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as bad as it gets

I awoke at 7:45 this morning (I was up until almost 3 a.m.) and wasn't able to get back to sleep again. I didn't wake Spooky until 10:30, which marked a full 48 hrs. that I'd gone without speaking. I hate being awake alone that early, especially when it's so bitterly cold. There's a terrible hollowness, a disquieting amplification of sound, a sense of isolation. I drank pink lemonade Kool-Aid and puttered about online and allowed myself to read things I shouldn't read, and by the time I woke Spooky, my mood was black and brittle. Which it still is. Likely, it'll stay that way for days. I'm tempted to go back to bed. At least it's warm beneath the blankets. I could spend the day reading. I really don't see why I shouldn't do just that. Or board the cat and drive to Miami. One or the other.

I'm not sure what the temperature is right now. Last I checked, it was 27F, with a windchill of 21F. Ugh. And sunny, to boot. Injury, meet insult. Insult, meet injury. For many, many years, I have loved living in old places. The carriage house in Athens. The converted overalls factory in Birmingham. The former Kirkwood Elementary School. But I think this building, which is simply impossible to heat, may finally drive me into the temperate arms of modernity.

I'd hoped to be in better spirits for Solstice. I just have to keep telling myself, this is as bad as it gets. Tomorrow, the days will begin to grow longer again. Another couple of months, and we'll get the first signs of spring.

Yesterday, I did 1,001 words on "Bainbridge," adding the new first section I'd suspected was needed. Each word came only with great reluctance, kicking and screaming. I spoke (by e-mail) with Bill Schafer about including a few B&W photos in my afterword for Alabaster, photos of places mentioned in the stories, as I'd done with Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold, and he agreed it would be a good thing, so I probably shall. My agent's supposed to call today, but seeing as how all NYC is in chaos from the transit strike, I won't be surprised if I don't hear from her.

The whole silence thing...well, it was undeniably weird, but mostly weird in a good way. Towards the end, I even began to think it might be preferable. Much more thought went into each attempt to communicate with Spooky. Nothing was said carelessly. It's something I wish I'd done twenty years ago. Today, speaking seems very peculiar. There's almost a surreal quality to my own voice. In a few days, I'm to go 24 hrs. without seeing, and I expect that to be a much more harrowing experience.

This frelling cold weather. I might at least be writing a winter story right now, instead of a short story set in southwestern Georgia in June. Maybe I should put it aside and write some Nebari fic, perhaps another script for setsuled. Something abysmally frigid, so cold it would make this day seem warm by comparison.

There's a little good news, of course. The creationist yahoos running the public schools in Dover, Pennsylvania have been told that it's unconstitutional to ram religion down the throats of biology students. Judge John Jones stated that it wasn't possible for "intelligent design" to hide its ties to creationism and, hence, its ties to Xtianity. You may download a PDF of the full 139-page decision here. I rather like what Neil had to say: The "why this is not an activist decision by an activist judge" bit on page 137 is terrific, although you're best off getting there the hard way, starting at page 1, including slogging through the appalling behaviour of the people on the School Board who started it, who, despite feeling it was important to expell Darwin (and Darwin's finches) and get the Old Testament God back in the classroom, had somehow managed to fail to realise that any of that stuff in the Bible about bearing false witness applied to them. Of course, none of this is going to phase the idiots who run Pensacola's Dinosaur Adventure Land Theme Park...

Yeah. Okay. I suppose it's time to write. Maybe if my agent does get through today, she can remind me why I shouldn't give this up and find a way to go back to school.

Comments

( 11 comments — Have your say! )
asru
Dec. 21st, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
Apologies if you've already mentioned it in an earlier entry (I have been away from the internet for a while), but I am interested in your no speaking, no seeing experiment and the reasons behind it. If you don't mind discussing it, what are the aims of the exercise? Is it something that you have discovered somewhere or that you decided upon just for yourself?
stardustgirl
Dec. 21st, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
I hate being awake alone that early, especially when it's so bitterly cold. There's a terrible hollowness, a disquieting amplification of sound, a sense of isolation. and I just have to keep telling myself, this is as bad as it gets. Tomorrow, the days will begin to grow longer again. Another couple of months, and we'll get the first signs of spring.

I feel exactly the same, except I don't mind the sunniness. In fact, I welcome it because on the days when it is so cold and bleak, the grey clouds, snow and fog just make the isolation more confining, and it's like being trapped and smothered with no one to hear you scream. I too, count the days until they start lengthening again. Even if I can't see enough of a change to make a difference, it helps knowing that longer days are coming.
stsisyphus
Dec. 21st, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC)
Solstice for the RaptorBot
Well, brittle black moods or no, please accept my wishes for a Merry Solstice.

I drank pink lemonade Kool-Aid and puttered about online and allowed myself to read things I shouldn't read

Which is as good a way to start a day as any. Curiousity must strike, however, what are you being forbidden to read?

In a few days, I'm to go 24 hrs. without seeing, and I expect that to be a much more harrowing experience.

Two words: Mouth Guards.
This may prevent the occurance of two more words: Dental Surgery.
This is not to say that you are necessarily clumsy, or that the house is unnaturally cluttered.

But you have a cat.

A cat which is also apparently a transformer and can be used like a motorcycle. But if you're on the way to Miami anyway, why not take the Sophiecycle and your bad Raptorbot self and assault the DALTP?
stsisyphus
Dec. 21st, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
Maybe I should put it aside and write some Nebari fic

Crap. That reminds me. Can I have your permission to adapt a "Nar'eth" custom character for my copy of SoulCalibur III?
setsuled
Dec. 22nd, 2005 07:14 am (UTC)
Can I have your permission to adapt a "Nar'eth" custom character for my copy of SoulCalibur III?

I didn't even ask for permission. I beat Quick Play on Soul Arena with my Nar'eth on Extremely Hard mode this evening, using Soul of Cervantes. And I suck with Cervantes, too, so I'm thinking there is such a thing as Nar'eth magic.
stsisyphus
Dec. 23rd, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)
I didn't even ask for permission.

Well, you have extraordinary exemptions from such diplomacy being the artist of the Manga and all. I'll admit that I was looking for permission-after-the-fact; I got into the character creation mode and really couldn't resist. I just felt guilty afterwards for copyright infringement.

I'm thinking there is such a thing as Nar'eth magic

We'll see once you unlock the "Command Carrier Assault" stage on Chronicles of the Sword. Seriously though, out of all of the characters I've fooled around with so far (just started the game), Nar' kicks the most butt.
waysofseeing
Dec. 21st, 2005 11:25 pm (UTC)
In a few days, I'm to go 24 hrs. without seeing, and I expect that to be a much more harrowing experience.

I dated a blind woman for awhile, and once underwent a bit of what the blind call 'sleepshade training,' which is what it sounds like: learning to live life with your eyes covered.

It's scary at first, but I actually found it wonderful. In some ways you become much more aware of your immediate surroundings, because you're so much more focused on what you can hear and smell. The rustle of a page, or a slight creak in the floorboards, or the rattle of a heater become major cues to your wider world. Your hearing doesn't get any better, but when you start to pay attention, you realize just how much you've been missing.

You can navigate most shopping malls by hearing and smell. Just memorize the locations of the escalators, Victoria's Secret, and Mrs. Field's Cookies.

I hope it's illuminating for you. And congrats on finishing the book!
mackatlaw
Dec. 22nd, 2005 04:14 am (UTC)
Going without speaking is something Zen does too -- I've tried sitting for a while but it's hard. Going without speaking was even harder, when I borrowed the idea or wound up doing it inadvertently. I've never been silent for a whole day, but I've gone for most of one. I find after a while, the mind calms down and enjoys the silence. But it does change the mind -- speaking becomes strange after a while, and I wouldn't want to live without speech, though I could see becoming used to it.

Going without sight for a while feels scary when I imagine it. Why are you doing it? To change consciousness for Solstice?

Mack
oxflop
Dec. 22nd, 2005 04:38 am (UTC)
silence
http://www.puresilence.org/a_tradition_of_silence.htm
setsuled
Dec. 22nd, 2005 07:00 am (UTC)
Maybe I should put it aside and write some Nebari fic, perhaps another script for setsuled. Something abysmally frigid, so cold it would make this day seem warm by comparison.

I'd be up for it.

I was watching Touching the Void a week or so ago, and that movie had some beautiful, very ominous shots of an ice crevasse in the Andes--it's a true story about a mountain climber who fell into one after breaking his leg. His recounting of the night he spent in there is fascinating. And just watching that movie might make you feel warm by comparison.
styggian
Dec. 22nd, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC)
The ID ruling and the putting down of the "Patriot" Act gives me a bit of hope.
( 11 comments — Have your say! )