ignis, glacies et pertinacia

Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Mixed tapes a masterpiece

In The Waste Posts, Unforgiving Minutes on February 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

In Capel Curig a week or so now and struggling to find a routine. I’ve done no writing for over two weeks now, I’m sure. Nothing of any value in any case. Plenty of ideas. Ideas are not a problem. The trouble is I’ve not been able to establish my priorities or the habit of working on a particular story. It’s the old story then. And that’s the problem. Now that I know how much I struggle with consistency of output and priorities, I struggle to believe I can do it – too many bad experiences over the years, too many hopes shattered – and so I can’t even begin. Next to me is another fresh book for me to read. Another compulsive purchase, this time from one of the many oh so exciting bookshops in Bangor, a University Town, The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor. Two boxes full of books and I have to buy another. And then another, last time, a book by Peter Matthieson. And yet I know that even now as my Dad is cataloguing my books back home, writing their names, ISBNs and authors into a database I’ll never use, barely any of them have been read to the last page. A decent minority of them have been read beyond the first chapter. And then others into the twenties and thirties. Pages that is.

Scarcely a week in, having come into this shared house and dared to display my typewriter from the first night here, I started a new novel. And I called it that. It wasn’t a short story. It was a novel. It now sits scrumpled in the typewriter which I haven’t dared use but once, and under it.

It strikes me again and again here how easily a man like myself can learn not to enjoy the things he enjoys. I could love walking in the hills, or walking in general, but then to be surrounded by men who love motorbiking and climbing, I struggle to persuade myself it is not a feeble waste of time.

The case is not helped, perhaps, by the fact that many of my pleasures are ambiguous to me. I’m not sure if I enjoy them, or I tire of them at least as often as I find pleasure in them. Jazz, which I’m listening to now, is one such. Reading, running, cycling. Certainly writing, are duties as often as they are pleasures. Some people are not born to be happy.
As I am not at the moment. I am in fact depressed. I hear it in my own voice, which I despise. I cannot believe in the possibility of closeness to others. I have friends scattered around the places I have tried to make home. In reality I am homeless. Often I am reminded of R S Thomas who I read of recently in a rare example of a book I completed (314 pages of it), who moved from place to place trying to find somewhere he fitted in. I will be here for a while, and I will not fit in. Not really. Not at all. And then I will move on again. Perhaps I will make a friend here who I will keep at a distance as I move on and on again. Perhaps not. But that I will move on and on again seems inevitable to me. This, it seems to me, is the lot of the writer.

No television and little radio reception here. But jets rip through the valleys. In summer there will be motorbikes. This is the entropy of modern life. Read the rest of this entry »


In Department of Politics, Department of Psychology, Uncategorized on January 8, 2010 at 8:45 pm

[One of those posts that starts as one thing and becomes another, and then jumbled a little more by the fact it was dictated via Dragon Natural Voice and corrected only after a few days, by which time I had doubtlessly forgotten in many instances what I had originally said. Nevertheless, it is a post which certainly gets to the heart of some of the problems I face, and, indeed, for that matter, states perhaps more clearly than I have yet stated elsewhere, what this website is about, so here it is.]

chaotic pendulum

I got up at something like a 12:15 today after the most formless day yesterday when I had been on the computer most of the day, with the computer plugged into the Internet (never a good idea). I had been ill yesterday in the morning, lacking in energy still and had managed little but to read some of the story, Sham, that had stalled, by the looks of it on Boxing Day. I last worked on it on Christmas Day knowing what happens when I have a break of anything more than a day on a story. But then my brother was up visiting and I never manage to write when he’s here, and then I was ill (the jury is out on whether I caught something or got a bad bout of die off symptoms after letting my diet slide on Christmas Day with bread and cakes and milk and alcohol).

The procrastinatory resistance I get every time one project stalls is nightmarish. I feel ill, depressed, as I did for a long while after Christmas, I’ll do anything to avoid going back to it and try to fill my mind with it once again when so many other things have taken its place in the intervening moments. My days fill with the myriad non-overlapping projects, manias, maxims from days gone by, any of which is for this time preferable even if taken to extreme.

Last night I wrote to a woman at Charles University asking about the possibilities of studying there. I looked into volunteering at organic farms in the Czech Republic. I looked at gluten and dairy free cafes to see if I can apply for jobs there. Caught up in a few new manias.

It’s horrible now and not knowing how ‘authentic’ all this is when I know my tendency is to centrifugal enthusiasms when the most proximate project stalls on me.

And then you look back and see this constant repetition of shifting maxims which are intended to rule your life. Czech hurtles up. Revision of Liquid Loves with it. Call Them Soldiers is up there hovering around the third spot five, six months on from when it last made an appearance. With these so many other things. Belcher gastronomique, candida, French, guitar, all vying for position. Running is doing well. The whole online dating nonsense being the only thing that is more or less given up its place so that all of the others are hunched up hurtling around the track.

Other things are introduced through more straightforwardly external factors. I get an e-mail from Paul at the Dark Mountain Project and want to send something, perhaps some poetry, an essay. Read the rest of this entry »

Reasons to be Cheerful

In Autism Research Unit, Commentary, Department of Psychology, Unforgiving Minutes on September 27, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I read, and the paper moves down the page. The words go into my head, somewhere, like when people are talking to me and I hear them but.. don’t process it.

A couple of hours on and my mood has picked up enormously. I paced. Figuratively and perhaps as good as literally, in that longer-time-frame way I have of walking up the stairs, failing to take to a room and walking down again, over and over. I decided to get out on the bike. The super duper bike this time. And so I pick it up and try and pump up the tyres. No go. One wheel, meant for trials riding and so much thicker and heavier than I need, extends over the valve so that I can’t put my stupid Decathlon pump over it. That gets thrown around. A few grunts (these ugly, loud, gutteral grunts I make, and am making with increasing frequency, which are something like Clint Eastwood’s ludicrous snarl cum grunt in Gran Tourino raised to the power of stupid), a few Fuck off!s and For fuck’s sake!s, and yet, when it comes down to it, and despite my day-long downer and restless agitation, I do well to not get angry and to use three different pumps, none of them much use for the purpose, to pump up the bike and get out.

<< Rewind. Up to seven, eight years ago, and soon after the conclusion of the whole frame and forks bought, bike assembled, badly, piecemeal, bike fixed up at great expense, forks recalled and part replaced drama that was a lot more traumatic than it sounds, and I’m desperate to get out of the house to quell some of the restlessness I didn’t then understand at all. I don’t find a pump or there is some problem. But I have to get out. I can’t not. I’m desperate. I pace, literally for sure. I curse, grunt, no doubt, have a tantrum, get into a state of near-hysteria, and then have to go for a run instead. I remember few of the details. I can picture the bike, leaning up against the two step retaining wall (is that a retaining wall? Is it a wall. Whatever it is it is the height of two decorative steps.) of the lawn. I can remember people making mollifying remarks that would not have mollified me at all. I remember, I think, the shoes I would have been wearing, Hi Tecs I had for much of university. And I remember the state I was in. Back then, I didn’t have a clue how my mind or my body worked. >> Read the rest of this entry »

The Long Dark Weendend of the Soul #2

In Autism Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Unforgiving Minutes, Work Diary, Writing Diary on September 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm

The weekend blues continue today and I’m going to have to keep on trying to analyse this from time to time to put together the longest-yet work in progress that is the Haynes Manual to my head, an Aspergic head, an ADD head, a cyclothymic head, a romantic, apostate catholic overeducated small town dreamer’s head to boot, because it’s no one single thing.

This isn’t just a matter of routine, though that’s important.

I have been teetering towards depression for somme time now. And it could be one of many things, which I will look at briefly – I’m working with very low levels of motivation here:

  • I have briefly mentioned elsewhere that a childhood friend of mine died just over a week ago. We hadn’t seen each other a great deal for a long time. His awkwardness and obsessive tendencies reminded me of myself. Another Orlick to my Pip. That is, a shadow, a character who reminds me of what I dislike about myself. I have known many such people, and tend to have a love hate relationship with them, an intense ambivalence which swings this way and that; the kind of relationship many men have with their fathers. At the very funeral many of his aspergic traits came out so strongly. I used to say to myself that he spoke like somebody on a Teach Yourself English tape. Something of course, I do myself. We were together all the time as kids, and, intermittently, into my adult years. We were together the night before I was due to go to university. My Dad left a message on his phone early in the morning, which had been diverted to his boss’s phone: where was I, he demanded, I had a big day the next morning. We used to write stories together, make videos and I spent a large part of my childhood with him.
  • Women constantly play in my mind. Strangely, this stopped for a while when I was with my last ex, Marketa, the brunette of an abortive story Greetings to the New Brunette that I began to write on coming back from Prague, or on her going back after she came over for a disastrous trip that’ll be hilarious with a little distance, when I knew already it was a mistake. I say strange because I didn’t enjoy time with her at all and I still kick myself whenever I think about it. But I’m finding it hard I think at the moment knowing how difficult it will ever be to find a woman who can deal with a man as obsessive as I am, who wants constantly to work and who finds it so difficult to send time with others. I have become a recluse these last few months. Read the rest of this entry »