Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

This Heart Howls, This Knee Jerks, This Voice Says

There isn't enough footpath in the world. No, that's not right. There is. More than enough. But I cannot walk- No, that's not right either.

At this point I choose to return to this address, or, I feel obliged and I heed that obligation. There is only so many loops of these suburbs I can make before I run out. A street can only be walked once a day. Maybe once at night, too, but it is summer, and the daylight never dies.

The office released us early, as with all other work places given the crowd on the train. Nothing called for my attention. I lingered at work after the others had left and stretched out my last tasks as far as I could, but they didn't have much elasticity to them.

When I left, I walked city blocks, aiming for this train station, and then when it arrived too soon, aiming for the next train station, and the next, and the next, until I didn't know how to walk to the next station, and Hoddle Street is a cunt of a street to drive on, let alone walk, so I caved and caught a train. For the duration of the ride my legs jittered.

The Twice-Only Dimensional Insect Empire spies upon us all. They have planted bugs in High Street.

They. Will. Get. In. Your. Ear.

The printout in the window of the Palace Cinema said 'last days!' Ominous. These days never end. The attendant said yes, this was the last showing of Monsters. Nothing called for my attention. The ticket was in my hand before I'd even thought about it, before I'd remembered the trailer looked a wee bit scary.

With two hours to kill I walked up High Street. I wandered into every new and used bookstore, ran my hands over clothes I couldn't afford, and blinked in the unfamiliar sun. The point was to walk. To move. The point was to stretch every minute mission as far as I could, but, time is always more elastic, always stretches further.

Lunch was at 4.30. A bag of Doritos.

The sun is set. The sky is not dark. The flying foxes are so much scattered pepper washing past my window.

There was an incident with the last post.

If an agent of the Twice-Only Dimensional Insect Empire gets in your ear, it will eat your third dimension, and then, eat your heart.

Monsters is not a flashy action-thriller. It was an unsubtle social commentary, beautiful and restrained, understated without being coy, and gentle, so gentle.

The monsters were beautiful. They were not monsters.

Monsters only exist in the unknown. To know something is to strip it of power. To understand it is to have empathy, and even if that empathy is without sympathy, possibly with judgment, it is no longer unknown, and the monster is gone.

I am not a monster, I am just a person. I know no monsters, only people.

Monsters may be easier to deal with. Monsters always of the possibility of being wondrous.

No, that's wrong, that's entirely wrong.

Monsters only exist when we fear them. In which case, I am a monster, I know many monsters, you're all monsters, there are no people anywhere. Also, I am afraid of the hair in the shower plughole.

B said to T, you'll be on your way out yelling get out of my way or I'll elbow you in the face! B demonstrated this action. I was behind B. Our heights are so perfectly balanced to have her elbow hit my face.

I whispered intensely to B, while she was talking to R, that there was an eyelash in her eye and she had to get it out because I couldn't stop staring at it and it was bothering me. She dug and dug and finally got it. And made a wish not to elbow me in the face next year. Then gasped in dismay because she'd revealed her wish, and thus, it will not come true.

I retreated to my cubicle.

B isn't a monster. She left sherbet bombs in our socks.

This blog. As with counselling, I'm weighing the balance between its benefits and its damage.

I know I am......not easy to know? But then, is anyone? Perhaps I should say, I know I am frustrating to know. I am confounding. My continued presence in a person's life seems to demand more patience than is fair. Perhaps? Maybe? I am only extrapolating, really. No one has turned and said, "Goddamn you're fucking exasperating to be friends with." Not yet.

It seems to be easy to misread me, and normal to get me entirely wrong. Maybe that too is normal. Maybe everyone regularly experiences that chasm of dislocation that comes when you realise someone has completely misunderstood you, and that difference between perceptions will never be reconciled.

This blog is prime for that. All personal blogs are fucking ripe for leap-frogging to incorrect conclusions, no matter how well meant. It's just what happens when your primary contact with a person is highly filtered. How many of you can read my facial expressions, or my tone of voice? There's a limited number of you for which I can claim that degree of familiarity.

There was an incident with the last post.

There is comfort in empty spaces.

Immediacy is in the nature of the internet. Now, now, now. It's drifted down through our subconscious and is so much sediment, now, now, now.

Personal blogs are, by there very nature, personal. Some come to serve their audiences, for better or worse. Some come to a compromise with their audiences, for better or worse. And some just...carry on. Guilty as charged.

When I write my massive long confrontational confessional soul-bearing heart-rending WOE THE FUCK IS ME posts, I'm aware of the effect they have. Comments are mostly closed because of that. People care, people are compassionate, people want to reach out.

And I'm just...not easy to know.

Those massive long confrontational confessional soul-bearing heart-rending WOE THE FUCK IS ME posts are my healing. If I can write them, then the worst of the crisis is past, or I am at least in a lull. To write is to define, to define is to control, and that small semblance of power and processing makes a world of difference. Oh it does. If I can then post that writing, make public, have my voice be heard, then my head is above water.

From your point of view, it doesn't look it. It looks like the Apocalypse.

You never see the Apocalypse. That happens in silence, behind closed doors.

These posts, they happen after the storm.

I do. I love it. People can't help but smile back.

And I am...not easy to know. I do not want sympathy, something that has (just for once) nothing to do with pride. It is a burden. I'm sorry, but to know I cause you concern weighs on me heavily and is a point in favour of keeping silent, and I must not. If I want advice or suggestions, then I will ask for it, and you will know it. That which is unsolicited is so heavy, I'm not prepared to receive it, yet feel obliged to do something about it, even though I may not have the resources or desire.

Most of you have loitered here long enough to simply reach out, let me know you're there and aware. This means more to me than you can imagine.

Others will continue to push help, and even though I struggle to accept it with grace, I appreciate the care I'm shown and haven't earned. Who am I kidding, there is no grace, only silence. I'm an arrogant ungrateful cunt at the best of times. I will push you away.

This runs contrary to your compassion, your caring, and your desire to reach out.

Look, if you leave me unattended in a room with a blank whiteboard, there will be sharks. That's all I'm saying.

Did you know I have trust issues? Of course I do. Especially concerning people who appear to be concerned with my well-being.

I mean, for starters, I have confused ideas about strength. That is, to be strong means you must be strong, which in turn means never being weak, which in turn, can be externalised by simply never displaying weakness. You must be fooled in order for me to fool myself. So my nearest and closest are constantly hurt and rejected that when I am vulnerable and wounded I will not go to them for help, I will not ask for it or hint that it may be required, I will not allow them to be the friend they are.

Conversely, I know what it means to support such a weight. It is immense, and the responsibility is equal, and crushing. I love my friends too much to want to be a burden to them, I love them too much to ever make myself a burden, I will not do that to them.

I am too heavy. Too many people have dropped me. Too much hard work for no guaranteed reward. I am not worth the price to be paid. Those with a White Knight Complex adore me. They're like flies on bullshit, they can't keep away from my distress and anguish and raw bleeding emotional chunder. The smell of pain intoxicates them, and they rush in to save me.

I make a shit damsel in distress. FYI.

When they realise I'm not an easy rescue and I'm hard work, harder work, fucking impossible work, when they realise that I won't enable them to feel good about themselves for having rescued someone from their misery, they drop me, fast as they can, and disappear.

Trust issues. You think?

Concerned for my well-being? Want to fix it? Get the fuck away from me. Fuck off. Just fuck off. Take all your "good intentions" and choke on them.

Be my friend. Make me laugh. Honour me with fun times and untarnished moments. Sit beside me and say nothing while we stare at nothing. Let me be a normal person. Pretend there is nothing wrong so I can pretend there is nothing wrong, for a while, with you.

Don't fix me. It isn't your place, privilege or right.

That task is mine.

The last line in Monsters was, "I don't want to go home."

This is my flat.

Home is a state of mind.

I am out of my mind.

So many times I have nearly deleted this blog. I haven't kept count. This was turning over and over in my head. Depression frightens me. When the counsellor asked me about it, I said there was nothing not to fear about it. By extension I fear all things that may lead to it, and if something I post here leads to something that knocks me flat and shakes my already unstable footing with doubt, and insecurity, and shame, and hurt, and confusion, and uncertainty, and shame, and shame, and shame, then I must exterminate it. In the balance of things the potential for trouble here is great, too great, it is inevitable.

But. But.

This is my voice. The last bastion of my voice. With Baggage and ASIM: Best of Horror 2 out this year, my writing is ended. There is no more "forthcoming" and no more being written. I do not write, I am not a writer. This is all that remains of my voice. To use a voice is to be heard. If I cease blogging, I have no voice. No voice. No voice.

This is my voice. Violently melodramatic and self-pitying, it is mine.

Perhaps it would help to add an ACHTUNG! to the side bar, notifying visitors that this is an advice, suggestion and sympathy free zone. We are demilitarised. This war is purely civil, and, uncivil. It is a spectator sport, and no, you may not join in.

Doubt and insecurity and the fact that I simply can't see anything because I am OUT OF MY FUCKING MIND shakes me. Is this a good idea? Does it offend and insult you? Would it? More than I already have?

Even if I didn't have a blog, people automatically try to fix things that appear broken, and I am stubborn and prideful and take independence to unhealthy extremes. Suggestions must be presented and then summarily ignored, so they may sit in the hinterbrain until they are familiar and unintimidating, and I may consider them objectively instead of hysterically.

I don't know, I just don't know.

Thus spoke the Sages of Public Sanitation, and they were not wrong.

I've had two bottles of cider, which is a lot for me. The last food I ate was that packet of Doritos. Seven hours have passed. The hurt has not worn off. I am upset and doubt myself, ashamed of myself, and shame draws up fury, and so this post is a knee-jerk reaction, exactly the sort of post I make an point of not making. It is a rule I live by: do nothing and decide nothing when you are upset.

I am upset, but I do not think I am wrong.

No. Really. There were three whiteboards. I can't even share the third photo as it happens to be over a potential confidential document.

This is not a post that I have dwelt upon for weeks and constructed carefully. It's word and thought vomit. Comments are on. Go for it. Vent frustration and hurt at me. Be offended and churlish. Be understanding and wonderful. Talk about geckos. Vote on the ACHTUNG! Judge me. Don't judge me. Use your voice.

This is the last of my voice, and I will fucking defend it. No one is worth the triumph of self-censorship. The war may only be in my head, but you will be the casualties.

The days are long. Summer is the invasion of light. There is only so much that sunglasses can hide.

I stopped walking. Halfway between there and here. I did not want to return to my flat. I wanted to go home, but home is a state of mind, and I am homesick. I stopped because I could not walk any more.

And then, when I had been stopped enough, I started walking again.

Once again my heart howls. I've had such high times that the strategies of handling a howling heart have fallen by the wayside and I am out of practice.

Once again I must learn to be heard beyond that howling. There is nothing to do but cry in harmony, and relearn how to discover wonder in the mundane world.

My mind; my dictatorship.

Wonder, significance, meaning, resonance; these things can be hard to see at first, but eventually, with enough time, you learn how to see and everything becomes clear.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Auxilaries of a Mental War

Knights of Seroquel

Quetiapine [Seroquel] is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder, acute manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder (as either monotherapy or adjunct therapy to lithium or valproate), and maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder (as adjunct therapy to lithium or divalproex)...

It is sometimes used off-label, often as an augmentation agent, to treat conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, restless legs syndrome, autism, alcoholism, depression, Tourette syndrome, and has been used by physicians as a sedative for those with sleep disorders or anxiety disorders.

At very low doses (<25 mg), quetiapine acts primarily as a histamine receptor blocker (antihistamine)...

They prescribe this terracotta-coloured tablet to treat almost everything, from the look of it. Everything related to a fucked up mind, at any rate. And hayfever.

I do not have a prescription. The doctor dropped a sample box of 10 in my hands. "One of these every day," he said. "Immediately. It will take the edge off until the Cymbalta kicks in."

I think more appropriate wording would have been, "It will take you off the edge."

When I got home I immediately googled everything I could about the drug. It had taken a lot, too much, to get to the point of asking for anti-depressants. What I learned left me crumpled and weeping. Side effects. I didn't want to take it. I was afraid of taking it. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't.

I started taking it.

The first tablet hit me like a brick. An intense sleep that was extraordinarily difficult to come out of. The struggle to simply gain a semblance of wakefulness left me without the resources to sit up, let alone get up. Gravity could not decide what angle it was aligned at. I had to sit down in the shower. That wasn't enough. I had to get out of the shower, throw a towel on the floor because I couldn't dry myself and lie there, hoping that soon, I would have control of my body again, and soon, the world would stop moving.

I was slow, incredibly spacey for the day.

At night I forced myself to take a second tablet.

The morning was still hard, but not as bad as the previous. As the days went on, the side-effects reeled themselves in. In a couple of days I was off the edge. I enjoyed knowing that taking the tablet would guarantee sleep.

On the Saturday, a week after I'd started taking Seroquel, I could not move. I did nothing but lay on my bed in a strange fuzzy stupor. My brain filling up with serotonin, I'm told. I cut Seroquel to a half dose.

After a few nights on a half dose, I fell apart. Upped the dose again. Halved it again. Determined to be clear of it before I ran out.

On the follow-up appointment a week later, I explained I'd stopped taking Seroquel all together and hadn't slept for three days. The doctor said that shouldn't happen, Seroquel doesn't work like that. But it did. I saw 4am three times in a row.

His solution was to give me another three sample packets.

Sappers of Cymbalta

The main uses of duloxetine [Cymbalta] are in major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, stress urinary incontinence, painful peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and chronic musculoskeletal pain associated with osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain.

Duloxetine [Cymbalta] failed the US approval for stress urinary incontinence amidst concerns over liver toxicity and suicidal events; however, it was approved for this indication in Europe.

"One of these a day, in the morning," the doctor said. "This will take a few weeks to kick in."

My prescription was for 30mg. I went home and read and read and read and cried. There were so many risks that came with the drug, more than I had the strength to face. I couldn't take it, I couldn't not take it.

I took it, and told no one.

Side effects were immediate. Incredible bouts of yawning, accompanied by a super-saturation of oxygen in the blood, so that I had all the symptoms of hyperventilation without hyperventilating. My fingers and toes were constantly fizzing and thick, perpetual tight-wound energy in my belly, all of which increased dramatically if I should begin talking for any length. Laughing became quite the ordeal. My appetite vanished.

I was off the edge, and lost in space. But off the edge. Off the edge.

When I stopped the Seroquel entirely, and a few days had passed for anything like withdrawal to wear off, I was okay. Just okay. Merely okay. Solidly okay. Lower than the odd bout of mania that had struck me when on both drugs, not without sudden squalls of horror and despair, but far more level. Able to cope with the work place, the supermarket, the world we live in. I was sleeping okay. The yawning never really stopped, and my mouth is continually dry, but they are minor side effects, considering.

Cymbalta is slower to work, more insidious, but gentler too.

My dreams are stronger. This I love.

Siege Engines of Cymbalta

On the follow up appointment, the doctor issued me a new prescription for 60mg, to begin when I'd finished my current one. He didn't say why, and I, out of my mind, didn't ask.

The first day, my stomach began churning, and without warning I was vulnerable. Anxiety and dread. I went home early.

I could not sleep. At all. The following day this was augmented by the onset of restlessness. My bones ache. My muscles constantly feel as though they are about to spasm. I feel forever just shy of the peak of some massive eruption, and explosion of mayhem and energy and pure flailing.

Insomnia is no stranger. I could deal with insomnia. But restlessness? I don't know restlessness. Apparently I've taken for granted for 29 years my ability to sit or lie still and and comfortably.

It slays me. I thrash and thrash and thrash, mind and body together, doing absolutely nothing at all.

Nights of Seroquel

I am glad the doctor gave me these spare packets.

Half a tablet is not enough.

I take whole tablets. Last night, I tried a half dose. Just shy of midnight, I got up to swallow the other half. This morning, I was driven from bed when my body began to ache and the urge to thrash made my eyes hot.

...The Counsellor Asks Questions

I support the idea of counselling entirely. It does real good for a lot of people, guides many in the processing of difficult realities. I've encouraged many to pursue it, stick with it, simply consider the idea as an option.

Personally, I hate counselling. The idea is abhorrent. The verbal articulation of my emotions and thought processes is...look at the title of this blog; Silence Without. Because I cannot speak my demons aloud, and that is what counselling involves. There are a myriad of other reasons which I will not get into here, but suffice to say, counselling is exactly what I do not want.

I accepted the referral.

He listened well, very well. A good listener is an incredibly rare treasure. He paid good attention to the words I chose. The usual tactic of sitting without speaking to goad me into filling the silence of my own volition didn't work. I fear no silence. It was he who eventually broke every silence. I couldn't look at him, and when I cried I didn't want a witness, and would spend those hours with my face covered with my hands.

All his questions I answered frankly, not offering more than what was requested. I was trying, and that was the best I could do.

We did not agree philosophically. He belonged to a school of thought that focused on positivity, with a motto similar to, "You just gotta believe." His aim was to restore hope to me, to find a positive way out.

"There must be a positive way through," he said in the first session.

"Does there?"

He was taken aback. "Yes. There must be."

I wasn't challenging the idea out of despair or pessimism. I merely acknowledge that there is no 'must'. We not owed anything. I may get better. I may not. Both are equally possible.

I had my last appointment with him on Tuesday. Because he pays attention, he asked if I thought I had got any benefit out of these sessions.

In the balance of things...what benefit there may be is outweighed by the dread and anxiety they cause. These sessions leave me wrung out. They bring everything to the surface, and it takes me a couple of days to recover before I can function properly as a social creature again, and then I simply move on to dreading and stressing about the next session. I am not in a position of strength. This is more than I can cope with.

And no, I did not think there was much benefit to be had. There was nothing he had said that I had not already considered myself.

I tried. Knowing my own bias against counselling, I tried, and gave more than a good shot at it.

I never want counselling again.

What am I?

I'm on medication for bipolar. The counsellor said he saw something that looked like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in me. I can function. Am I okay? My hands have been much worse these past few weeks. I'm on prescription pain killers too. The door trays of my fridge make me look like a junkie. I have the alarm set for 6.30 on the weekends so I can take my dose on time. Grocery shopping is impossible with no appetite. Is there a future here?


Something has to change.

EDITED TO ADD: I left this post slanting somewhat in the wrong direction. Apart from more coherent dreams (which I adore, but for people who are used to actually sleeping while asleep (MADNESS!!!!!), instead of saving the goddamn world, they can be the worst side effect of all; see Dooce's experience with Cymbalta, which led to her eventually switching medication), the Cymbalta appears to have sorted out my blood sugar, or metabolism, or whatever it is that our fuel systems are based on.

Previously, I had shyte blood sugar. I rarely had the opportunity to be hungry as a blood sugar crash would make itself known before minor things like an empty belly had the opportunity to occur. Some people get grouchy when they're hungry. I get faint, weak, dizzy, and pretty much live in constant fear of fainting. When that happens, I have to eat something, anything, right then. If I'm out and about I make sure I have food on me all the time. That's how ridiculous it is.

Now? Dude. Apparently this is how most people feel? You know, all...normal and...not about to collapse.


I am so totally okay with this.

And all side effects aside, the meds are working.

There is distance now between me and the horror, enough distance for me to cope with being a living waking entity, to take care of myself and even, occasionally, take care of others. I am not a zombie. (Well, apart from the tail end of the Seroquel in the mornings, but I was never a bright spark in the mornings anyway.) I feel. When I laugh, it's because I am laughing. I can have a good time and carry that good feeling away and inside me for the rest of the day. I can be upset and angered and brood like the champion brooder I am.

I can do all that, and I am not on the edge.

I don't want to be medicated. I remain afraid, very afraid of what the drugs are doing to my mind and thought processes, especially as I cannot control them and do not entirely understand how they work.

But, they do work.

I am alive because of I am medicated. I am alive. Because of that, I will not regret taking medication, nor will I be ashamed of it.


You may be aware that a holiday resort area in Egypt has been following the script of Jaws, with the beaches terrorised by massive man-eating shark who injured four and killed one.

The climax and defeat of the shark did not, as it were, continue to follow the script.

I'm not even going to post an excerpt, I'm copying the whole article and picture and dumping it right here, because, Neptune I'm embarrassed for that poor shark. It's facing its ancestors right now.

Sharks Wary of Drunk Serbs

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Dragan Stevic of Serbia is the new Egyptian hero who killed a large shark which had previously terrorized numerous tourists (injured 4 and killed 1) at the famous Egyptian resort Sarm El Sheikh.

The Serbian hero was too drunk to remember what had happened, though one of his friends who witnessed the incident explained it all for the Belgrade based media.
Dragan Stevic was dubbed by the Egyptian media as "Shark El Sheikh" and thanked him for saving their tourist season.

Milovan Ubirapa, one of Stevic’s friend who witnessed the incident explained that Dragan had decided to go to the beach for a swim after a long night of drinking. As Dragan and his friends approached the beach, he saw a fairly high positioned jumping board utilized earlier in the day by divers.

“Dragan climbed on the jumping board, told me to hold his beer and simply ran to jump. There was no time for me to react or to try to stop him, he just went for it” says Milovan.
“Dragan jumped high and plunged down to the sea, but didn’t make as much splash as we thought he would”, explained Milovan.

The reason could be because Dragan Stevic ended up jumping straight on the shark which was lurking near the beach, probably looking for its next victim. Dragan had nailed it right in the head, killing it instantly. The Egyptian police found the shark washed out on the beach that morning (pictured above).

Dragan was able to swim to the shore and told his friends he had twisted his ankle, telling them the water was not that soft.
The water is soft buddy, you just landed on a shark. At the moment, the fearless hero is in a hospital recovering from alcohol poisoning. After Dragan gets well, he will get a chance to have some more drinks as the resort had awarded the Serb tourist with a free vacation for his heroic deed. // Pero Stamatovski

Friday, December 17, 2010

Possibly the best postcard I've ever received.

On the back here is an upside-down doodle of someone giving a heart a bear hug. Or shaken baby syndrome. They look quite similar.

At first glance, though, I thought it was a penis squid.

(Which, let us be honest, would be entirely in keeping with the senders.)

(Much love at you, you beastly wretches.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fairy Floss Chaser

Originally pimped by Warren Ellis. This blog needs more hand clapping.

The Boom of Empty Minutes

The first thing Margo Lanagan did was give us writing exercises. Clarion South is six weeks of writing and criting and little else. Giving us more was a bold, some might say, reckless, move, but it paid off.

She handed out prompts and gave us five minutes to write. First we were given pictures. I don't entirely remember what mine was, I have the vague impression of an oil painting of wheat, or dry grass, and beside it some previous student had doodled a little bird in blue pen. I do recall staring at it blankly for the bulk of the five minutes. It gave me nothing.

The second prompt was a sentence, or half a sentence. Again, I don't remember what mine was, but I do recall it set my brain on fire and when Margo told us time was up, stop writing, I resented her immensely. I wasn't finished, the idea was still moving through me.

It confirmed something that perhaps was beginning to be recognised in my subconscious - the triggers for my inspiration are nested within the written word.

Knowing ones strengths is as important as knowing ones weaknesses.

Sometimes, they're the same thing.

In an effort not to create internal pressure to write, I have

had to



When people discover this I am inevitably asked what I then do with my time.

I don't know.

I do not want to be at work. As soon as I sit in my cubicle I'm counting down the hours and minutes till I can leave.

I do not want to be at home. I get home, and I sit, and I stare out the window, at the wall, at the carpet, and count down the minutes till it is reasonable to go to bed.

Weekends are an interminable agony. I wake, but do not open my eyes, and lie as long as I can force myself to. I take my time in the shower, getting dressed, making a cup of tea. I linger over the dirty dishes, the washing, the ironing. The grocery shopping is a slow ambling excursion.

And then, I have run out of things that must be done, and my time is my own.

It is all empty time. I cannot write. I cannot read. There is nothing else in my life.

I sit, and stare out the window, at the wall, at the carpet, and count down the minutes till it is reasonable to go to bed. Most of the time, I do not last until 'reasonable'.

Empty time is not a trial I've ever had to navigate. It's...devastating. To quote Tyler Durden, "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."

To be sure, I tested my suspicions, and while undertaking Operation: GTFO III I took The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges, as yet unread.

Because that's when you do on holiday; all the indulgences you normally deny yourself.

It was with trepidation and intense anticipation that I picked the book up, made a cup of tea and settled on the hostel couches. It took me some time to crack the cover. Fear of causing myself grief is no easy conquest.

And oh, it was wonderful. I read.



And oh, it was brutal. My notebook and pen never left my side, as I had to pause frequently to copy down quotes and jot down questions raised. It had be so long, too long since such nourishment. My mind devoured and tore up the paragraphs, sucked the marrow dry and demanded more, more, more, and as I had feared, eventually stopped taking, and started giving.

I scrawled down a short story idea, one that hit me like lemon juice on an open cut and left me shocked at its state of completeness despite its only having just arrived, and left me excited as only the smell of something new can do, and left me itching, itching, itching to write.

When I got home, I put the book back on the shelf, and stood there a moment surveying all the other glorious books awaiting my appetite.

And I had to walk away.

Logic is not without its loopholes. With so many writers in my life, there is always critiquing to do. I have persuaded and cajoled rough drafts out of a number of friends and acquaintances. That's okay, you see, because I'm doing it for someone else. It is a means of thinking about reading and writing without having to approach the subject head on. I can fool myself about what I am doing, and come at it sideways. Especially fortunate am I that I know so many fabulously talented writers; Rjurik Davidson, Deborah Kalin, Alistair Rennie, and Conrad Williams; the pleasure was all mine.

This loophole is not without its own shortcomings. Toward the end of this mad spree of critiquing some point of saturation was reached, the balanced tipped, and I found myself having to walk away frequently as a froth of bitter snarling jealousy threatened to taint my objectivity.

I do love criting, perversely so. But I love writing more, and to handle their brilliant beloved works with the aim of strengthening them when I can do nothing myself tests my altruism and the lengths of my denial.

As such, I have not sought out any further manuscripts, and empty time returned to me.

There are more loopholes to the logic. For many years I have maintained a strict philosophy regarding the rereading of books, ie, VERBOTEN. There are too many books in the world that I will never get to read, I cannot waste time rereading stories I have already known.

But, well, it is new words that trigger new ideas in me. Old words must therefore be safe.

Right? Right. Examining the argument closely would be counterproductive. It doesn't need to be airtight, just solid enough for me to fool myself.

I was tempted to do this properly, and leap on my old Dragonlance books, but couldn't quite bring myself to take it to such extremes. Instead I picked up Tad William's Otherland series, each book of which is a massive behemoth with its own gravitational pull. I have them all in lovely hardcover, and the first is signed by the man himself, in person when I first met him in LA.

I read.



And discovered that my copy was faulty, as page 81 was followed by page 52, before hitting 81 a second time and skipping on to 115.

Do you believe in signs? I try not to, but it was hard not to take that as an uncompromising statement that I am simply not meant to read.

I have borrowed a copy with the intention of reading those missing pages, but as yet have not returned to reading. Guess I'm afraid of being thwarted again. As such, empty time is returned to me.

The latest loophole I have crawled into acknowledges the difference I perceive between the written and spoken word. Most people nudge me toward voice-recognition software and I've explained many times over that in this case, it is the act of writing I need, not the end result. To speak is an entirely different action to undertake, and ignites different thought-matrices. Writing was cultivated because speaking is, for me, anathema. This blog is called Silence Without because I cannot say the things that require saying, and thus, I write them instead. Silence without, expression within. Over time, the act of writing has become an exercise of storm-appeasement like nothing else I have experienced. There is nothing that soothes the howling heart more than the formation of a sentences and the composition of a paragraph.

They are different. The words may be the same, but written or spoken, they are different.

Audiobooks and podcasts, you are my friends.

Now going to bed before the flying foxes have started their foraging is no longer unreasonable. I lay on my back with the curtains open and watch the sky change, flying foxes heading out for breakfast, and listening to stories. I do so love being read to. There may be no quicker way to get me into bed. I've found many marvellous stories (I recommend pillaging Clarkesworld, Dark Fiction Magazine (particularly Pinborough's Do You See?) and Podcastle) and equally marvellous readers (anything by Rajan Khanna).

The spoken word triggers nothing in me. It is safe.

My hands have been very bad of late. It has taken over a fortnight to write this.

Denials and distractions; none of them last forever.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

(Hark! And awaken!) "-but not necessity, and-"

It can take minutes for my alarm clock to drill down through my dreams and the barricades of sleep. "Minutes" is plural, and not specific. "Minutes" could mean four, or forty (frequently, it means forty). When the radio (being my second alarm; I never hear the first ten minutes of obnoxious beeper alarm) finally registers as external and irritating, I do not wake. Instead, I'll ascend near the surface of waking, only close enough to have gross motor functions and slap the snooze button.

This generally goes on for an hour.

(Do not ask how early I set my alarm.)

Some people can leap out of bed right on waking. I'm not one of those people. My brain needs several run ups before it can work up the gumption to breach the surface and wake the fuck up.

This morning, I heard the radio within a minute. The music dove straight down like sugar-coated electricity, and my mind shot up, wild-eyed and quite awake, and I listened.

I thought it was bagpipes at first, but it was the war cry of the fiercely needless. Deep booming drums. Addictive stick rhythm. And then they started singing.

I was awake, so very awake, shocked to be so ambushed before the day had even started by something that

A feverish trawl of the Triple J forums with the only lyric the song had gave me treasure. The responsible party is ky├╝, a Sydney-based band, and the song itself, Pixiphony, is available for free download at Triple J Unearthed.

If it isn't rare enough to find a song that affects me so, I discovered another unexpected present; they're opening for Junip in January, a gig for which I already have a ticket.

Such fortune worries me. Bad things are going to happen in balance.

Suffice to say, I did not get back to sleep this morning.