It Was Late, Or It Was Early (And This Was Written Without Proper Care)

“What’s the matter?” said the voice.

It was 3am. It was dark.

“Oh, nothing,” I said. “I mean, where do you want to start? I was up at Midnight, and I have no idea why that’s happening now, it’s only about two hours after I go to sleep, and now I’m up again. This time it’s because the dog just got up and if you’re awake you have to get up with her in case she needs to go outside for a toilet break. Actually that’s not the reason I got up. I got up because I was already up. It feels like I’m always awake. Being awake meant I could follow the dog out of the room and down the hall and open the door for her. In fact, it isn’t just the feeling of being always awake: I really am awake for far too long each day. My sleep is better in some ways than it used to be. I take Valerian, like Proust’s narrator, and that helps me go to sleep, very well thank you, and thinking about it is making me anxious that going to sleep will become difficult the way it used to be, all over again, that I’ll somehow develop an immunity to Valerian or something, but that probably won’t happen and my fingers are literally crossed (I never used to do that), but I am never awoken by my alarm. It wakes me up about five times a year. This is a sign of stress or anxiety or something like that – I’m sure I read that somewhere – and I can’t even sleep in on the weekend. The only time any true rest is possible is when there is no work the next day and no activity of any kind is planned, and preferably no activity is planned for the day after either. So there’s being tired and having eyes like burning little embers inside your head and feeling generally irritated both physically and emotionally. And there’s the sense of frustration that life should be better, and although it probably is pretty good, and there is such spiritual fulfilment available as to make a person centred and satisfied and peaceful in so many ways there is still lingering pressure from other sources to like certain things and do certain things just because other people like them and do them and I haven’t seen the prequel Star Wars films, and I feel like there is no gap in my life because of that fact, and even fans admit that there are crap features of some or all of them, and I also have not seen a Harry Potter film or read a Harry Potter book and have not seen a Lord of the Rings book and have only read the first of the books and didn’t really feel like it was for me, which isn’t the same thing as doubting it’s quality, it just didn’t push my buttons because although imaginatively splendid and a truly awesome achievement I don’t really respond to stories like that and thought the writing wasn’t terribly distinguished, and I have watched the first two episodes of Game of Thrones and although I enjoy the prospect of regular sex and violence at any time, and specifically enjoyed them in these episodes, it wasn’t for me either. I don’t think I’ll be watching any more. It’s a shame. People I respect all love the show and it is well acted and written and directed – there’s nothing wrong with it, it just doesn’t appeal to me as much as it does to others. Perhaps it doesn’t really appeal to me at all. And I wonder if I only know of certain Australian literary magazines because I’d like to be published in them, I haven’t forgotten the article about this very topic which sparked such a debate earlier this year[1], and if that’s true, which it may be, does it make me a bad person? You need to be published somewhere. That’s how you start. You need to be published to get published. It helps if you know people. I used to read the Atlantic and The New Yorker and The Paris Review (interviews) and the London and New York Review of Books and one or two others, and the idea of being published in any of those did appeal to me, a great deal, and I knew of Meanjin and a few like it, but if wanting to get published means you get a taste and then become a reader then is that so bad? Perhaps. And do I read enough? Probably not. I am constantly reading but it seems impossible to read what I want to read and there is no time to keep up with and read new works when there are so many classic older works to be read and re-read although I should try harder I suppose. And I certainly don’t read enough Australian fiction[2]. You should read widely the works of the people you want one day to publish something you’ve written, if you ever get around to writing anything, shouldn’t you? Yes, of course. But there doesn’t seem to be time. Where should you start? Somewhere would be good. OK. This is becoming an argument with my guilty writer’s conscience. I should go to bed.”

That’s the way it might have sounded if I’d said everything on my mind at the time. I would have added something about a person who used to be very close to me who is putting increasing distance between us when all I wanted to do was help. I’d have added many more things besides.

And actually I didn’t say any of that.

I said: “Oh nothing. It’s just 3am and I’m fucking tired and I don’t want to be awake any more and …”


[2] Read a fascinating, and a bit depressing ,recent blog post on this topic here: http://wordpress.com/read/post/id/42697519/793/

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Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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