Lockdown: The muse wants blood

(I wrote the first part of this Thursday review on Friday evening. I wrote the second part Saturday afternoon, past five o’clock)

After a short nap, I got up, brushed my teeth, and got back to work. Finally, sometime past sunrise Thursday, I got these letters drafted. Two versions of the same short letter because I didn’t like the first one, although I think there’s a good idea in there somewhere. My supervisor later agreed: the second version was better, but we’re holding on to the first version for ideas in another publication.

I took another nap, about forty-five minutes in the late morning, then got up and just cranked out the story that’s been killing me. It’s still not great, but it’s better than it was, and here’s what I think happened: I was back in my accustomed (‘though not recently experienced) state of extreme sleep deprivation, a condition I’ve done a lot of writing in, desperate, exhausted, undistracted writing.

File under: stupid writer tricks.

Anyway, the paralysis seems to be broken. I’ll take it, and I will hopefully ride the momentum into Friday, my usual most productive day.

I did a few chores after work, watched the news, and grabbed takeout for dinner from Ahi & Vegetable. A lovely sashimi salad, with ahi, salmon, and hamachi. I was craving fresh raw fish and some uncooked greens.

Breakfast was a can of chili on leftover hapa rice. My fridge is low on fresh things, although I have a few eggs, some broccoli I keep forgetting about, and some Portuguese sausage, among a few other things I could probably toss together. I skipped lunch. Snacked a little on maple creme Oreos.

It’s disheartening to stay up (practically) all night to produce what should be just a few hours’ worth of writing. The self-loathing and dread are kind of demoralizing, partially because I know it’s not just this weird magical aspect of creating. It’s distractibility, laziness, and avoidance. Yes, writing can be very difficult, and forcing difficult work out of wherever it comes from is a kind of painful. But I know how to do it, and I know it’s better to just get it out, but I still have days, nights, and weeks like this.

It’s hyberbole rooted in some amount of truth: it’s like opening a vein sometimes.

I watched Pitch Perfect again as I ate my lovely sashimi salad. I haven’t even watched most of the bonus material, the primary reason for the purchase; nor have I moved on to the sequels. I think I’ll just watch the sequels and then get back to the bonus materials, which include two commentary tracks on the original film.

I don’t expect to get stuck rewatching the sequels. Pitch Perfect is entertaining, engaging, well-intentioned, and terribly flawed. Its sequels are stupid and really stupid, and progressively less entertaining, although still kind of engaging on the strength of their casts.

I think I only texted with Crush Girl Thursday. A lot of back-and-forth throughout the day about dinner choices, some common friends, and this online puzzle game we’ve both gotten into. I’ve known about it for some time, but never got into it until I found out she was hooked on it. Now I spend about fifteen minutes a day on it, usually after I do the crossword.

As you can see, I usually have some room in my day for more texting or DMing. If you need someone to connect with, just hit me up in the comments.

It was a productive but miserable day. I was happy to turn in early.

Lockdown: Paralysis analysis

I woke up about half an hour before my 2:15 a.m. Wednesday morning alarm, considered trying to wring the last 30 minutes of sleep out of the sleep gods, but figured I might as well get up and get going.

At the laundry, I worked on edits for Hawaii Stories, instead of my usual journaling. Had a late Tuesday dinner (Big Mac combo from McD’s). Read a little bit of football news.

I again wasn’t sure when I started out if the beach was in my morning plan, since I’d been Tuesday morning and haven’t done consecutive days since before the lockdown. My feeling was “Why not?” which was good enough a reason to go.

I’m so glad I did. I snagged a good parking space on the Kewalo end, goofed around on my phone a while, and jumped in shortly before sunrise. I also thought if I went in, I’d take it easy, but I swam pretty hard again. It was rewarding, mentally and physically. Probably emotionally and spiritually too. I didn’t want to get out of the water.

Next week I’ll try going three mornings in a row to see how my body handles it. I thought I might do a third morning Thursday (when I’m writing this) but I’ll get into that tomorrow.

Drove straight home, made breakfast, and got to work. Sorta.

I just couldn’t get that story the way I wanted. I had my weekly one-on-one with my supervisor to talk about it. She was supportive and understanding, but also made it clear that I’ve got deadlines. They may be soft deadlines, but every day I don’t move the work forward is a day our graphic designer can’t get started on the annual report my stories are going into.

I spent the workday not getting anywhere. Then I tried to keep at it into the evening. I figured I’d just pull an all-nighter, and once I gave myself permission to do that, of course I just goofed off until a short nap, from like midnight to three.

Brunch Wednesday was corned beef hash and eggs on hapa rice. It was delicious. Such a vice. Dinner was leftover mapo tofu on leftover hapa rice. It was fine, but I’ve decided this is a dish I can’t have as a main dish. I’m normally fine having a side dish as a main dish, but this isn’t going to be one of them, if I ever make it again.

Ali got back to me after a week of unanswered texts. I kind of just stopped sending her messages — I didn’t want to be like the guy who fills her voicemail box. But she was studying late and she reached out Wednesday evening. We had a nice conversation about school and work, and I caught her up on some former coworkers.

Vicky asked me if I wanted to take advantage of a must-order-by-the-end-of-September special she was offering, but I had to tell her I’m still considering a purchase. I’m just not ready to decide. Sharon and I traded a ton of texts about the same former coworkers. Crush Girl and I talked about this online game we’re both into, and a book she’s listening to now that I read a few years ago. Oh, and dinner. Of course we talked about dinner.

I listened to a lot of new music, but I’ll get into that later. Note to self.

Spoiler: the writer’s paralysis kind of worked itself out Thursday, but I’ll write about that Friday morning.

Leave a comment if you want someone to connect with in these lockdown daze. You don’t have to go through this alone, and hopefully you haven’t, lo these nearly seven months. Yikes.

Lockdown: Water we doing?

I’m writing about Tuesday at 4:12 in the morning Thursday. Consequently, the details may be hazy, fabricated, or simply glossed over in the interest of some kind of accuracy.

Got up early and hit the beach. It was especially lovely in the fifteen minutes right before the sun came up. I hadn’t been in the ocean since Friday morning, when my goal is not to go more than two days. So I swam pretty hard and stayed in the water a little longer.

I picked up breakfast on the way home, another P&W omelette from Pancakes and Waffles. It was enough food to cover lunch, too.

I started the workday with an email to my supervisor asking for one day’s indulgence. I was frustrated with myself for being unable to make the a donor story look the way I wanted. I knew it was probably fine as it was, but I’m struggling against writing these things so they all look alike, despite a long list of reasons not to worry about it. She understood. She knows I get into these pits of creative despair. At least I recognized it this time and could advocate for a little bit of leeway. I consider this progress.

Aaaaaand I spent the day with writer’s paralysis. It sucked.

I had the Oakland Athletics playoff game with the White Sox on while I tried to write. It actually soothed me and got me in a good mindspace, despite the Athletics’ losing the stupid game.

A couple of times, I muted the game and tried to put the presidential debate on the TV, but I just couldn’t bear it for more than a minute at a time, so I just gave up. Right after, though, I did enjoy watching Twitter explode.

Washed and sterilized my water jugs. Packed my laundry. Ate a few potato chips and a few maple creme Oreos and went to bed early.

There was some decent texting Tuesday. Sylvia woke up to find the water in her apartment was shut off, so we had a few amusing exchanges. Some kind of emergency elsewhere on the property. Jennifer sent me another otter video. Very cute. Crush Girl and I commiserated about our respective work-related travails. And we talked about food, of course. Right before bed, I texted Ryan to tell him I’d edit the Hawaii Stories content while doing my laundry, which is why I didn’t write this then.

You could be in on this sparkling digital communication too, if you need someone to connect with in these cloudy coronadays. A little friendly reminder that you don’t have to go through any of this miserable crap alone. Just leave a comment.