How strange or odd some’er I blog myself, as I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on.

Hello, everyone!  Good morning, and welcome to another Thursday, and therefore, to another of my weekly blog posts.  I felt tempted to begin with, “Hey, Vsauce!  Robert here,” since I’ve been watching rather a larger number of YouTube videos than usual, including many Vsauce videos that I haven’t seen in a while.  I’ve shared a few of them, which you may know if you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend (I don’t tend to share videos on my Facebook author page.  Maybe I should).

Of course, the above is related to the fact that this is my second Thursday working from home, and thus writing this blog from home.  It’s not that I don’t go into the office at all, since I am responsible for records and payroll, not all of which can be done remotely*.  But we’ve moved such operations as we’re able out of the office.  It’s been surprisingly successful, on some days more than others, but certainly not ideal.

Also, let’s be honest, apart from going to the office, this blog is the most social thing I do, so I’m tending to involute a bit more even than usual, which is probably not a good thing.  I won’t say that, like Melkor, after wandering in the Void too often I start wanting to take over Middle-earth, but like him, my time spent alone (albeit reading and listening to books and watching mostly educational YouTube videos) does lead me to have thoughts unlike those of my brethren.

Then again, I’ve always had those.

Oh, by the way, a Happy Passover to those of you who celebrate it!  I don’t know if anyone’s having seders or not—I suppose they might as well do them with the people with whom they’re living, anyway—but still, hopefully you have a nice holiday that’s not too disrupted from the normal flow.

And of course, the fact that Passover has started probably means that Easter is coming.  Let’s take a look…

…yep.  It’s this Sunday (unless you’re Eastern Orthodox or similar, in which case you’ll celebrate the following Sunday.  I’m never quite sure why the difference, and I guess I don’t care enough to look it up).  So, for those of you who celebrate that holiday, do your very, very best to have a Happy Easter!  As far as I know, chocolate bunnies aren’t sources of contagion, as long as they were in packages that were wiped down before being opened.  Ditto with Cadbury Creme Eggs**!  Of course, I know that none of the chocolate or egg things have anything to do with the religious aspects of the Easter holiday, but they’re fun, and I doubt Jesus would mind people celebrating with chocolate***.

Anyway.

Of course, given my time at home, Unanimity is continuing well, though ironically, not quite as speedily as when I go to the office.  That latter fact is just a matter of transition, adjustment, and adaptation; I’m somewhat overindulging in the fact that I don’t have to commute, and using it as an excuse for a relative lie-in.  I sometimes sleep as late as seven in the morning (!), though admittedly I still experience my usual inevitable awakening sometime between three and four, and do a bit of grumbling and fumbling before I’m able to go back to sleep, if I can at all.  This latter habit has nothing to do with my prostate—I’ve been that way almost for as long as I can remember, and it seems to be related to dysthymia/depression, with its whole lovely early morning awakening.

If I developed the ability to see people’s auras and go higher up the levels of the “tower”, as in Stephen King’s Insomnia, I wouldn’t mind it so much.

I still haven’t released my latest/last version of my song Schrodinger’s Head, nor have I released the audio blog I did off the cuff last week, though they’re both ready for public consumption.  It’s probably partly due to the general topsy-turvy nature of the current weirdness that I’ve been so lackadaisical.  I really must try to get those out soon.

With that, I suppose I have little more to add.  I hope you all stay as safe and healthy as you’re able, while remembering (tacitly, at least) that perfect safety and permanent health are impossible.  Everything involves trade-offs, and no one lives forever****.  But certainly, there is no excuse for endangering others unnecessarily, so take precautions, and if you’re ill, stay away from other people as much as possible.  Hopefully the far end of this thing will come sooner than we think…but of course—and rather by definition—I don’t think it will.  Oh, well.  The world’s a hard place with many sharp corners and uneven surfaces.  That needn’t stop us from making the most of it.

TTFN


*Including giving people their paychecks.

**Mmmmmmm, creme eggs…so yummy!

***“Hey, did you hear?” “What?” “Jesus came back from the dead!” “Wow! That calls for a celebration!  Let’s have some chocolate!” “Sounds good to me!  Oh, by the way, do you know who spilled food coloring on all the eggs and then tried to hide them all over the place?”

****Except Michael Menelvagor and the vampire, Morgan.  To know who those people are, read my books Son of Man and Mark Red.  Go ahead, you probably have some spare time.

Fie on’t! ah fie! ’tis an unweeded garden, that grows to seed; blogs rank and gross in nature possess it merely.

ulysses

Hello, good morning, and welcome to another Thursday edition of my weekly blog post.  I didn’t sleep well last night—even by my standards—so if I say something even more bizarre or incoherent than usual, I can only apologize and beg you to bear with me.

It’s been a moderately interesting week.  I can honestly say I think I’m finally starting to see some effects of my new depression treatment regimen (not “regime”).  This can’t mean as much to all of you as it does to me, but nonetheless it’s probably a welcome thought for those committed to following this blog.  At least it means—if I’m correct in my assessment—that I’ll be less likely to write quite such dreary things as sometimes drip from my computer when I’m wallowing in the dumps.

I posted an audio smidgen—only about seven minutes long, if memory serves—on Iterations of Zero yesterday, though it was recorded a week ago. People don’t seem to be responding much to those, so I may relegate them to history’s anonymous junk heap and go back to trying to find time to write about such topics instead of simply moaning and groaning aloud about them.  That’s fine, though.  Written language is more efficient.  It’s also the lifeblood of civilization, besides being the love of my life.

I did, though, on a whim whose source I can’t really credit, decide yesterday to start doing audio for my second latest short story Penal Colony.  I had no specific plans for how much to do, but before I’d finished for the day, I’d recorded about forty-seven minutes of unedited audio, getting more than thirty percent through the story (based on Kindle’s reckoning).  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy reading my stories aloud.  I may go back to it in something like earnest (but not like Frank, I don’t like that guy), doing audio for Free Range Meat, and then resuming the audio for The Chasm and the Collision, for which I think I stopped after chapter nine.  Then, who knows, maybe my other books and stories will follow.

It’s gonna be some time before I get to doing audio for Unanimity, though.  Just thinking about it is daunting.

As further evidence of my gradual but hopeful improvement of chronic mood disorder, I sent out copies of the latest version of Unanimity and my partially complete novella with the working title Safety Valve to my sister and to a dear friend from my youth (both of whom share my love of reading), just in case, as I think I put it, something happens to me.  This may seem morbid and not at all non-depressed at first glance, but it’s a departure.  When I’m deeply in the throes of depression, I become almost completely nihilistic at numerous levels, such that I think that if I die, I really don’t care what happens to my writing, no matter how much work has gone into it…and there has been a LOT of work.  Needless to say, if I were to die, I would not then care what happened to my writing, but the me now can care—or not—about things that the nonexistent future me will be unable to choose to care about or not…if that makes any sense.

Anyway, the fact that I did it shows at least some improvement.  It’s still possible that I might do something successfully self-destructive*, but at least I’m acting to prophylax against such occurrences.

As for other things…I’m studiously avoiding following the process of the presidential trial in the Senate.  I already feel a thoroughgoing contempt for pretty much everyone involved in the government—and by extension many of the people who keep electing them—and in my currently improving but still-fragile mood, I just don’t need the exposure to all the stupidity, vanity, ignorance with wings, hubris, manipulation (successful and otherwise), and petty monkey-poop throwing by a collection of supposed public servants who actually serve no one but themselves, and don’t even do that very well.  It’s spectacles such as these that lead me to the calm, resigned feeling that, hey, it’s not such a big loss if humanity, and even the whole planet Earth, just withers and dies.  It’s gonna happen someday anyway; it might as well be sooner rather than later.

I can do without reinforcing that feeling.  It’s already hard enough to argue against it logically; I’d like to curb the emotion.  Otherwise, I might start working on a doomsday machine of my own to see if I can hasten the end.

Don’t worry, don’t worry.  At least as of now, I’m not doing any such thing.

Humanity doesn’t really need my help, do they?

TTFN


*Of course, there are always external dangers to life and limb for us all, and sooner or later they do catch up to us, but I tend to be by far the greatest threat to my own continued existence.

Methought I read a blog cry, “Sleep no more!”

insomnia

Hello and good day!  It’s Thursday again, as you no doubt know, and time for me to write another weekly blog entry.

I’ve had a rather intense exacerbation of my chronic insomnia over the last several days, so I’m worried that my writing might be incoherent and disjointed.  Of course, it’s possible that my writing is always that way, and I simply haven’t noticed.  How would I know for sure?  Still, I might be mistaken, but when I reread my writing, it doesn’t seem terribly incoherent to me.  Until and unless I receive specific feedback from others, there’s no way to fact-check the matter except through my general agreement with other readers about the quality of other writers.

Such are the vagaries of epistemology.

Insomnia has been a longstanding problem for me, certainly ever since I’ve been an “adult.”  One part of that problem is that, unlike what seems to be the case for most people, sleep is not in an especially pleasant experience for me.  If anything, it’s rather dysphoric.  I don’t tend to remember any dreams—which is disappointing, given legends of such writers as Coleridge, who are reputed to have been led to some of their greatest works by slumberous visions.

For me, sleep is at best a bland phenomenon; I have trouble getting to sleep and I have trouble staying asleep.  I don’t resist sleep knowingly, and I certainly don’t fear it in the sense that inspired the apocryphal Edgar Allen Poe quip, “Sleep, those little slices of death, how I loathe them!”  Though Poe never wrote those words, as far as I know, he does seem to have been afraid of and resistant to sleep as a harbinger or precursor of death; he clearly feared premature burial (that dread features prominently in more than one of his stories).

This is not the nature of my problem.  I have no intellectual fear of death at all, though it’s hard to eliminate the purely biological drive to keep living.  I simply find sleep, if not actively unpleasant, somewhere between uninteresting and dreary.  The only time I’ve ever experienced real pleasure both at anticipating sleep and at experiencing it was when I was taking Paxil to treat depression.  That was certainly remarkable, but the medicine had more than enough detriment to counter that one benefit*, and it never did a very good job on my depression.

There’s little doubt that my chronic insomnia and my dysthymia/depression are related, and that the tendency for sleep to be thoroughly anhedonic to me is part and parcel of my dysthymia, though it long predates the latter problem.  I don’t remember any time in my life when sleep held real allure for me.  This tendency has been useful in many situations; I’ve never had trouble being an early riser, and when on call—either in hospital during residency, or from home later on in my practice—I never had much trouble quickly coming awake and being able to focus on whatever problem might need my attention.  And, of course, indifference to sleep was a very useful trait when my children were babies, allowing my then-wife to rest through the night far more often than many new mothers can.

Feeding and rocking my infant children in the silence of the night, now…that was a truly hedonic experience par excellence.

Nevertheless, like every organism with a nervous system, I do require sleep, though the nature of that need is far from fully understood by science.  When I go without enough of it, for long enough, it wears me out, and I know that it affects my cognitive functions, as well as my moods (though there’s a real chicken and egg problem involved in this latter issue).  So, I try—sometimes only halfheartedly, I’ll admit—to avoid succumbing to my insomnia.  But it can be hard just to lay in bed doing nothing and waiting to see if sleep arrives…or if it returns, as the case may be, when I awaken far too early in the morning.  I don’t tend to feel anxious or particularly stressed at such times, because again, I don’t particularly enjoy sleep, but I sometimes get angry at myself, knowing that I’m going to regret my sleeplessness later.

Oh well.  Whataya gonna do?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do:  keep chugging along, I suppose.  The editing of Unanimity continues to go well, despite a few computer issues; I’m still enjoying the story and the characters.  And, of course, my footnote reminded me that I have a substantially begun novella waiting in the wings, which I may even complete someday.  And, however much I tend to begin my blog posts with no clear idea where I’m going in any given week, it’s still a rewarding process.  If nothing else, I amuse myself, and that’s got to be worth something.

Hopefully, at least occasionally, some of you enjoy it, too.

TTFN


*When coming off it, I did have two experiences of sleep paralysis, which I’ve not experienced before or since, but which were astoundingly vivid and thoroughly terrifying.  The first centered on the comparatively benign illusion of a lion resting on my body and holding me in place, and the second—far worse—involved an indescribable, extradimensional monstrosity pinning me to my bed.  I’m somewhat proud to say that, on that second occasion, rather than try to scream or anything of the sort, I was able with great effort to force my head into motion—or to imagine that I did—and I bit the effing thing.  This woke me up fully at last.  I immediately recognized the well-described phenomenon for what it was, but that didn’t prevent me from feeling truly frightened for several long minutes afterward.  A version of that second experience has appeared in a current work in progress, the novella tentatively titled Safety Valve.  So, I guess I have used “dream” experiences to inspire my writing upon occasion.