Thursday, August 02, 2007


I have found it interesting of late to monitor my early morning behavior. My struggle with nightmares seems to have eased for the moment, yet I still sighed when I realized I was awake about 20 minutes ago. Chienne, who had been sleeping on the far side of the bed, head on a pillow and covered to her shoulders, rose to scratch at her muzzle. I have yet to take her to Friend to get her next allergy shot and so must suffer the allergies with her at night.

Sprout continues to act with crazed energy, racing about the house. I can hear him in the kitchen as he begins to sprint toward the bedroom, hitting the mattress hard enough to jar me from sleep even when Chienne is peaceful. She sometimes growls at him in warning when he tries to bat at her nose. Other times I growl in a futile demand for quiet.

The habit of rising at 3 or thereabouts is not one I miss. While I enjoy the flexibility of my job that has allowed me to edit the beginnings of my novel for the last two days (I'm on page 72 of 190 at the moment), I do struggle without some structure. The isolation is odd though. It allows me to exist more completely in my own head, which usually isn't all that wondrous an event, but seems to work for writing. I pick up speech patterns very easily so I notice when I start to sound too much like someone else, even in the daily writing of email.

I've picked up Friend's sarcasm, though I don't use it with the wit she often finds. My humor isn't quite as dark as hers though, so I often have to ask if she's being mean to me. She has started to call me defensive for some reason. Eschewing blogging for work (how different we are), Friend appears to be making some progress at the office. She was, I think, a bit annoyed when her air conditioner ceased to function. Four times, if memory serves. At the end of July. In the South.

I also have learned to write manuscripts like Boss. I find myself using his words and adopting his structure. The latter is a vital skill when considering my habit of hiding the most important sentence in the middle of a paragraph. I'm also getting better at organizing. While I've always known what information goes in what section in some sense, I was terrible at writing the results of a paper until now. And I wanted to put all the discussion in the introduction. It's now much easier for me to find homes for all my information and Boss has much less to do with arrows and footnotes to get paragraphs moved around in some reasonable order.

Picking up and incorporating speaking or writing snippets isn't a bad thing for me. But as I talk to my parents at least once a day to check on Mom - something I haven't done since moving out at 18 (I do exchange daily emails with my mother though), I find myself thinking and speaking in a way that feels more like me.

"I'm glad I stopped therapy." I told Mom last night, though I can't remember why. "It was good for me at the time, but it's taken me some time to get Dr. Counselor out of my head." I don't hear him anymore and find I like that his influence has eased considerably. Instead, I think of times in the middle of the night spent with Mom as she struggled through pain and sickness. As I kept her company, she'd ask questions about my life and I'd answer. Instead of offering bits of poetry and stories of other clients that don't quite fit with my particular problem, she listened.

Her eyes would meet mine as she stopped seeking a more comfortable position on the couch and she would frown in sympathy when I said I didn't fit in at work. Or that I was afraid I wasn't going to find someone to love. She never offered solutions or breathing techniques or visualization schemes. Honestly, I could never quite get comfortable with them, though they were sometimes effective. Instead there was a quiet confidence and constant love that gave me comfort.

"I don't worry about you like I used to." She offered. "You're strong and you're smart and you will figure this out."

I find that I've stopped sharing some of my life with them because I understand they don't get it. Like my papers that they've tried to read multiple times.

"I don't know what some of those words mean." Dad would report, looking befuddled as he held a copy of the journal that gave me a cover figure. Boss sent me home with a copy for them in the spring. "And your mom lost the dictionary so I couldn't even look them up."

"I did lose it." She admitted when I glanced at her. "Can't we use one online?"

I smiled and told her they could, but it wasn't so important that they understood what I had written. Dad looked relieved and put the journal on the shelf next to my dissertation. It still sits there proudly.

But as we talk more, I find my thought patterns aligning with Mom's and it's comfortable. I feel like me rather than some awkward quilt of pieces I've picked up from too many years in higher education. So I've started to wonder if I'm too much of a sponge. If I get too dry when away from my family for too long, so I start to soak up traits that don't quite fit. Yet when I'm in my proper environment, I'm not so desperate. I'm still absorbent, but not to the same "Is that liquid?! I need liquid! I'll just take that!" degree.

I think part of my recent isolation - in addition to pure contentment as I spend hours at my laptop, refining a story I've been trying to tell or analyzing data I find as fascinating as it is frustrating - is the protection of this balance. It's easy to say that I wouldn't soak up anything wrong when I'm not exposed to it.

In the event that this made little sense, I'll note that I don't think particularly well while I should be sleeping. Which is why I'm not working on the book or my paper. I am feeling very focused and happy when I do spend time with either though. Thoughts seem to coalesce in a satisfying way as I read more journals and make sense of what my histograms reveal or move chapters around so that the flow is improved and the plot slowly develops. I find I'm mentally tired when I snuggle in bed at night. Which is lovely, of course, but leads to blog posts that are titled with times rather than words and that bounce around in what I hope wasn't too jarring a manner.


flossie said...

It's 4:41 a.m. as I read this, so it really hits home... Here's hoping for more sleep time and less blog time in the middle of the night, for both of us :)

Cee said...

I was glad when you stopped seeing Dr Counsellor too - I thought it was strange that he discussed other patients with you, and trying to set you up with another patient was very odd. From my very distant perspective, you never seemed terribly happy after his sessions - your writing seems happier now than it was then :-)

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