After seven hours of work, I decided that I needed to finish the jacket that I had been working on. And for whatever reason, I just couldn't ease my sleeve into the armscye. I'd gather it a little more, there would be too much fabric on the body of the jacket. I'd let out some of the gathering, there was suddenly too little space for the sleeve. I couldn't figure it out. At one point, I brought it over to someone else and told them, "I can't do this." They took a look at it and told me they couldn't either. Well, this didn't alleviate any of my feelings.
And that was when the wolves came out of the woods. Surrounding me again, those old thoughts of worthlessness, of failure. Of how this was indication that I was too much of a failure to deserve to live. Of how I was never going to accomplish anything in my life. That I had no future. Things escalated from there, as I couldn't control tears while trying to pin the sleeve onto the jacket. My hands were shaking every time I picked up my garment.
However, I did get it sewn on. It looks horrible, none of the seams match. But it's on. I've been told many a time that no one will notice my mistakes. That doesn't help at all, because I see them. Many of my garments receive a lot of praise from people and when I tell them, "Yeah, but I messed up a bunch here, here, and here," they look at me like I'm crazy. (Well, they'd be right there.) This is the same way I am with my writing. If I write one sentence I don't approve of, I fall apart. It's something I need counseling on, I know. And I'm trying, but I'm not there yet.
I was in an emotional maelstrom last night. My head was throbbing. And the one thing that consoled me was when I saw my cat's head peek into my room. Bentley ended up curling next to me, purring loudly. As I pet him, the aching in my head began to disappear. It's at these moments that I think I'm so glad he picked me at the cat adoption center, that he hissed at any other cat that came my way.
I've been reading Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive and I'm finding that I like it significantly less than I did Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon. It may be because Haig's book is more about his experience than the topic of depression and that he focuses more on getting better, hope. Whereas Solomon's book is more about the bleak reality that you will have to live with your depression and to seek vitality. Strangely, it's the bleaker message that is more uplifting to me. Perhaps because it feels more honest than being told that I will get better, that there are people out there who love me. These seem like hollow words. This may be due to the writing style as well - Solomon wrote with poignant honesty while Haig writes with a sense of humor. And humor is necessary in the sport of depression, but I feel as though his attempts to steer the book into a more positive light take away from that gallows humor.
This is me medicated with a meltdown as well (they happened way more frequently in the past). I think if I hadn't read Solomon's book, I'd think there was something wrong with me, that I was supposed to be better than that by now. But there's no cure for depression. I just have to learn to forgive myself. Pet my cat. Go along my day.
But it's even difficult to do that. I thought that the social anxiety would be my biggest problem in life. That has been pretty difficult, I won't lie. But depression has integrated itself into my way of thinking. Into my life views. And I have to somehow live with that.
I really don't know why I came here. I really don't know why I'm staying here. I am walking the cow.
I'm not sure why, but the lyrics to Daniel Johnston's Walking the Cow always touches me. This is true of many of Johnston's lyrics, and perhaps he writes about something that is a little too familiar for me.
Am I on the verge of a really big breakthrough or just another meltdown? I've been looking for my friend, she became an ocean Just to watch me drown.
I can't begin to tell you how in love I am with Of Montreal's Innocence Reaches. Having time with it has made me grow fonder. Kevin Barnes writes lyrics that sneak under my radar, until I'm singing them and I realize, wait. I too constantly feel like I'm on the verge of a really big breakthrough or another meltdown. Also, Barnes is the only person who would ever mention Antonin Artaud in his lyrics.
The desire to possess her as a wound.
I finally own Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' From Her to Eternity. I know, I could have purchased it at any time, but I kept telling myself I wanted the whole album physically. Physical ownership is important when it's an item I really enjoy. But I bought it online. Now I can pretend I'm in a Berlin nightclub in the 80's, looking for an acrobat I've been dreaming about whenever I listen to it.
He was sixteen and he had mistaken her for a teenager.
I had a dream last night. It's not so often that I have vivid dreams these days. Or at least, I don't remember them as well as I used to. But this dream came to me and I'm starting to think that it may be a story in disguise.
There is a woman (Beth). She is 25 and working at a supermarket. She can't fathom a future for herself. There is a boy (Ari, though that seems to be my stand-in name for all new male characters). He is sixteen, assertive, dominant. He knows exactly what he's going to do in life. They meet and start a relationship.
It's not long before everyone in Beth's family knows. Nor is it very long before everyone in Ari's family knows. And then, Beth is given the offer to travel through time. Not much can change in 9 years, right?
It's strange for me to have a story like this pop up in my head. There are no animate walls, growing arms. Beth's very skin isn't revolting against her. No one is seeing images of a double, hallucinated life. And there isn't an outside narrator who views these characters as specimen to deride rather than human beings. And I hate time travel. In fiction, anyway.
It's an odd story for me. But I'm going along with it.
It feels as though I can only do creative endeavors obsessively.
All I can think about right now is sewing. I prep myself by looking at fabric on websites, researching patterns, trying to discover what it is that I can do with this costume. I'm bored by most of the patterns offered by the Big 5 (why do you have 5 million patterns for the same shirt dress?) - Vogue being the occasional surprise, if there's a pattern by Issey Miyake, Koos van der Akker, or Marcy Tilton. With Simplicity, the only line I seem to care for anymore is the Cynthia Rowley one. And that was when I stumbled across the Pattern Magic books and had the crazy thought of, "I could do that."
The important thing that I'm learning through sewing is, if I put my mind to it, I can do just about anything. Sewing-wise. Maybe even writing-wise. I was working on the skirt's facing and I realized, trying to sew the seams to the facing, that there was too much bulk to go through my sewing machine. I panicked. A little. Maybe not a little. Then, I took a break from sewing. And when I came back, I thought what if I use the plastic foot rather than the metal foot? And what if I fiddle with the stitch length? It worked. I had to hand-crank my machine over some parts, but it worked. Perhaps the best cure for writer's block is to just get down to it and sew.
So. I've finished the pleated skirt with the Italian wool I purchased from Mood and am pleased to report that it hasn't felt scratchy at all while wearing it. In fact, it's quite smooth. I'm almost finished with the red leggings/pants/legging-pants. The fabric is a bit obnoxious, but the fit is great. Bentley even helped me sew by plopping on my fabric and held it still while I pinned. His intention most likely wasn't to help - more likely to get my attention. As I've learned through Instagram, apparently cats love to "help" while you sew. Who could resist sleeping on fabric? However, Bentley's favorite game is to pull the pins out of my fabric. Ah, my little gremlin. (Not to worry, I supervise him like a brooding gargoyle whenever he's near my sewing space.)
I just need to finish the pants, the alterations on the pattern for the blazer, and . . . I haven't even started on the hoodie or the pattern for said garment. I keep thinking, it'll be easy, right? Right? Also, my wig came in and my plain mask should be coming in soon. My sister is very good at altering papier mache, so she's going to cut it, fill it in, and paint it.
I think everything's going as planned and on time. Even if it isn't, I'll say it is. Everything's going well.
This weather is the death of moisture. As if California hadn't been beaten senseless the past few years with a drought, now the Santa Ana winds have come rolling back in. I comb my hair and I see it rise slowly, crackling - my hair is thick, dense. Not easily laden with static. My skin weeps while my eyes are too dry for fake tears.
I saw some fabric that I desperately wanted to own - the print akin to astral vaginal wisps in gray, white, purple, and an odd pink. It was viscose, a luxurious fabric I've never worked on before. It was also from the U.K. and while I'm usually willing to pay a hefty price for the fabric I need in my life, the thought of paying double a yard made my chest clench. This is always how I have calculated the rate of exchange for lbs. Double the dollar.
But seeing as I really wanted this fabric, I decided to hunt down a currency translator. You can imagine my surprise when this 17.00 lb fabric became $13.00. It seemed absurd, it seemed Canada currency loony. And then I remembered: Brexit. Oh, England. Has your lb already plummeted so low? Allow me to profit off of your bad decisions based off of racism and hate. I know, I shouldn't be laughing. We have a presidential candidate who actually has backing and is the face of racism and hate. I laugh to hide my fear.
I've been reading Vanessa Veselka's Zazen and in it, I've found a character I can completely identify with. Everything about Della is familiar to me. Reading her perspective has made many a bad mood day better. The absurdity of the world is familiar.
I'm going to have my picture taken to document my signed fealty to the state. I want to look as soulless as possible. So that when people glance at my picture, they will know better than to take my hand and profess their fascination with my green eyes (not green, grey and that's just a variant of blue).
Socializing is all just a game of learning who to attract and who to repulse, I guess.
Because it's been a long time, and I've seen a lot of movies in the past few months. Also, this was something I really enjoyed doing here.
This is a few off of my list! Hopefully, I'll write about all the others soon. Also, I saw Fight Club for the very first time and 1. where has this film been all my life? And 2. I hope to write something longer on it. Another exceptional film I saw recently was The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
He had throat and liver cancer. Everything was going well with his treatment and then everything wasn't going well. The last few times I had seen him, he held me closely when he hugged and kissed me on the crown of my head.
The worst thing to say is that we all saw it coming. When I was first told that he had cancer, I immediately knew it was a death sentence and was so overcome with grief that I could barely function for a while. But he seemed to be getting better. I wrote the fear up to anxiety.
The general consensus is that if you've dealt with grief constantly, then you're better prepared for it. I've been to six funerals in my life and one wedding. Funerals are more familiar to me than happy celebrations - in fact, I feel uncomfortable in those situations. But it doesn't make me any better equipped for death. Being aware of what one goes through in these times makes grief even worse. I know what will happen. I'll forget the pain over time. I'll forget so much of it that I'll begin to forget his face. And soon, I'll need a photograph to remember what he looked like. And the loss will bury itself deeply, bringing itself out only in glimpses to remind me.
My uncle convinced me that he was the strongest man in the world. He dressed up as Captain America every Halloween. As a child, when he would hug me, I would feel the bristling roughness of his stubble, smell the wine off of him immediately. He would dress up as Santa Claus every Christmas and hand out presents. He cut my grandmother's hair with exact precision when she was too far gone with Alzheimer's. He always had a camera in hand, always documenting our existence as a family. He was a charitable human being from the time he was a child, someone who his students would refer to as their "school dad."
You're probably sick of these link-up thingies that ask questions and what not about novels and characters and such. But when I come home and I'm exhausted, they appeal greatly to me. I'm trying to formulate someway to write about X II - the difficulty is that not much happens other than the same, if the same means showing off mutilated bodies and rambling on about the end of the world (to which Kamui responds to with meh). I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.
So here's this link-up in which the prompt is to write 20 things about a character. I chose Madison.
Apologies for not being around much, I've been working on my costume which will consist of 4 (that's right, 4; I'm insane) sewn garments. It's a character from a video game that will be released in the future and if you know me, you probably already know which video game this is.
I've also been really enamored with the books I'm reading currently, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes and At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell. Bakewell's novel is on the existentialists, with a bit of information on the proto-existentialists and the phenomonologists. Because there would be no Sartre without Husserl and there would be no Husserl without Dostoyevsky. And the effect of the existentialists is followed up to Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright. The thoughts of these brilliant thinkers is fascinating, but the history is even more gripping. Learning how Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre survived in occupied France. Even the small facts, that when the Sorbonne opened up their philosophy test to women in 1927, the students who earned the top two scores were Simone Weil and Simone de Beauvoir. Maurice Merleau-Ponty came in third, but he met de Beauvoir out of it! And Martin Heidegger is a strange figure in philosophical history.
Anyway, the real reason I'm here is to blow off steam by writing about one of my characters again with one of those thingies that is hosted by this site. Ten questions, one character, go. So here's some more on my phlegmatic wonder, Eel.
Collecting is an art form. I collect books, film, music, quotes, screen captures . . . it doesn't matter what it is. The weirder, the better. On one hand, this could be a note on my consumerist nature, raised in America where money is king. But I think collecting objects is a very base human drive. We derive comfort from our things. They remind us of our identity, who we are, who we were because of our purchases. And this comes for me at a time when I'm not entirely sure who I am. It's good to have companions like Blue Eyes, Black Hair, Fantastic Planet, and If on a winter's night a traveler surround you at this time.
I am a collector of the weird and surreal. Titles like A Phenomenology of the Uncanny, Epistemology of the Closet, The Dialectics of Seeing, The Automatic Message (anything with "automatic" actually), Species of Spaces, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (a personal favorite title), Topology of a Phantom City, and The Abyss of Human Illusion attract me greatly. I'd love to own books or more books by Gilles Deleuze, David Ohle, Samuel Delany, Susan Medina, Susan Howe, Denis Johnson, Walter Benjamin, Rem Koolhaas, Jorge Luis Borges, Angela Carter, Anna Kavan, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, Lya Luft, Christine Brooke-Rose, Herve Guibert, Jean Cocteau, Italo Calvino, Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Georges Perec, Cees Nooteboom, Antonin Artaud, Fernando Pessoa . . . I thrive on lists about writers you've never heard of. Like Julien Gracq.
My criteria in most book stores and libraries is, if I've never heard of the author, let's give it a chance. This leads to precarious circumstances in which most of these adventures end in disappointment or boredom. But there's always the hope for that rare encounter.
In a culture where we're surrounded by the same names, the same books, the same films at all times, it's liberating to cultivate your own collection. One of the first steps I took in that direction was to start shopping at used bookstores. I started to realize, early on, that commercial bookstores were usually stocked only with what they expected to sell. Used bookstores are a surprise grab-bag. I couldn't contain my joy when I found Jun'Ichirou Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows lounging about my local used bookstore. And I guess that's the joy, that these things prompt so much happiness and excitement, as if I've found buried treasure. Now I'm trying to cultivate a collection of weirdness at my local library.
I've been considering this greatly lately - this concept of weirdness, of oddity. I can't help but think sometimes, "I'm such a freak." A conversation about films went out of hand and before I knew it, I was giving a whole history of Nouvelle Vague to a co-worker and I had that thought of, "Why am I such a freak for film?" Weirdness is entirely relative. I've had "weird" authors recommended to me only to find them incredibly conventional. I've been trying to read Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warnings and the only thing it has triggered in me is boredom. It's not just a weird subject that's exciting - it's a weird writing structure. I keep thinking back to how excited I was to read Blue Eyes, Black Hair when I first received it and how it did not disappoint. There are some lines from that book that I hold sacred.
That's the oddity of it. To love. And not love for another human being, but an inanimate object. To love the intangible.