Thursday, October 23, 2014

Still Running On Empty

I think it's exhaustion. That's the only explanation I can come with at a pinch. My mind has deserted me and it's been awhile. Every time I have to finish something, every time there is a deadline, I go to pieces. I cannot write, I cannot think, the words get away from me, until I force them, force them, force them...

I don't know what it is. I can't tell. Part of me is in mourning and I don't think it will ever get out of mourning. There are so many that I miss so much. They're not here anymore. They will never be here again. And I can't even hear their echoes or see their shadows, no, not even in my dreams.

If I try to read something fairly complicated, my mind shuts down and refuses to comprehend the words - they're just words, strung together in some sort of pattern that really, doesn't penetrate my thick skull.

I am tired most of the time, all I want to do is sleep or hide out or run away.

These waves, they frighten me.

At which point did I lose control over my life; at which point did I take the wrong path?

I can't tell. I survive now but barely. If I go on like this, they'll ask me to leave. And who could blame them? I'm of no use to anyone, especially myself, and I'm so tired and so sad...does this sadness ever go away, can this grief recede?

When it comes down to it now, I love nobody. No, not anyone now that Mummy and Arnold are dead. They died and took whatever tender feelings I had left with me. Not that I wish them alive...not in the condition they were. It is right that they are dead. But it doesn't feel right that I am alive when I really have no desire to live.

But I will.

I will put one foot in front of the other and force myself to go on because the alternative is just too much shit for those around me who don't deserve it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Endings

I'll never see you again. You have disappeared into that big somewhere and sometimes I try to find you but you're not there. I cannot feel you, wrap my arms around you and if I tell you I love you who knows if you hear?

I'll never see you again.

And maybe in time I will disappear myself and it will no longer matter.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Please Let Her Live

Dear God,

Please don't take my friend.

Please let her wake up after the operation.

Better.

Please let her live.

Please.

I love her.

These Be Strange Times

There I am tapping away at my computer transcribing yet another interview and it's the still watches of the night but I don't feel so forlorn because there Emily is, tapping away beside me and Li Ming, who was clearing stories, has just gone home. Misery lurves company, in fact, so much that when it has company, you're no longer miserable. Maybe that's what Robin Williams needed. Company.

Anyway, I suddenly remember that Jeff is supposed to introduce me to this professor at a local university and I forgot to remind him. And although it's past 11 I send him an email. He replies with an email introducing me to said professor. Yeah, at that time.

And I say: Thanks for the introduction Jeff. These be strange times to send emails.

And he answers: These be only times emails get sent.

I love my job. And the people I meet in the course of my job. And the ones who stick around to become friends.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Cranking it Up

Every once so often I feel like writing here. I have been short on sleep for a while now. Last night, it was my fault. I got home late after transcribing an interview and then, although I was dead tired, instead of sleeping I messed around with a template on Lulu.com, uploading short stories I had worked on over so many years, I don't remember how many. I want to make a book. I want to make a book for Christmas. Maybe I actually will. You know how fickle I get.

But right now, I type as fast as I can because there are so many stories to finish, so many interviews to do. I'm not the only one stretched to the limit. I look around and see the rest of them. Sarah has three interviews at the same time next Tuesday. That is going to take some managing. Emily was in late last night (she went back after 9 at night and when I got in early for a change this morning because I had a super early breakfast meeting) she was already here. Tapping away. Forehead scrunched up in deep concentration.

People send me emails and text messages at ungodly hours. People overseas. People here. Nobody seems to be sleeping. It is a situation I expect will continue until September. Which is when so many of these things are due. And then, we will all take a collective pause, sigh deeply, kick back our heels and maybe go to the beach to veg out. Let the brain which is cranking along at a godawful pace, take a breather.

The only good thing about having too much to do is I don't have time to drama. There is no time to wonder how I feel about things because I'm too busy doing to feel.

And maybe that's a good thing?

Letters delayed. Maybe I'll write some tonight if I'm not too tired.

Wired on strong coffee at the moment and due to go out for another interview. I think I need new batteries on my recorder. I think I need petrol; my tank is almost empty. I think I need to top up my Touch&Go.

I think I should start transcribing yet another interview.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Waking Up

I have spent the past week or so trying to sort through and clean up my mess. And there is a lot of it. I let things slide when Arnold was so sick and everything heaped up in corners and started to emanate smells. Bad smells. So bad that I was driven from my bed from a regrettable necessity of breathing once in a while. I wore out the sofa with my sweaty body all curled up, trying to get comfortable.

And then, at the start of the Raya holidays, I tried to shake off my apathy (no easy task, it's been there for so long it's grown roots and held me firmly in place, unmoving, unable to move) and I started. On Saturday, I called the plumber to come in and fix the leaky tap in the bathroom. Huh! I think times must be really bad because he came (with his little crew of two) almost immediately, so quickly, in fact, that I barely had time go to the nearest ATM and withdraw some money to pay him, and found himself a lot more work to do. OK, about the taps, I was not here when they arrived, so Dadda, taking advantage of the splendid opportunity of having a real plumber at hand, pointed out two other pipes that needed work. He quoted the earth, swearing, all the while, that it was the lowest he could go and he was getting only a small, tiny, minuscule, you'd need a microscope to see it, profit.

When I suggested that it was too much, and I only wanted that one pipe fixed, he paled. And said, no, no, do it all at once, since we are here already. Dadda shuffled his feet and looked embarrassed for having shown him the other pipes. It was unlikely that he was going to let go of that. So we knocked off about RM20 from his original quote (still way, way more than I was willing to pay) and then one of his crew, who had been walking around the house noting things that need to be fixed pointed out that the roof was leaking.

Here's the thing. It was. In fact, some of the wood had rotted clear through and we always knew we would have to get around to tackling it but it seemed like such a gargantuan task (not to mention expensive) task, that we had hemmed and hawed and promised to do something about it vaguely at some point in time, in the future. So while the boss of the outfit went out to get supplies, the dried up little fellow who specialised in fixing roof, got a ladder and shinned up. He took pictures with his nifty little phone to show how many places the roof was actually leaking. A lot. And then he quoted a price to repair...and I sighed because more and more of my pay check was being eaten up. And it was barely the beginning of the month.

But this really, was something that HAD to be done. So I gave them a downpayment on the job, and the guy went out to get more supplies...and while they were at it, I started to tackle some of the tasks I had neglected. Everything was in a fearsome mess.

Firstly, there were the dog beds. They needed to be scrubbed down with chlorox because they had attained a level of murkiness that had to be seen to be believed. And there was Elliott who was sleeping on one of these beds, and who had been scratching so violently that he had worn holes into his body. He needed to be bathed. And then there was the bathroom that I thought I would wash. And then there were the groceries that needed to be bought.

So the workmen worked and I worked and Dadda either watched them or played on his computer.

At the end of the day, I was so exhausted that I curled up and fell fast asleep on the sofa.

And so, day one. A lot accomplished. Oh, I forgot to say. When they started fixing the roof, they came across white ants eating through the beams. Yes, they could address that as well. But it was going to cost us. I watched fascinated as their bill got longer and longer. Gulp.

Day Two of the holidays I was pretty exhausted, but thought it would be a good time to tackle the hall. I would finally clean the fan, clean the windows, wash the curtains, dust the altar and everything else that needed dusting, swap the picture of the Sacred Heart for the one from JB. If I had tackled all of this in an organised way, I could probably have finished it in a day. But I was tired. And not organised.

So I cleaned a little, read a little from two of Mummy's old Mills and Boons novels that I had brought from JB because they made me nostalgic. Then cleaned some more. There was a point where everything was covered in dirt (shaken loose from the fan and various things across the hall)...and my hands were so black with dirt that I made marks on everything that I touched.

End of the day....hall still at sixes and sevens. I finished it the next day. Hung up the newly washed curtains, spread the newly washed cloth over the coffee table, put out the papers I had set aside for recycling (the recycling man came along and bought them for all of RM4). Then it was time to tackle my own room. The motherlode. The floor was so covered in stuff that I had been hopping over things to get to my bed. Not that I got to my bed much. I didn't like sleeping in it anymore. Here, the two days of holiday I had left was not sufficient. So the place was still in chaos when I had to go back to work.

And I've only just finished it today. Finally sweep and mop. And ah, isn't that better?

I bought nails and hung up some pictures. Ah, that feels better.

I feel now the room is organised I can start doing stuff. You know, stuff I want to do.

Like write my letters at my actual desk, instead of on the bed or on the sofa or at work or in restaurants or cafes.

Like, look at the projects I have neglected and come up with some ideas about what to do about them.

Like watch Youtube at my desk while I tackle my needlework project-du-jour.

Maybe now I've freed up some of the energy here, I can get moving again.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

And After The Storm, The Calm...

I feel so much better this week. I feel like Arnold's spirit has really moved on, and yes, to a better place, which I was not so sure about last week when I sensed his restless presence, like he was unwilling to move on without me, like he still wanted to say goodbye.

And now, I'm slowly gathering all my energies because, well, there's so much to do as far as work is concerned. Maybe if I can transcribe fast enough and decide who I'm going to interview fast enough and sort of juggle a million little niggling things, as well as read whatever I am supposed to read, whatever I want to read, I'll be OK.

Not there yet, but getting there.

I feel blessed to have the friends I have...I could feel their prayers holding me up or letting me ride on waves.

Elliott waits for me to come home and then he's eager for his walk. No time to sit and chat or rest or read a book. Just change my shoes (if I need to) get his lead and pooper scooper and a plastic bag (in case he needs to poop, which he rarely does because he would have gone out on a walk earlier with Dadda) and we go the long way, which he enjoys so much more...his walks having been seriously abbreviated versions recently.

Then I shower (or not), put on jammies and crash on the sofa...trying to read a book, write a letter and watch a silly movie (or box set) at the same time. It doesn't work, naturally. I end up having my attention pulled by whatever's going on on the screen, no matter how silly. (So today the TV is silent as I read Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit. It's either that or The Nature of Investing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hey Arnold, I Love You So

I cleaned the hall and mopped the floor late last night. And I dusted the top of the TV cabinet which had been caked in dust for weeks. I would see it, and want to do something about it and then not. Sometimes I would trail my finger along the dust and leave an indentation. And then, not do anything else...so dust, upon dust, upon dust. And fingermarks.

And I sort of hung Mum's picture up so she could smile at me more clearly from over the TV set.

Today's been a sad and strange day. I know I have to get back to work. So I sort of did. And I can do that with no emotion, nothing else to pull at me.

And maybe tomorrow, I can write the letters I have neglected to write because my dog was busy dying and I didn't have the heart to. I didn't have the heart to do a lot of things.

Both Elliott and I know he is definitely gone. He's left no shadow behind. That is a good thing, I suppose. I wish I knew he was happy now, running free in some fragrant field somewhere, wagging his tail, being loved by angels...everyone strokes Arnold's fur, it's just so soft.

It was soft when he died. I cut some off before that. As a keepsake. And I have his collar. His bowl, Elliott can take for his indoor bowl....so now Elliott has an indoor bowl and an outdoor bowl.

And except for certain weeping jags, I feel OK. I feel sort of hard and flinty and emotionless. I'm wondering about that. Arnold came into my life and opened up my heart. Is it set to close up again?

Hey Arnold, it was time to go,
Hey Arnold, I loved you so,
Hey Arnold, I love you so.