saying that every writer knows. And that’s what I’ll do. Because nobody knows my life better than I do.





A New Blog

2 01 2012

Well, it would seem that I’ve made yet another blog, though past experience shows that I’m terrible at keeping up with these things. Not entirely sure what to do with this one, so at the moment it’s called Random Blog – All Random, All the Time. Whether it will keep that title or become something more thoughtful and exact, time will tell. So why did I make this? Well, mostly because it’s a new year and I’m more confident about 2012 being the year that everything will change for me. This will be a GOOD year. It’s a kind of optimism I haven’t felt at the beginning of a year in quite a while. And so; new blog.

So what are the plans for 2012? Better with plans than resolutions, right? I’ve never once kept a resolution and besides, these plans were set in motion over the last few months of 2011. So, in list form:

  1. An experiment in getting up at the same time every morning (9am at the latest). Being unemployed for a long time has wreaked havoc with my sleep patterns and it doesn’t help that I’m naturally a night owl, preferring to be awake at night rather than the day time. Two days in now and I can say for certain that I have no clue if this will work out.
  2. Get the mess in my flat sorted. This is a loooong story, but to keep it short, I’ve let the place go to the dogs. Now I have the help of a home aid person (a woman who comes to help me out with practical and other matters once a week) and together we’ll get all this crap out of my life, at which point it will be one less thing to weigh on my mentally. I’m very much looking forward to that.
  3. Get healthy. Yeah, I think we all say that around this time of year. This time, I mean it. Again with the help of my home aid person, I will learn to cook decent food and get on the path to more healthy living. My goal for losing weight is fairly low. I’ll be happy just getting under 100kg, which means I’ll need to lose around 10 kilos. I think that’s doable.
  4. Write. Last year I won NaNoWriMo (for the third time) and bought Scrivener with my winner’s coupon. I intend to make good use of that amazing writing tool this year and begin the rewrite of 2010’s WriMo novel.

And those would be the main goals for this year. I think it’s plenty to start with and as a little side project I’ve started making good use of my new smartphone to take pictures for my 365 Project, which I hope will rekindle my love for photography.

Whoa. When you put it all like that, it seems like quite a lot of work. But I already know to take small steps. And I think that’s the key to doing all this. And I just know that 2012 is going to be a good year. I’m determined to make it so. And I’m determined to make full use of all the help that’s been offered to me, instead of being afraid of what the future might bring. It might be scary, it might be different. But with the political and economical climate being what it is, getting better both physically and mentally, can only be for the better.

The journey already started last year and I am very much looking forward to continuing it.