Dealing with a Weird New Tic 

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I am developing a weird nervous tic. It's getting serious. I'm sure it's multiple sclerosis. For three days my left eyelid has been twitching.

After another day of screwing up at work, (very deservedly) getting scolded, taking no lunch, taking no breaks, working insane overtime, making no dent in the paper tower from my desk to Kuiper Belt, punching 9 for out on my home phone, discovering more funds mis-appropriated from my budget due to poor typing skills (the latter being the fault of others, but the responsibility of cleaning the mess being mine) - after such a day, I teeter between pure escapism or suicidal thoughts.

Tonight I am not really sure whether I should fantasize about the day my novel is published and I am handed a life-altering advance that enables me to quit working, or whether I should wallow in the thought that global warming and its attendant disasters will put me out of my misery before retirement.

Yes, fantasies are nice. Millions of people go through rough patches at work, and they hold up the Seychelles as the carrot that entices them to keep going through the motions. I do suspect that dwelling on escapist fantasies, instead of the dull nightmare of a Sisyphean existence, might make life worthwhile, yet I don't have the energy to think about the nice things or even of anything outside work. Work has all my focus.

Usually, when I can't concentrate, I make lists.

It's like a dream I once had. I must have been eight or nine. In my dream, someone handed me a Hot Wheels car and somehow I knew I had some obligation to eat it. I stuffed the car into my mouth and swallowed it. It got stuck in my throat, but I gulped it down. Then I was handed a larger toy car and I had to eat it. I managed to get this one down and I was given another, bigger car. Finally, I was given a real car, a Lambourghini. I woke up and threw up.

If I had taken the car apart, cut into small pieces, I could have eaten that Lambourghini too. It's that way with lists. You take something big and break it down into the smalled parts possible. I need to break down escapist thoughts into manageable chunks so I can start gobbling them up.

The novel fantasy:
  • My $100,000 advance puts me in league with other big-time writers. Money begats money, and soon I hire an architect to design my dream home, just like Susan Orlean.

  • For "research" on my next novel, I spend every second year in Romania.

  • Every third year, I treat myself out to a vacation in Ethiopia, though sometimes I experiment with Tunisia or Finland.

  • I get all huffy that the film version of my zombie novel puts that Paltrow girl in the lead role. My character is so not a bubbly blonde. I bitch about this on national tv and fans boycott the film.

  • However, I use the royalties from the film to buy a second home in Bologna and a third home in Tahiti.

  • I get a job at McDonalds for a month so I can get in touch with my proletarian roots. Then I quit when the Rushdies and the Beckhams invite me over to London for a joint weekend party.

  • I write another six sequels to my novel, then kill off the main character. Then I never write again.
Then there's the gloom-and-doom scenario:
  • Thanks to global warming, I develop a weird heat rash which requires me to spend all my waking hours soaking in a tub, much like Marat. This means I lose my job.

  • Higher temperatures lead to a surge in Canadian cockroach populations. My long dormant roach phobia plays havoc with my grip on reality as I hallucinate bugs.

  • The rising water levels means my mountain-top abode is now a waterfront property. Then a tsunami strikes. I make it to higher ground in time, but my house is gone. Unfortunately, I neglected to insure against tidal waves.

  • Now homeless, I decide to try my luck fruit-picking. By this time, the Okanagan valleys are a dust bowl and I wander from town to town looking for work, carrying my cardboard box everywhere. Like a cast on a broken limb, other hoboes autograph my box with their illiterate crawlings. It's my last foray into the literary world.

  • As a result of my deforming skin rash, prostitution is out for me. However, a kindly travelling circus hires me on as "The Aligator." Before I get my first pay cheque, a Hummer runs over the manager, and, without the leadership, the circus disbands.

  • My cardboard box, discarded at the first sign of employment, has disintegrated in the freak flash floods that now plague Saskatchewan.

  • With the skies obscured by carbon dioxide clouds, I cannot navigate by the sun's position, and I inadvertently make my way into the Arctic. Outside Inuvik city limits, I am caught in a blizzard and freeze to death. In a thousand years, archaeologists discover my mummified corpse and attribute my death to druidic iron age sacrifices.
My friend MaikoPunk summed up the reasons why people blog: "We all have our own motivations for pressing on with this blogging thing, whether it's to write, keep up with friends, get popular, or make money."

Tonight it's something I am doing to stop thinking about work and this post-apocalyptic mindset is helping. The eyelid hasn't twitched in twenty minutes.

Damn, reached the end of my thoughts tonight. Time to dwell on my professional hopelessness again. Oh, look, it's four hours since I left work and I am still wearing my nametag. At least the cat and the hamster will always remember my name.


And I thought *I* was good at doom and gloom scenarios... but wow. I tip my hat!

I keep forgetting to tell you, at my craft show near Atlanta, a woman in my booth was speaking a beautiful but unknown (to me) language. I asked her what it wasn and she said Romanian! So now I've heard Romanian. :)
You know something, my comments get eaten up here a lot too. I hope this finds you doing better. And I hope that you get those negative scenarios out of your head because I was just reading a book by a woman who says you'll make all them come true with the power of your mind. So only think positive thoughts like "I deserve to live in a dream home that is divinely protected from tsunamis."
okay, so I am getting a bit tired of reading this blog written by a brilliantly talented writer who is not actively getting published. I think that this piece you have written here is prime for publishing and suggest that you submit it somewhere immediately- before the start of 2007. Skim the Writer's Market, pick a place, and send it. it is hysterically funny, intelligent, and I would be astounded if it did not get published. Best of all, you mention your book- hence, powerful agent reading your published bit will get in touch and say, "This story shows great promise, can I see this book you mention?" If you don't do it, I shall be very angry. And since it is abundantly clear that your job is in the trash, you really need to do something--- quick. I know all too well how impossible it is to salvage a job once you are in "that" place. Real jobs-- they are just not for folks like "us" and you know it. So stop pretending to be someone else. Lyn
Hi Maktaaq:
I wonder about my blog from time to time too, but I've spent too much time on it to drop it completely. Hopefully, goodness comes to those who wait.

Thanks for your comment on the Ross Bay Cemetary pics. That storm three weeks ago thwarted my plan to check out the Cherry Bank Hotel and I had to hurry home in Whistler in case a power outage froze the plumbing and my budgies. Next time...

Hope your tic is gone. That's inconvenient.
eat a banana for the eye twitch or take some potassium pills.

the job sounds like a real grind. reminds me of my old job at kpmg.

let your husband/fiancee work while you write? i dunno.
ah hem, ummm, my life is totally on hold whilst waiting for your next installment. As a blogger you do have responsibilities you know, I am certain I saw that in the big book of blogging....

Oh, I'm sorry you're feeling down. I hope you continue writing. And in the meantime, take pride in the fact that "you" are the person of the year:
Completely irrelevant to your post, but far too brilliant to not share with the world at large. The detail that went into this is rather amazing.

Rurality: Romanian beautiful? Mostly non-Romanians think it sounds like cacophony. :)

Anonymous: I deserve to live in a dream home that is divinely protected from tsunamis. I think I can think that.

Lyn: Your words are good. I am working on the second draft of the novel. But brilliant literature it ain't. It's a cheesy zombie novel. And tampon crafts? Now I have to go back through the comments for all the Paris Hilton crotch shots because some horny teen left a really hilarious tampon quote somewhere. Watch this space for my top ten sexy tampon quotes of 2006 list.

Joyce: Don't drop the blog! I love seeing your projects and the non-tourist side of a ski resort!

Jonathan: The tic, I've been told, might last up to two years.

Anonymous 2: The banana tic cure? I'll have to try it.

D: Thanks for making me feel better. I need to wear my blogging t-shirt so people will know it was me on the cover of Time.
Oh my gosh, this was such a cool and funny post (as always with you). I see that my three months (!!!) that I have once again neglected blogging I am missing out.

That Paltrow girl -- LOL! NOT for your zombie novel!!

You know, your post reminded me of how it has been "armageddon week" on the history channel and how un-holiday is that, LOL. I found myself thinking about not just global warming or pandemics but also gamma ray pulses, black holes, or the possibility that a giant asteroid could hit on my birthday in 2029 or 2036. Good times. ;) We've got to get our fiction published this year!! Carpe diem!! $100K advances! :)
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