aesmael: (nervous)
For a while I have been thinking about the fact the people I am emotionally close to are rather geographically dispersed, and do not seem inclined to address this error for my convenience. And it is long since I gave up my ambitions of selling my stories and being a 'successful' author. The odds are against anyone who tries, and I think the sorts of stories I want to write are not so much those liked by the science fiction or fantasy markets anyway[1].

I'm thinking more about trying to make some money from my writing in the future because it would help to have a source of income that doesn't tie me down from spending time with people I love. I can't yet write anything worth being paid for, but I'm practising again and maybe I will get there. These days even if I can't or don't sell to a traditional market there are other options, such as setting up a patreon or similar - assuming I show myself well enough that enough people like what I do enough to put some money into one. That is a lot of enough, and no guarantee it can be done even if I do improve my skill a lot and manage to produce stories on a regular basis. But if I could, even if it were not much, it might help.

I also write smut stories as well as adventure stories, and wonder whether I would be best served, or if it is even practically doable, to make those into distinct identities with their own subscribers. I don't know whether those audience-support sites let you split your work like that, but I do worry there wouldn't be much crossover in audience interest, and that the one might complicate the other. And on the topic of potential complications, I've been more interested in writing fan-fiction works the past few years but I suspect it would be inadvisable to take money for writing any such thing, so I might have to do those 'off the clock' or twist the inspirations into something I needn't worry about making available.

We'll see after I'm done with school, whether any of this can go somewhere or if it is just idle dreaming. In the meanwhile, practise and get better.

[1] Plus, and don't tell this to all the world but, they are so far not very good or interesting either.
aesmael: (writing things down)
Don't know how long I can keep this up. I'm lonely still and could expect to be for a long time to come. Wishing I had people of approximately similar timezone so I wasn't having to choose between doing things and company. Or even could have both at once?

This hurts. Everything hurts. Just gotta choose from a selection of pain? I wanted to escape watching people and being wounded by seeing them have happinesses I have not been able to have. I wanted to stop feeling worthless for what I lack, by ceasing that exposure and by seeking something of my own.

Well. I haven't been able to chase anything because I've been at work; this is my one day off out of a ten-day span so I'm just existing. And still obsessing. Maybe I just need longer to get out of it.

It hurts less, I'm sure, but I still want to tear my throat out in strips. Or feel compelled to. I don't know if I can tell the difference between desires and urges. It feels like the revolutionary, the device which was used to kill Thecla in The Shadow of the Torturer. Since first reading that I always felt it to be a good literalisation of the desire, the compulsion to destroy oneself. When one has to fight continually the subconscious motions of one's hands to do damage, to be wary of what one touches and how it might be used. But I have hope, and fear to guard me.

I realise I am going to give this up, to go back. I say it is because I am weak and maybe that is true but I just do not know. I do not understand myself. Almost I am a passenger observing this vessel. I can know sometimes what it is going to do before I consciously come to the actual decision, but the inner workings are opaque to me.

Why should I work so hard to preserve a resolution which was come to in a state of greater suffering? Was it not to hurt myself? And thereby in keeping to it am not persisting in hurting myself further? But I still believe there was wisdom in that pain and if only I could bring myself to escape, to work hard and to find something I want, to pursue it and to do and to be, and to find friendships that are not so lonely.

I don't know, I don't know, and I don't know.

It isn't going to work. Should have acknowledged that from the beginning. I am weak; I am not sufficiently driven. That is how I came to be here.

I remain confused. I don't know how to end this. Still clouded. Perhaps it was all a trick, to succeed in driving people away and leave me wanting them still. I don't know what to do. Should I go back? Keep going? Am sure that I will go back because that is what I feel in my future and have felt the whole time. Which means it was all for nothing.

I must find something. I must find something. Unfortunately I have never been real. Perhaps I cannot become real.

Perhaps if I turn to the logic of stories and tell myself that, had it been the right decision, I would have felt a clarity and a lightness. Maybe I even did at the start? Who knows - the past is a mystery. But I cannot solve myself.

At least I haven't lashed out at anyone this time. Vaguely I remember years back making an incoherent rant on my journal and cutting most people out. I think that happened; I've carried the memory a long while. Which I have refused to acknowledge - despite its whispering at the edges - that this is a cyclic collapse, despair and isolation. I should remember that I have done this even in the home of those I have pledged to marry, and it does no good. Perhaps next time I will.

But then how can I get better? How can I make it stop hurting? Just have to endure this every time? That is a dreadful prospect. At least I remain functional. But I will never... perhaps just have to last long enough to move... but no. I just established that even in a household of people who love me, and who I love, still I shred myself so.

Maybe I need to allocate more time to the therapist voice that has recently emerged, listen to her / em. Maybe I need a chemical solution. Maybe I need to- but no, we don't listen to that voice if we can help it.

aesmael: (transformation)
I don't want to be writing or posting any thing but I suppose I ought to because big and complicated things are happening and I do not understand. And because a journal is supposed to be at least in part a record of one's self and past in its significances and insignificances. Or so I would wish mine to be though for a long time it has been dreadfully sparse.

Today was complicated and busy, but not as much as I had intended it to be. Studying in the morning, short work shift before training - a formality of a shift in order to be present and paid for the training. Think most of the marks on my arms are gone now - had to dig in with nails a bit to keep focused, was surprised they lasted at all that long. Had to keep backing off after deciding to experiment with drawing blood because I lacked the courage for that much of that pain, so I expected them to be gone after a few minutes. I should have been satisfied with distracting myself into focus because now am disappointed by not being able to follow through.

Collected a package I had ordered, a gift for my sister. Filed the paperwork to get my name changed. I don't know what I am doing with that. Felt sick. Wondering. Why am I doing this? Is it right? I feel like I never analyse possible actions and come to conclusions, I just act. Without clear head or heart. When it gets back I will put it through to get my passport and driver licence, etc. updated. I don't understand what I am doing. I don't understand why. I'm just going to keep going because I am terrified of death and not living. Felt sick to be giving up my birth certificate

I feel very confused. Not the sort of thing one should be saying, for fear it would be used against, but that is not relevant. I just don't know what I am or what I want. I have no particular skills, abilities, talents. So I don't know who I am.

Trying out withdrawing from people so I have space for school, space to work on myself. Maybe get to be someone? Maybe I could learn some skills, get good at something. Learn how to exist as a person. If I can manage school maybe even try and meet some local people.

I see people having and being things I wish I could have, like social activities and identities and goals, and it hurts. It has been very difficult so far to cut off contact from the people I normally talk to, to avoid twitter. My habits are very entwined around that contact and I wish I had someone to talk things over with but my head feels quieter than it has for days, I think. Reduction in visions of killing myself (I think); I don't want to but it feels like I need to, like a pressure bearing down on me. But I don't want to and I won't. If I can hold firm then maybe I will be able to make something of myself, have something to bring back.

I don't like to leave people without explanation but I can't talk to them to explain because I know my weakness and that if we start talking I will keep talking and all my efforts will be undone. I will drift back into my social habits and lose all my days, all my focus that I am trying to capture. For now it is just dividing between works and leisure. Maybe I can keep that up. I hope so. It is hard and I want to go back to company even though that hurts too.

Everything hurts and there is no release. I remind myself that death is no freedom of pain, it is an absence of existing entirely. There will be no future lives, there will be no me to appreciate and feel that lightened relief and because I am terrified of nonexistence that helps. I have never been able to surrender my grip on this world or self so that is an anchoring incentive. There is a dangerous thought which says that is a lie planted to keep me from discovering I won't die, but will escape this world created to torment me, or have its truth revealed. But that is nonsense and anyway might be a bluff to goad me into the attempt. It is an idea to be disregarded.

I perhaps should delete the above paragraph if I am going to post this, although that may be difficult as words written have weight. But to post this has been partly the intent in writing, for as I said above I cannot talk to people without being undone. I must take care of myself but it would be cruel to abandon people without notice or information, and having realised this I must act in some way to inform or else am driving them to worry about me. I suppose they will still worry reading this, which cannot be helped from any true or even perhaps untrue account I would give, but at least with honest information people might be diverted from terrible imaginings.

I am okay. Am fairly sure the pain is less, although my thoughts still are not clear. But this is analogous to a detoxification period with many habits and recurrent topics of thought still pulling back on me. Very easy to fall back in, and I might end up doing so. It is a struggle and I have been so long without myself. I just don't know what I will do. I hope I will find something good. Something to be proud of.
aesmael: (nervous)
I do not mean a fearsome fire-breathing slayer of knights.

Rather, I mean a reclusive hoarding creature who is fond of wordplay.

“A burglar does not leave his shoeprint in the flowerbed in
order for police to find the print and prove the shoe was his. (Quite the
opposite, one suspects.) A document, such as a contract, email or a report,
was not created in order to provide historians with something to study a
century from now.”

Wanting to write a little post about this from my readings in class because interested by how it disrupts the sense I have built up for myself about how sentences and punctuation should work and be structured.

I think what bothers me mainly is that I do not regard a parenthesis as a sentence-ending marker while, although it can serve other purposes, a period does mark the end of a sentence. So I end up feeling like there are two sentences here:

  1. “A burglar does not leave his shoeprint in the flowerbed in order for police to find the print and prove the shoe was his.
  2. (Quite the opposite, one suspects.) A document, such as a contract, email or a report, was not created in order to provide historians with something to study a century from now.” 

I suppose from examining this I must also feel that most everything should be contained within sentences, as an alternative interpretation might be that

(Quite the opposite, one suspects.) 

is some sort of aside floating free of and not part of either the preceding or succeeding sentence. But I don’t like that either. If I were to rewrite this so that it ‘made sense’ to me, I would do it like so:

“A burglar does not leave his shoeprint in the flowerbed in
order for police to find the print and prove the shoe was his (quite the
opposite, one suspects). A document, such as a contract, email or a report,
was not created in order to provide historians with something to study a
century from now.” 

No period after his, lower case q in quite, period after the closing parenthesis instead of before. Now it reads to me as two separate, self-contained sentences that are not spilling over each other or otherwise provoking some sort of formatting error in my brain. Although this does not mean I am completely happy with the text itself, just that I no longer interpret it as typographically malformed - could try and remove the gendering of the hypothetical burglar, or try and edit the parenthetical into something requiring less implicit unpacking. At the moment, the first sentence and its parenthetical still pair in my mind to suggest intentionality on the part of the burglar, so if it was not left in order for police to find the print and prove identity, but was left for the opposite reason, the first interpretation is the burglar left the shoeprint intentionally in order not to be found or identified by the police - which I think we can agree is not the intended meaning of that parenthetical. Rather, I am sure we are intended to understand that, contrary to being left with the intention of being discovered and leading to capture, the burglar intended to leave no print and consequently to not be discovered. But that’s a whole different edition of Problems With Me Reading Things, and you’ll need to tune in another day for that one[1].

In case it was not clear, I want to emphasise that I do realise there is not an official set of rules of punctuation in English that everyone is required to abide by. I am talking about the idiosyncratic rules I have built up in my own mind that makes sense to me and which I strive to abide by, and how I get (hopefully amusingly) flustered when I encounter writing that does not abide by those self-set rules. I am capable of reading and making sense of considerably more disjointed or experimental expressions of English than the quoted example (although of course not infinitely so), but sometimes simple things like this throw me off and I get the urge to talk about them.

[1] I have no current intention of covering that topic.

aesmael: (tricicat)

Suspecting I don't fit with any sort of conscious queerness. Too mainstream of a person mayhaps, or some other thing doesn't fit.
Don't like the feeling that I ought to do the same sort of celebratoryness that I see others do. If I tell myself that, it is like telling myself I am an incomplete person without religion?

Feeling adrift and lost, like I don't have a home that I fit anywhere. Has led me to repeatedly wonder if the problem is that some function in my brain which would normally experience community and belongingness is not working right. Although I shouldn't dare claim immunity to associated sorts of social manipulations, as I strongly believe that's false.

It's been hurting more recently (or I think it has - one cannot always trust memory, and what feels like a crescendo of pain might actually just be one continuous chord the most of which has dropped out of awareness into the past) as if I feel like I should have found belonging and it is just not working right. That I think is an error on my part; if I don't fit I don't fit, and re-cutting a jigsaw piece to place on the board solves nothing.

I had a largeish post somewhat accidentally written about how I feel I do not belong with various communities, mainly autism and trans women, which I lost access to posting when my Windows partition decided it was tired of usually booting up correctly. I don't mean to rewrite it here; the gist is that I feel sufficiently unrepresented by the prevailing narratives and concerns as to make a qualitative difference and that although I may hold technical group membership I am sufficiently divorced from the problems so many face that it would be misleading to label and count myself among those numbers.

My suspicion is it would be better all over if I were to practice regarding only the details of immediate circumstance in whatever problem I may face. More precise, less prone to sending me off spinning like a great gyroscope of uncertain reality, and hopefully less liable to appropriation or minimisation of anyone else's life.
aesmael: (transformation)
Been reminded of, revived into. That wretched feeling when you[1] are a sort of feminine genderqueer type person and feeling good about yourself, only for some woman to catcall you in the street or make you uncomfortable while you’re at work. Because what she sees apparently some man to be made aware of her regard without consideration for whether it is appropriate or welcome.

Just cuts you right down to nothing, just like that. Anything you might be feeling good about yourself, all gone because someone wanted to use you to feel good about herself.

[1] By ‘you’ I mean ‘me’. But word-flow.
aesmael: (writing things down)
I feel like all the life and love was drained out of me long ago, and it hurts.
aesmael: (nervous)

First day without any deadline looming over my head in several months (okay, one) and of course I start it off by crying because I feel lonely.

Okay, okay, I started it off with a walk around the neighbourhood and breakfast, but then. Talked things over with one of my partners and feeling better about things for now. But since no actual circumstance is changed or readily able to be changed. So, still lonely.

Not sure there is anything to do for that unless I can somehow make some new friends. And I feel crowded enough in my life I'm not sure I even want to try and find space for more people.

One long term source of distress for me is feeling like I no longer have anything worth saying, that I can no longer contribute conversation. Partly this is probably due to my time nowadays being split between work and school and in the remainder am typically engaged in some low-effort relaxation like watching television or reading message boards, and making occasional remarks on what is going on there. Not that I think all conversation ought to be weighty and serious, but I suppose if I were able to put more focus into creative projects again I might again have more to say?

I miss myself.

aesmael: (nervous)

A thing which happens more than once is I find out at the last moment about major household stuff like impending modifications to the building or expected guests who must be prepared for, or some other such thing.

And it is distressing to me not only because unexpected impending disruption and not only because I feel I have been left out and no one saw fit to actually inform me of what was going on. But especially because when I say I did not know and have not the faintest stirring of memory on the matter, my family will insist I must have known and must have been informed, and if there is any defect of awareness it is mine.

I feel like my hold on reality is slim and my frequent fears of disconnection with the world be realised. But, if I can't trust my memory then, then what can I trust?

I don't know. I don't know.
aesmael: (nervous)
When I talk about media I am enjoying, such as in the previous post, I get worried people will think I am presenting myself as some sort of expert. Especially since my default voice tends to a sort of dry pseudo-academic.
Really, I am expert at very little, perhaps nothing. But I like liking things, I like talking about them, and trying to understand them and my reactions to them.
And, well. *lets out a large breath* Enjoying things is fun. At least as fun as getting grouchy about stuff and I love doing that.
Sooo. I’m scared of getting called out for claiming authority I don’t have. But really I am just trying to be a social person who likes some things and not likes others, and seeks understanding and is talky.
aesmael: (nervous)

Been about a month or so since I decided to quit Twitter. Took me about a week to get out of the habit of trying to check it whenever I had a moment's boredom. This did emphasise the loneliness I was already feeling with no one to talk to most of the time - I had been getting a whole lot of what social needs were met filled by friendly interactions on Twitter or even just watching people I liked doing their thing.

But it also freed up more time to waste doing other hollow things. Particularly not having to spend the 2+ hours each morning to catch up on overnight tweets every day (or, on certain workdays, only being finished catching up by bedtime). Despite the loneliness and despite not using it well I have liked having that space available again.

I don't know if I am able to participate on Twitter without committing myself to reading every tweet made by everyone I follow. For most of the past month the only tweets I have made were automated from Tumblr, or sharing from some other site without visiting Twitter itself; the only ones I have read were the mentions I received notifications for.

The past few days I have made some attempts at participating a bit more again, urged on by ami-angelwings‚Äč who said she missed me. Today I tried doing my morning catch-up again and it was a pretty miserable experience, souring my mood further and aside from that leaving me feeling I've wasted a lot of time I could have put to better use. I don't know if I will 'come back' or not, and I don't expect anyone to care, I'm just writing this because I'm able to at this time and I miss being able to write journal posts. I don't want to squander my voice when I have it lest I be filled with further regrets.

There we are.
aesmael: (haircut)
Put in my last assignment of the semester the night before last. Not best pleased with the job I did, but at least I got it done.

Now I have time to devote to other postponed life activities like enrolling in important school stuff before it is too late (hopefully it is not too late), seeking professional development opportunities and being prompt and organised for next semester's classes. Which are not showing up on the student portal yet, so I haven't yet failed on that one.

Also, making myself follow up on the offer of support services from the beginning of the semester, even though I have no idea what a disability accommodation that would actually help me might be.

Also also, entertainment stuff. Been aspiring to see more movies at the cinema and most of the recent ones I might see haven't stopped showing yet. Plus a series of concerts featuring Beethoven's piano concertos at the Opera House. I suspect these will exhaust my reserves for spending money on myself for a long while, but I've been looking forward to them for a year, so I suppose I had better try and go.

Feeling tired again just thinking about trying to do stuff.

I wrote a lot (for me) in April, but had to stop again through May because school and deadlines. Would like to do more of that again. Would be satisfying. Think there may have been more I wanted to ramble, but don't remember it now.

...

2014-03-22 23:25
aesmael: (haircut)
Feeling very stressed since I got back. I had been aspiring to get back to doing a lot of writing this year, but with school I've been feeling squeezed out. I don't have the spare mental capacity to work on the harder parts of writing, like planning or editing. I have tried to keep back the hour between 23:00 and 00:00 to myself but all I can manage is a sub-par stream of whatever comes to mind, and I write slowly at the best of times so it isn't much. I'm just hoping that later on I might be able to go back and clean up, salvage something, or at least that I might still be learning something from the process.

Around the middle of last year I started what I called a 'fast writing' story, aiming to do something of a sword and sorcery sort which did not require much work of me beyond the putting of fingers to keyboard, but I've still done nearly nothing of it past the initial burst of attention. But it is still almost the only project I can even think of continuing at the moment because it requires so little background work, and at least if I try it I can pretend to progress.

School itself may be too much for me. Even though I'm undertaking a part-time load - 2.5 classes this semester - I've only been able to focus my attention on one of those and I'm still behind on it. I am afraid that I will not be able to make a serious attempt on the first assignment for that class, let alone whatever is going on for the class I've not yet had looked at.

I am not doing well. I think I need to further curtail my activities (I've already cut out some very time-consuming things I used to make a habit of), but I need to make sure there is still room for some sort of fun self-reward or I know I will just check out.

Will see. Don't want to make dropping out of school any more of a trend for me than it already is.
aesmael: (nervous)

Having a sort of brain that responds to seeing someone enthusiastically enjoying the company of a beloved pet by thinking about the emotional devastation ey will suffer when that pet dies.

Because why would I want vicarious enjoyment of the happiness of others, apparently.

aesmael: (nervous)
  • [Me]:I'm scared of people. :(
  • [Me]:I want to be by myself where no one can get angry with me. But I don't want to be alone. Contradictory desires.
  • [Me]:Thinking about that... makes sense if I still don't see myself as an adult capable of seeing myself as on an equal footing with other adults. Seems like my way of processing interactions with other people is "they are the beings with power. I have to appease them or they will get angry with me and hurt me, physically and or emotionally".
aesmael: (haircut)

I don’t have to keep wanting ways of being or socialities which I know I would not like if I had them, but which I keep feeling I should want and strive for anyway.

aesmael: (nervous)

Had an assignment due at the end of last month. Got it in on time but since then I keep thinking of things I should have done and ways I should have presented it but of course that is all too late now.

Meanwhile I arrived in Minneapolis on Thursday, which is a different Thursday than I departed on. The flight was long and tiring, and complicated by the plane I was on departing and arriving late, meaning I most definitely missed my connection. Am lucky that got sorted by the airline and myself redirected at a two-stage flight here (instead of the direct one booked), as I was on the verge of tears and scared at what to do stranded in a foreign country far from anyone I knew and possibly out of contact with them all.

I did end up getting in contact with people, at least enough to let them know circumstances had changed and reassure that I was safe and all. Late night arrival instead of early evening.

Slept long and late, no surprise. Been perpetually tired and overloaded and probably socially overwhelmed since I have got here - frequently feeling like I need to or am about to cry. Imagine I’ve probably been snappish and difficult too.

Feel bad because I am here to be with people I love but maybe it is too much for me. Maybe I just cannot handle life.

Am looking forward to having quiet time tomorrow, hopefully I will not ruin it for myself by trying to do more than can be actually fit into a single day.

aesmael: (just people)

Think I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I dreaded going back to school. Not sure how much I posted of at the time. Ultimately I did withdraw from my units that semester, having decided my overall plan to get my bachelor's in astronomy and follow that up with a shorter librarianship qualification that depended on my having a bachelor's degree would take longer than I was willing to wait. I didn't and don't want to wait 4+ years to move and be with my loves. They've had to wait so long for me already.

So I decided to abandon my goal of finishing my astronomy degree - probably permanently since I wouldn't be able to afford school in the USA - and enrol in a bachelor's program that would get me a librarian qualification. That's still a gamble, as the American Library Association (ALA) makes no guarantee about accepting foreign qualifications as valid, but that would apply even if I attained a local master's.

Being my usual near-useless self I did not realise or decide this until past time for enrolling at the beginning of the school year, in summer. I then procrastinated in enrolling for the mid-year intake until late June, near when the session was due to start and technically after enrolments are cut off for anything with a mandatory residential unit. Which of course the course had. For some reason they took me anyway.

But that meant I had less than a week to secure accommodation in a strange city far from the coast of the state, as that aforementioned mandatory residential school occupied the first few days of July. Good thing all the course options were otherwise distance education - I don't know what I would have done if my only options for getting further qualified required moving and quitting my job.

At first I wanted to take the train there and back and enjoy the scenery until I found myself unable to book accommodation on campus. Having to get a room in town meant I would need to get around, to get to classes for the three day residential school if nothing else, so I decided to drive down instead despite that being a 4.5 hour sort of adventure for someone whose longest previous drive was up into the mountains.

I ended up at the urging of my loved ones contacting the school to ask if they could make arrangements for me on campus anyway, on the day before I'd have to set out (the school had taken its time getting back to me with my acceptance, so this delay was not all my own fault [except in the sense that I had caused it by being so late to apply]). When I didn't get a response in an hour, I booked a hotel room. Then they did get back to me and say they could indeed have made arrangements for me. I ended up getting the hotel booking cancelled and refunded - despite their stated policy of not doing that - and then getting in touch with the university again and asking them to make those arrangements they'd said they could make for me. This took up the bulk of the remainder of the day. Very stressful.

Here, have a post-fragment I wrote shortly after getting back:

I wanted to post updates from the residential school at the end of each day, but of course by the time evening came I felt more tired than willing to bestir myself. Now that I am back, I had better get something down while I still remember any of it... hopefully I do. Probably more of a trivial listing than anything else.

I drove down the day before classes were due to start (Tuesday), since that seemed a better choice than setting out at or after midnight and I'd only had arrangements secured the evening before.

First thing, learned how to check out various aspects of the car (oil, water) prior to a long drive. Second thing, got the tank filled with petrol and bought a packet of sweets and a couple of chocolate bars since in my experience that is what people do to aid alertness on long drives. I ended up eating the chocolate bars for lunch at a rest stop stocked with explicitly non-potable water and signs warning people to watch out for snakes, while finishing off a chapter of Michael J. Fox's autobiography Lucky Man.

Since the drive was so long I made sure to load my phone up with more than the usual number of podcasts to keep me entertained... fortunately the vast majority of the trip was on a single multi-hundred kilometre road, so I did not have to worry about it being interrupted by the navigator (except one opportune moment at the end). On the trip down I went through Part 1 of The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth; Episode 116 of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe; Episode 58: Inflation of Astronomy Cast; Point of Inquiry's interview with Barbara Oakley on Evil Genes; Episode 63 of Skepticality "Where Do We Go From Here?"; More Wacky Bible Stories from Logically Critical and finally The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Part 2.

That was perhaps an ominous soundscape to be arriving in town to, but somewhat satisfying for being a complete cycle of the list - not every podcast I'm subscribed to by a long shot, but all those that were active with subscription archives extending back to October 2007.

What I find especially interesting about compiling that list is that for writing or thinking of each item on the list a memory is triggered with, yes, traces of the content from that episode but more strongly a sense of the environment I was driving through at the time. Have found it often to be the case when I have cause to re-listen to something first heard while driving, that it strongly evokes that particular driving experience. Is fascinating.

But I arrived at the campus, found a car park, and stopped. The next thing I needed to do was locate the campus accommodation so I would have somewhere to sleep that night.

Sunset had begun when I pulled up. The nearby map did not actually show the residences so far as I could tell, although for a brief period I thought it might show where to check in (it did not). I pulled out the map I had brought with me, supplied in email alongside course-relevant material. That one was difficult to relate to the campus map on the sign but I set out optimistically with it.

So I'd parked on campus, got my bearings, and set out for the accommodation office. But I couldn't quite match the map to my surroundings. It was much farther than I thought. Got turned around and looped several times the same patch of ground. Didn't help that there was some large construction of student residences which it turned out were obstructing the ordinary path marked on the map. I ended up taking a long way round. I think it was an hour later and night falling when I stumbled on the residences. I was not sure, thanks to the path I had taken, that I hadn't wandered off the campus grounds and into a suburb.

Feeling a bit weak I scrounged some water and a pear (or maybe an apple) from my backpack. Found the office where I could sign in and find out where I would be staying, get keys etc. not much later. They didn't have my name in their register, I think, but found me a place to stay anyway and gave me the key along with another map.

So now I had to make my way back to my car, since all my clothes and etc. were in there. Tricky since it was dark out, there were no lights, and I didn't even know precisely how I'd managed to get where I was. Another long walk, essentially a circuit of the outer perimeter of the campus and I finally got there. I was really, really appreciating having all those podcasts loaded on my phone to listen to by then. Listening to an interview on epidemiology from six years previous makes tedious stumbling in the dark on strange roads a whole lot more bearable.

Found my car. Drove across campus to where I was staying, basically the exact far side, and parked a much more convenient distance away. Identified the correct place, hauled my stuff in and unpacked. Let my family know I'd arrived safely.

Next thing I needed was food. Think I'd packed a sandwich, which I ate then, but the last proper meal I'd had was breakfast and now it was after 18:00. Identified some food type places on one of the campus maps I had and set out for them. Took a bit of looking but I found them and they were closed. Walked back to my car and asked my phone to find me a grocery store in town, along with directions to same.

Bought myself a bowl, some spoons, a box of cereal, lactose free milk, a loaf of bread, some meat and cheese from their deli, mustard, and a bottle of cranberry juice because I like the taste. That is almost all of what I ate for the following three days.

Set up my connection with the campus internet, and sleep. Felt lonely.

Can't go into too much detail of the content of the classes because memory and distance and so forth. Lot of people from within the state, unsurprising. Lot of people from regional towns and cities, bit more surprising. They did that annoying thing for intros in which everyone is supposed to find a partner, talk to em for a bit, then do some public speaking to the group introducing one's conversational partner. Don't like it, believe acquitted self well however.

Met good people. Whether it is the class overall or just the set I ended up near, had good lunch break conversation touching on stuff like secularism, education, queer rights and other such stuff. It was reassuring.

The usual thing happened, where people seemed to swiftly form social groups and networking over those days and although some talked to me I just didn't know how to turn that into an ongoing connection. As usual I felt frustrated by this and blamed myself.

Various sessions, describing the structure and content of the course. I don't think I'd ever properly attended an orientation thing before. Usually I'm disorganised and fail at getting clued in right from the beginning. Still managed to get lost between sessions, almost lost my scarf at one point but backtracking saved the day.

Second evening had a social event after the classes (that's second evening of the actual residential school, so my third and I believe final evening there). That was where I had felt most isolated. Arrived there relatively early, got myself a table. Watching everyone in the room fit together in groups, seeming to know each other, and me not knowing how to say hello or if I would be welcome to. One woman from the class - from this semester's intake - did sit at the table with me, and with her family. We talked a bit, but not much. I didn't want to intrude on her or her family, nor know how to keep the conversation going. Probably I should have asked more questions; I tend to feel that if I ask questions I will be intrusive, but also suspect asking people about themselves is a relatively reliable strategy for getting to know them, and for propelling conversation.

Toward the end of the social / dinner, one of the most-local member of the intake group approached to talk to me along with his girlfriend. Found that conversation much easier, being both poly and having other interest spectra in common, and they liked when I put on the cat ears I keep in my backpack (they were a gift). I felt much more comfortable and reassured by having some people I could get along relatively easily with, although still a bit guarded (did not ultimately come out as trans when referred to as a guy by one of them, despite almost doing so, frex). Main purpose of coming over to talk was to invite me to their LARP group, I think, which I accepted and gave my email for contact.

Felt pretty happy for the end of the evening.

The final day I scrambled. A couple of minutes late turning in my keys for check-out, I think that ultimately saw me charged for an additional day's stay when it came time to reckon with the university. This I believe was the day when I did all that getting lost and confused between classes and nearly losing my scarf. Might have been the day before, not sure.

My boss called me after check-out while walking to the first session of that day, asking if I could come in for a shift, had to remind her I was still in another city. Gratifying to be reminded I was still in demand back home as a book-shuffler.

By the by, as determined on the first day, almost everyone in the intake group had a library technician qualification equivalent to mine, and thus the same credit points skipping the first year or two of the official programme. Almost all working in libraries too, and many in more senior and / or more responsible positions than I hold. Rather intimidating.

The last day was not a bad day, and somewhat light-hearted toward the end. I am a bit panicked, as I genuinely do not know which specialisation I ought or want to pursue. Fortunately have since worked out I do not necessarily have to choose right away, and can focus on pursuing the common element units of the course for the next year, before chasing and choosing a specialisation (or choosing not to specialise).

When we were released I set almost immediately to getting myself home. No reason to stick around, right? And it would be late evening when I got back.

First the car inspection checks I'd learned before heading there. Then, getting a petrol station located and the car filled up. And finally the actual heading home. Just because I did it for the outward bound segment, here's what I listened to for the homeward journey:

That was a bit sad for me, as Logically Critical had been one of the most entertaining podcasts to listen to and that was indeed its final episode, all the way back in 2007. Shall miss getting to hear new episodes of that one.

On the drive down, in daylight, I had periodically seen signs of roadkill. Perhaps a half-dozen corpses by the side of the road, but despite my alertness no sign of any creatures leaping into my path. On the drive back up, in the dark of night, I saw no such roadside remains. I assumed they were there but hidden in the dark and tried to remain especially alert in case I had to suddenly break for a wombat or wallaby. Fortunately again I did not.

My attempt on the drive down to stop at a rest stop had gone poorly. Misunderstanding the signs and ending up on the wrong track, with the trucks rather than the restaurant I'd ended up not stopping at all until I reached the other one where I had my lunch, the one that was just a rest stop and not a small roadside complex with petrol station and fast food restaurant. So I was pretty antsy on the drive back about where to attempt stopping, especially as I had no food left - I wanted to make sure to stop at a place that sold food so I could have dinner on my way up. I think I only saw one such on my journey after the first hour or so. Not sure now why I didn't stop there, think maybe I was uncertain of where exactly was the turn-off, not confident enough to make the attempt. So I ended up driving the four and a half hours back continuous.

Awkwardly there wasn't so much food available when I finally got back home either, though I managed to scrounge something together. Did continue what has seemingly become a tradition, contributing to the household stock of cutlery and crockery whenever I am away from home for a few days.

aesmael: (tricicat)

I keep trying to write posts about stuff I have been up to and then losing momentum and stalling out with them half-complete. So this time I'm going to try and write a quick run-down of stuff significant enough for me to still remember it from this year.

(why do this? because for some reason I've got it stuck in my head that I've got write up to date with what I've been up to before I can post any other stuff I've got that I want to write and say)

Way back in February I got my eye caught by an ad in the paper about a concert at the opera house that I wanted to see. Ultimately ended up buying tickets to see three, two of them with my sister as guest. First concert we went to see was the Legend of Zelda Symphony. That was the first time I'd ever paid to see a concert and the first time I'd ever been in so fancy a venue. Was pretty nervous, although ultimately the crowd seemed pretty laid back. Some folk were even doing cosplay, which was cool. Afterward someone asked a Link cosplayer if ey could get a photo which I thought was neat.

The music was pretty good and fun, and I liked the interludes with explanations which I have since learned is not usual for these concerts. Biggest disappointment with my sister and I is that almost nohing from Majora's Mask was featured, which I think is the first Zelda game we played. Also feel like I've got to say I felt like it wasn't really a 'proper' symphony since there was no overarching structure, just four orchestral pieces and a small cloud of satellite pieces.

Second concert we went to was a performance by Dead Can Dance, which sadly was too loud for my comfort threshold so I can't say much about that. It's a shame. I think I like the music otherwise although I don't have so much experience with them personally.

The third concert I attended that week was called "Legends by the Sea", subtitled "Ashkenzy Conducts Sibelius". That was the one I saw advertised that got me attending any of them. The performance order for the concert was changed from what I had printed in the program. I believe as performed it went:

La Mer - Claude Debussy
Suite from Pelléas et Mélisande - Gabriel Fauré (including Mélisande's Song)
Interval
Lemminkäinen Suite - Jean Sibelius

Originally the Lemminkäinen Suite was to make up the portion of the concert prior to the interval. A lot of why I wanted to attend this concert was because it would be conducted by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's principal conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy (plus I wanted to explore the music of Sibelius more and think highly of Debussy).

When I was a child my grandmother gave me one of her CDs of piano music. Eventually I realised that a great many of the performances on this album I cherished were by Vladimir Ashkenazy. Years later I heard also that he had become a conductor, probably about when he took his position with the SSO. I still didn't look into attending concerts then because I assumed rightly it was not the sort of thing I could readily afford.

I suppose it was an extended moment of weakness when I saw this advertised? And I did not realise that there are frequent orchestral performances at the opera house, as in multiple times weekly. So it felt like a special occasiona and I took it, and found out about the Legend of Zelda Symphony which was assuredly a special occasion, and that there were tickets still available for the Dead Can Dance concert my sister had been urging me to see for several months.

Annoyingly I was pretty tired and had difficulty staying awake for the entire concert. This has been a bit of a frustrating trend for me. The Lemminkäinen Suite was the highlight for me, and I did think it felt more like a symphony than e.g. the Legend of Zelda Symphony had, despite being officially a suite. The piece I was least interested in was the suite from Pelléas et Mélisande. Fauré has never yet done much for me. It was still pretty fantastic to be there and see the music made. That has been a lot of the benefit for me, getting to see what actions correspond to what sounds, the actions of the conductor in conducting, getting to see the performers as people at work. A different angle of appreciation for music as a human endeavour.

Anyway, that adventure was fantastic, but it cost me a lot of my available funds. Took me several months to save back up to where I was, and then I spent that on further concert attendance, although I did on account of the cost not follow through on some others I had planned to see in March.

The library where I work meanwhile hired some other casual employees during the autumn season. A couple of months later that has begun cutting into the hours I am given. Where I had been accustomed to working 30-40 hours/fortnight (minimum typically 30, busy times in the 40-50 range), I'm not getting 20-30 hours/fortnight, and several times under 20 hours before accounting for additions after the roster gets sent out. This has been coming sometimes close to my ability to pay my bills, and I'm pretty fortunate as bills go since I still have a home and food provided by my family for a nominal cost in board (plus I try and cook dinner a couple of times a week).

What I'm saying is I should be okay so long as my hours don't get any lower. I'm doing better on that than the other casuals, with the hours I am getting at the high end of what any casual gets.

Before that reduction in my hours had kicked in, I had enough money saved up again to afford some more tickets - this time without guest, as my sister declined my offer - and some pieces to be performed dear enough to my heart that they felt unmissable. I ended up seeing three again.

The first of that set was the organ symphony, featuring what appears to be the standard three pieces.
Symphony No. 29 in A - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Concerto for seven wind instruments, timpani, percussion and strings - Frank Martin
Interval
Symphony No. 3 in C minor - Camille Saint-Saëns

I booked this one close enough to the performance date that they would not mail out the ticket to me - though the others I had booked at the same time as this did both arrive before the day - and I had to collect my ticket in person before the performace. This was difficult. After proving I had indeed purchased the ticket, I had to implore the ticketer not to follow up on eir offer to change the name and sex on my account to match the name on my identification or how I was read.

I was tired. I struggled to stay awake through the Mozart. I think I remember the concerto being interesting, but nothing about it in particular. The organ symphony was why I was there, however, and what the concert was named for. Getting to witness it performed in person was fantastic and I learned a lot that I hadn't known, like the presence of pianos in the symphony, and that the organ comes in much, much earlier than I had realised.

The other two were performed during the day, and since I still had trouble staying awake through the day I figure it must be something wrong about me. Maybe the exhaustion of travelling in to the city when I normally do not travel? Or perhaps I am just so tired generally that kept distracting myself with any task more demanding than that of listening or waiting I am like to fall asleep? Don't know, don't like it.

Of those two, the first concert seems to have been given the title 'Spellbound'. On a later day, one of my co-workers told me she had seen me at the opera house, being there herself to watch the same performance, but that I had vanished before she could say hello and had not seen me again. That is unfortunate, although I also feel a bit awkward about being seen outside a work context by people I work with.

The first piece performed was The Song of the Nightingale by Igor Stravinsky, and that is where I struggled to stay awake. Disappointed by this as it was I think wholly new to me, and I wish I had been awake to develop a better sense of the piece. The second piece was The Rite of Spring also by Igor Stravinsky, and the main reason I was there that day despite having to sit behind the orchestra in order to get a seat. One of my favourite pieces and though I think I prefer still to be in a more usual front-seating, was quite fascinating getting this up-close from one side perspective on the orchestra, seeing the musicians come onto stage with coffee on hand, being people, getting such a good view of the percussion section particularly.

I was surprised that the final performance for the concert, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, was the highlight for me. Really, quite surprising. Expected it to be something I would be indifferent to.

The last concert I won't go piece by piece through. It was the following day, presented as a 'tea and symphony' event. I did not realise until arriving that this meant actual complimentary tea being served prior. This concert was a solo organ recital. Another attended as an opportunity to see one of my favourite pieces performed live, the less than certainly Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565. That was spectacular. Truly amazing and well worth witnessing. The other highlight for me was Mozart's Fantasia in F minor for mechanical organ, K608.

Sadly for much of the rest of the concert I was struck by anxiety or something similar, trapped reliving bad times and forcing myself not to make a break for the exit. Stopped me from forming much impression of the remainder of the music.

Cutting and posting here - this is as far as I got several weeks ago (I don't remember how many exactly). Figure I am best off putting up what I had, as apparently there is no way I am finishing the entire post no matter how much or how many times I may have intended to.

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aesmael

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