Last night’s anxiety dream

Sunday night’s dream was that I was late to a concert and then when I got there I was the only person in a mask, plus a nice little dab of high school anxiety. Last night, I had a dream where I was the only other person nearby while a cop was being brutal and abusive toward a Black woman at a traffic stop, only I couldn’t figure out how to get my phone to record a video and by the time I managed to parse the UI he already had her in his car and had driven off.

The really ridiculous part is that the dream also included the post-arrest Twitter rant I went on, which was about, not policing, not a description of the arrest … but about how app designer’s obsession with subtle UI elements has led to a world where something simple like “I want to record this thing happening in front of me” requires me to carefully look at every part of the screen in case there’s a tiny, 50% transparency circle in the top right corner that I’m supposed to naturally realize means “record.”

Which, uh, isn’t how my phone works at all— the “record” button is literally giant, centered, and red– but hey, dream.

More later. If nothing else, I know Mark Oshiro put up another video from Remember that I need to watch and post.

Turn, turn, turn

My stress level has been through the roof lately, to the point where putting more than two or three words together even on here requires a lot more psyching myself up than it ever used to. And when I say “ever,” I mean dating back to my first blog, so we’re going back like fifteen or sixteen years here.

The one thing that has been keeping me sane the last few days has, no shit, been woodworking videos. They are astonishingly calming. I can’t get enough of them, and I’m going to have to be careful to not accidentally buy a lathe before school starts:

Mental health update

The portion of my brain that is able to view the rest of me dispassionately would like to report that it is fascinated at how much legit fucking emotional stress I am experiencing at the idea that Bernie Sanders might be the Democratic nominee for President, an experience that I’m pretty certain I’ve never had during a Democratic primary before, and I’ve been paying attention to these things for a minute now.

The rest of me … well, it’s glad that that one part is fascinated, I suppose. It would also appreciate it if it could motivate me to grade something or take a shower, now that it’s 4:30 in the God damn afternoon.

In which I’m not here right now

This song has nothing to do with the post.

I slept last night, at least in the technical sense, and I vaguely remember even being pretty comfortable, so it wasn’t a tossy-turny sort of night, but hell if I didn’t spend the entire night having constant, vivid anxiety dreams of the sort of “I’m late for work/unprepared for class/can’t find my clothes/everything is going wrong” sort of genre, along with a handful of actual nightmares that I don’t remember as specifically. I still owe you guys a post about the training last week and I want to review a game called Salt and Sanctuary that ate a large chunk of my free time last week (and is about to eat an hour of tonight) but I’m going to bed early tonight and I’m going to hope I’m more of a human being at work tomorrow than I was today.

That said, briefly: I’ve had a couple of days recently where I know good and goddamned well that I’d have come home from work and immediately spent the entire evening stressing out and looking at want ads, and since I’ve been on the Effexor … well, the job and the kids aren’t better, but my reactions to them have been a hell of a lot healthier. Like, I can have a bad day at work now and come home and just lay the shit aside and have a nice night with my family. This shit is a miracle drug, which is not something I’d ever have said about Lexapro. I could be writing more fiction, but … well, that’s never not true, so meh.

I’ll try and be more productive tomorrow.

On George R.R. Martin and stress

This is not a review of the Game of Thrones finale. I might write one of those, but for right now, no. Feel free to read this without fear of any spoilers. It is also not another why won’t he finish the booooooks whine, because 1) George R.R. Martin is not your bitch and 2) I have plenty to read. So adjust your expectations accordingly before you read further.

Y’all, I am, honestly and sincerely, kinda worried about George.

Here’s the thing: you may be aware that I wrote a book called Skylights, a book which ends in such a way that strongly suggests that at least one sequel is forthcoming. Skylights was released in 2014 and the first draft was completed well before that, and was set in a near enough future that it now demands a second edition where I’ve elided most of the actual dates.

I have been thinking about the Skylights sequel for, I think, close to a decade now, if not longer than that. I have taken several serious stabs at writing it, all of which have failed. In that time, precisely zero people have pushed me for a release date or tried to buttonhole me about what happens next. Have people liked the book? Yeah, generally. But there’s no popular groundswell out there for a sequel. Nobody’s chewing their nails or mad at me that the book’s not done yet. If it were to never come out absolutely no one would be upset. The pressure is entirely, 100% internal.

And that goddamn unwritten-ass book is a source of stress in my life every single fucking day. I literally do not go a single day, ever, without chiding myself for not working on the Skylights sequel. Does it make me continue to work on it? No. No, it does not.

And Skylights is a sequel to one book, featuring a constrained cast of characters, and not the sixth (or seventh!) book in a massive doorstop series that a huge chunk of the world knows exists and has been clamoring for for decades.

I think about what this dude must have been going through, having sold this series to TV, and having to watch the slow-motion nightmare apocalypse unfold as the TV series gets closer and closer and finally passes the narrative in the books, and having to have a conversation with people about where he sees the ending going (and I will never believe that he had actually decided on the ending long enough ago to talk to HBO about it) and then, to make things so, so much worse, to have the first ending to his story be so universally despised as this one was.

I want to say something like “Oh, he can just lie down in his giant pile of money and not worry about it,” but you know, I really don’t think GRRM is actually that type of person. I don’t know him; I’ve never met the man, but I just don’t see that. (And if he is, that’s fine! Again, GRRM is not your bitch, or mine, either.)

I’m just picturing myself in this situation, and thinking about how I literally cannot conceive of any way that this deal might have gone any worse for him than the way it did, regardless of the money. Even cancellation would have been better, because then he wouldn’t have had the indignity of having to watch someone else finish his story while he continues to struggle with these massive, unwritable books– and to have to watch them do so in a way that nearly everyone agreed was terrible.

I would not be able to cope with this shit, y’all. Just would not. And no amount of money would help me with it. Again, I’m stressing about Sunlight, or Moonlight, or whateverthefuck it’s going to be called if I ever release it, and no one cares about that but me. He’s literally going through what I’m going through times several million.

So yeah. I’m worried about him right now. Maybe he should be trying to take a swim in his huge pile of money, if he’s not already doing it.