Slippage in my personal use is about losing track. Time. Lists. Progress.
Slippage is heavy when I’m writing. Clocks disappear from my LOS when I don the writing hat. I’m in that other world. Following characters. Contact tracing cause and effect. Studying dialogue. Typing, typing, typing, typing. Surprise overcomes me when I discover that I’ve been at it for an hour or two. My ass is sore. Numb. Coffee gone or cold. I’m hungry. Writing usurps everything. I feel satisfied when I’m done. And starving to do more. But other matters call.
Because I have lists. Tasks. Chores. Necessary Actions for Modern Life. Balancing accounts. Paying bills. Buying food. Cleaning litter boxes. Talking to people. Socializing. It’s all so draining. Give me the damn keyboard and leave me alone.
I tend to avoid writing long posts for these reasons. Keep it short and simple. Use energy for longer stuff for my writing projects.
I feel like I’m suffering from low energy. Might have to do with the smoky situation outside. I peer outside the window and catch the sunshine and blue sky and become happy. Look forward to a walk. An hour later, the smoke has closed its tentacles on the street. Blizzard-like visibility develops. Step outside. Smell the stench. Feel the nostrils sting. The sinus headache begins. Eyes dry out. Energy fizzles. Spirit implodes.
Could also have to do with COVID-19. We — our county — is one of the nation’s hotspots. As prominent anti-vaxxers and mask deniers sicken and die with COVID-19, my county’s citizens continue protesting. Masks are not effective, they claim. COVID-19 is not serious in their estimation. The vaccine can’t be trusted. These positions make going to the stores or anywhere else a daunting effort. We mask. Others don’t. Stores don’t enforce masks. They know they’re impotent against the unmasks’ illogical, contrarian positions. Wearying is an understatement.
Beyond writing, struggling to do the things expected to keep the house and body clean and neat, and the modern demands of being responsible, I spend time reading. Finished Klara and the Sun(Kazuo Ishiguro) last week. I really enjoyed it. Loved the simplicity. The straightforward minimalism. Handed it off to my wife. She took it up and gave me the book she’d finished: The Mirror & The Light (Hilary Mantel). The styles between the books are so different. As are the stories being told. One is futuristic, science fiction. The other is historical fiction. Each are greatly entertaining. My wife wasn’t as fond of Klara as I was. Too much minimalism for her.
Reading The Mirror & The Light keeps calling me back to C.J. Sansom and his Mathew Shardlake series. Not surprising in retrospect. Both cover the same English period from similar points of view. In many ways, it’s just like picking up two books of any other genre and reading and comparing them. Of course, that’s one reason why I like Lincoln in the Bardo so much or The Underground Railroad. Hard to find books that compare favorably with them. Likewise, how Louise Erdrich is able to tell stories with elegant prose and yet be gritty always amazes me. For crazy story-telling along the lines of ‘look-what-you-can-get-away-with’, I look to Lincoln & Childs and their Pendergast series.
I’m also an information junkie. We subscribe to the NY Times and several other online periodicals. I must always be aware of time while pursuing information. It isn’t enough to just read their articles; no, I must find other opinions and sources to vet what’s being put out there. Then, of course, there are a dozen bloggers who I enjoy following. Always must track them and their latest.
I have three cats. All ‘rescues’ or strays. Came to me for a visit and stayed for a life. Tried finding their people. In one case, Papi (our ginger tabby), we knew who the owners were. They left him behind when they moved. Deliberately. Cocksuckers.
Boo, though, is problematic. Don’t know what went on in his past but it left mental and emotional scarring. Arthritis affects him. PTSD, too. Anything new – smell, sound, visitors, anything – sends him into a frenzy. He snarls and hisses at our other cats. His coat is matted. Embarrassing. Sure it’s not comfortable nor healthy for him. But we’ve only reached the point that he can be petted without hissing or snapping at us. Slowly introducing him to a brush. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Yet, he seeks me out. Sleeps against me. Comes to me for attention and food. Sleeps at my feet when I’m at my desk writing.
TC — Tucker Cat — meanwhile has matured wonderfully. Went from battling with Boo to gracefully indulging his needs. Walks around him without disturbing him. He, too, sleeps with me. Loves it when I sit down to read. Is beside my laptop now as I type. Where he frequently is during the day.
On my list of things to do is call my parents. They are divorced. Dad is remarried. Mom has a live-in fiancé . One lives in Pennsylvania. The other is in Texas. Both are retired with health issues. I worry about them constantly. They take appropriate precautions but still. You know, right? Yeah, you get it.
My wife’s health also worries me. She’s suffered from RA for over twenty years. Wasn’t originally diagnosed, of course. No, that required over a decade of treatments, blood tests, imaging, and doctor visits. She loves exercising and dancing. She’s suffering a flare that’s truncated her ability to do those things. It also gives her foggy brain. She struggles to remember. Spell. Abstract concepts give her problems. So dismaying watching her decline. She’s more social than me. Since she can’t go out per usual (RA, smoke, COVID-19), I’m her conversation partner. I’m not particularly interested in socializing and conversing. Particularly when I’m writing. She’s become fond of Reddit streams such as Am I the Asshole and Facepalm. Feels compelled to share them with me. She’s also almost obsessive about local COVID-19 news and trends and must share them as well.
Circumstances have curtailed my walking routines. Had a long streak of averaging 11.3 miles per day. I woas driving toward twelve. Then COVID. Then, smoke. I sometimes mask and go for a walk but always preferred walking when I had concrete destinations. Coffee shops to write was my standard. I do miss those days. My average has declined to nine miles per day. Most of it is running in place in the house, which just is not as entertaining.
Enough of a break. Time to return to writing like crazy. But first, another cup of coffee, please. Black, of course. Cheers
The kale started growing again. We’d grown and harvested it. Well, my wife, really. I helped buy supplies. Provided extra hands as needed. The kale took off initially, then wilted under a combined attack – heat, insects, sun. Wife battled on, then clipped it back. Per her orders, I moved its planter off the patio. I put them in the bush’s shade. Matter of convenience. Surprise: the kale is back. Hasn’t been watered since harvest two plus weeks ago, so she began watering it. It seems to like that shady spot.
Tomatoes are doing well. Great to go out and pluck tomatoes as required. Ditto, the squash. Romaine is all gone, though. Sad face.
Did some wardrobe culling. My wife’s simplify switch suddenly turned on. Ergo, I am expected to participate. Out went five bags of clothing between her and me. Two bags of books. Book sellers aren’t buying. Those like Powell’s who buy wouldn’t accept these books. The books are too worn. A bag of shoes. Old blender.
Culling is a serious matter. Embarrassing, too. How much do I need? Well, I’m sixty-five. Things have been acquired for different eras and their needs. Much of it is from my suit and marketing days. Yes, wore suits. Did trade shows. Visited customer sites. Also required for when I returned to company headquarters. That was my U.S. Surgical Days. I worked in California. Headquarters was in Connecticut. Tyco acquired us. Talk about a crazy time. Yeah, time to get rid of those shirts. The ties were already gone. I left Tyco in 1999. Still did marketing work after that for a period for another startup involved with coping with peripheral and coronary chronic total occlusions. It was going under so I went on to Network ICE in 2000, where suits were no longer required.
Also departing my wardrobe were my jockstraps, sweat bands, and racquetball gloves. Haven’t played in two decades. There it all was, buried at the drawer’s bottom, waiting for daylight.
Purged underwear, too. I had enough underwear, I found, to go without washing them for fifty days. Why so many? Well, a large number was undies which no longer fit. Good-bye, I told them. Blew them a kiss. Now I have enough for twenty days. Don’t judge me. I judge myself enough for all of us.
Ten belts were surrendered. All leather. Browns, tans, blacks, burgundy. Tested first. I could see where I wore them. What holes were utilized. Usually the third or fourth. The test today was that the belt must reach at least the second hole. The results amazed me. I generally couldn’t get the tip to the buckle. I had no idea that leather would shrink so much. Only four belts now remain. Black, brown, fancy, and plain.
Catching up on the wildfire news in the U.S. west. Bootleg Fire still burns. Sixty percent contained. 420,000 acres. Drought is spreading. Deepening. Lightning strikes are causing more fires. I turn to other world news. Move beyond the Olympics. Past the spiking — again — COVID-19 numbers. Past the tales of regretful vaccine hesitant folks who are woke after suffering themselves or losing someone close. On to Europe, where Italy, Greece, and Turkey are evacuating tourists due to wildfires. It’s a hot, hot, hot world, and it’s getting hotter.
Absorbing how much floofitude is on exhibit by a cat’s encounter with a spider or cob web. We have loads of them. Webs, that is, not cats. Just have three cats. Probably have so many webs because we have a strict no-kill spider policy. It’s an unending chore cleaning webs out of corners and from ceilings, walls, patio, porch, and garage. Spiders love throwing up webs. I opened the living room patio door this morning. Stepped out. Breathed in. Considered the browning landscape. Then turned to return inside. Walked straight into a web. Some spider must have seen the door open and hurried a dragline across there.
The cats have different reactions to webs. Papi, aka Youngblood, the Ginger Blade, and Meep, is the youngest and most graceful. When he encounters a web, he immediately backs away and goes around it. Boo, our large-size bedroom panther with the small velvet paws, hurries through the web while shaking his head. Tucker, the big black and white alpha cat, stops, shakes his head, washes, and then shoulders on. I’ve witnessed this several times over the months — seriously, the number of webs and how quickly they emerge staggers me — spiders are productive little critters — and I’m certain about my assessment on the cats’ behavior.
Writing has been entertaining. Yes, that’s the term I’ll employ. Absorbing will work as well. I’ve gone surprising places with the story. Then pause as I think, oh, WTF, and ponder the direction. I keep telling myself, just get out of your own way, fool. Don’t overthink anything. Just write. That works. Just need to hurdle myself. An interesting noir style has emerged. So I have a science fiction mystery thriller noir going.
Got my coffee. The day’s second cup. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time. Then I’ll go clean off spider webs. Cheers