Things not going perfect

Oh hai.

I’ve started a number of small projects in the last few months. Starting involving conceiving them, figuring out the details and taking first small steps. And not a single venture has been a complete success.

The stock I bought for my vintage shop is not ideal. There is only one item in mint condition. The others have slight signs of wear and one item makes me think why ever did I buy it. Who would be so crazy to buy something so impractical? Well, I liked the colour. And maybe someone likes it too. And if no one does, I will turn it into cat toys. Because the colour is wonderful and the material is sturdy.

My cat emporium. I was very pleased to have finally found an outlet for my half-hearted wish some 5 years ago – that of making pillows for an additional income. Pillows is the only thing I’m good at designing and sewing, but I couldn’t think of who would buy such things. Now I’ve turned it into making sleeping mattresses for cats. And at first it seemed like a brilliant idea. Until I realised I’d have to make buttons or use zippers rather than make the cases fixed to the mattresses for eternity. My sewing machine is not good enough. It’s from the 1950s. It can’t do finishing well. It can’t do nice button holes. And a new one costs a bunch. But it has to be figured out somehow.

The cat toy I made yesterday lacks stuffing and I need to open it up again (if possible), but it looks better than I expected, so this is a small success among the countless little setbacks.

And lastly, there is my writing. I was feeling unusually confident the last few months. I felt I had become a writer. I could write all of a sudden. And C was not right for telling me I could not. I do develop. I had done so with seemingly no effort, mere absorption of good writing. Anyway, I was bursting with things to write. I wrote some snippets. They confirmed my feelings. I had improved. It was wonderful.

I carried a bunch of ideas with me for a week and a half and then – when I put them down, all the old problems raised their ugly heads again. I got stiff, I got inhibited, I had nothing to say, the inspiration had faded. Thou must not wait for thine inspiration to flee! This is one golden rule I ignored that time. Inhibition is an old friend. I have to consciously deal with that. When I write for an audience, I want it to be good, and the wanting it to be good and the presence of an audience has an unusually crippling effect on me. Just as doing a public presentation or standing in front of a camera has. The desire to be good overrides everything, and you end up sounding really bad, because you are not yourself any more and are afraid of words and unusual turns of phrase. Safety becomes the guiding force. Tedium, effort. When truly inspired, I am a little more free of that, but it is never entirely gone and definitely a constant enemy I have to tackle with.

What with all these setbacks, I haven’t yet reached the “I’m not doing it” it phase, though. I’m a little discouraged, but the main thing is to keep at it and some of the setbacks also seem very natural. Of course my first vintage stock trip would not be a complete success. It’s not like I’d end up losing money on it either. I will do better next time. The cat toys can be fixed or new ones made. The sewing I will try to figure out somehow. This is the most daunting of the lot for sure. But learning to make beautiful buttonholes IS a matter of practice and if it allows me to sell pillows for cats, I will learn it. Yes, I’m a terribly weird crazy cat person, okay?

And writing, I did a number of things wrong, which led to the first result being poor. I will try again.

 

 

Curiosity

Isn’t it a little bit wonderful, and curious, how people, what with all their self-centredness, take an interest in the world, and I don’t mean the world of other humans (like me with my interest in human nature), their ways, motivations and creations , but in things completely out of the humanosphere – like birds and mosses. What drives a person to want to understand the life of mosses? What is it to us how these mosses live in the forest? The possibility of learning something beneficial to us, such as discovering medicinal properties of plants or finding things in the behaviour of higher animals that could add to our understanding of human behaviour, yes. There is that. But, but.  It’s not always that.

Bog body

 

Postmodernist meaninglessness

Reading legal documents is sometimes worse than any postmodernist work of doom and gloom and general lack of meaningfulness.

Marriage turns into an economic contract and child custody laws make the child into a property of the parents. The child’s life is thus neatly split between two parents, because the right of both parents to see their child equally is superior to the child’s right to a stable, settled environment. But it’s not really that. I could envision a teenager who may even enjoy the change of scene. It’s the tone of these things. The extreme regulation, the splitting of hairs to achieve equality.

Films watched

This is going to be longer than my books list.

Favourites

Ben-Hur (1959) – Did I really watch it for the first time in 2017? It seems like I’ve been familiar with it much longer.

Jeux d’enfants  (2003) – I rated this with a 7 on my Imdb account, but it has grown on me and stayed with me. It’s completely twisted, but very powerful and romantic. My favourite type of plot, the “us against the world” movie. Obviously no form of depravity is too great to spoil the romance of that for me.

Trouble in Paradise (1932) – Outstanding black-and-white comedy. Gorgeous opening scenes. Loved the romance and the humour and the realism.

Trouble-in-Paradise-22169_3

A scene from Trouble in Paradise

 

Quite highly liked

Il Grido (1957) – Melancholy, beautiful, realistic

The Snake Pit (1948) – Probably the best portrayal of mental illness from early Hollywood that I’ve seen.

Die Puppe (1919) – Wonderful humour, unexpected for something made in 1919

La signora di tutti (1934)

He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not (2002) – Charming

La double vie de Veronique (1991)

 

Liked well enough

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

The Lost Moment (1947)

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Les enfants du paradis (1945)

The Last Station (2009)

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Stroszek (1977)

The Painted Veil (2006)

 

Not my cups of tea

Les Amants (1958) – The story was implausible the way it was portrayed and the characters seemed to hover around without actually being present in the moment. Visually, the scenes towards the end were beautiful, but it didn’t save it for me. It just struck no chord at all.

Raintree County (1957) – Tries to be a great epic, but does not quite deliver.

 

 

Meanderings

Birds are singing! I can’t believe this.

Since there is no winter any more in my country, they figured they might as well skip straight to March. If only the weather would follow suit and give us an early spring, an early May, with blossoms and things.

I almost want to go out for a walk in the forest to see if there are any signs of this false early spring other than birdsong.

When I haven’t been melancholy, I’ve been very nostalgic lately.

Even my nightdreams are filled with nostalgia. Sports, school days, the people I knew once, checking what they are up to now. Then watching videos of life in the 1930s. Haymaking and summer camps.

Much that has happened in my twenties has been a mistake. Sometimes I feel hot flashes of shame running from heart to head when I think of the stupidity of myself. But then there are some redeeming factors, like the discovery of beauty and poetry, and that there were people like me in the world, though extremely few. It wasn’t a happy time. Happy times stopped at 18. I just tried to do the best I could given the circumstances I was in. It wasn’t very good, but I’m a lenient person on shortcomings if they result from weakness and stupidity, not malice. I was lost and immature, like a lot of young people. I had no confidence.

But I rather like to hurl abuse at life and circumstance, instead of being humble and wallowing in the misery of my bad fortune. I find it somehow satisfying to say “I’ve had a rotten life/youth”. The anger and passion I put in that statement feels good. I have very high internal locus of control, but this statement incorporates the acknowledgement that at least in this, circumstances were to blame. As in: you are dealt a rotten hand at cards, but you try your best to make something of it. That would be the best metaphor to describe my life.

Life is almost a personification to me. With a leprechaun’s temperament. Or any mythical creature from European folklore who can be both generous and very mean. I see myself as forever battling against Life. I think not yielding to misfortune in spirit is important. If Life gives me some horrible disease, I want to be able to laugh in its (Life’s) face and continue hurling abuse at it.

I’m being very weird now, I guess. I don’t suppose a lot of people have personified life. Some have a god, but it would be inappropriate to shake your fist at a god. Life, on the other hand….Oh yes.

Things read

I’ve read a whopping twelve books last year plus some poetry! That makes one book a month. I feel so ashamed of myself compared to the bloggers posting their reading summaries of 90 or 150 books.

 

What I loved

O. Wilde “Decay of Lying” (a re-read)

R. Rolland “Jean-Christophe”, I

F. Hodgson Burnett “Secret Garden”

W. B. Yeats “Adam’s Curse”

 

What I liked

F. Molnár “The Pál Street Boys”

E.T.A. Hoffmann “Golden Pot and Other Stories”

Other poems of W. B. Yeats

 

Funniest

Poetry of Catullus

 

Okay

L. Tolstoy “War and Peace”, I

E. Nesbit “The Railway Children”

S. Lagerlöf “The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson”

 

Disappointing

T. Hardy “Under the Greenwood Tree”

M. Shelley “Mathilda”

J. Fowles “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”

 

Boring

S. Lewis “Arrowsmith”

 

The good thing is that I didn’t read a single truly bad book, because boring, disappointing and bad are not the same things.

Poetry

The world that comes off from the poetry of John Clare is so wholesome and inviting. I want that world to be mine one of those days. And even if I cannot write in words, because written poetry is really not my forte, I can experience the poetry of things and learn the names and ways of various birds and plants and trees. I can live in that world instead of reading about it and sighing and pretending the little forest grove and meadow near my ugly house is countryside. Well, I suppose it kind of is countryside, but regardless. I want to see that:

DSC00075

……when I look out of the window.

And this poem is ever so pretty:

All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal: and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There’s nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal it its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.

Having grown up lived on poetry like this and nothing modern, the challenge of writing contemporary nature poetry has a strange appeal. But.

Values

I encountered an opinion that for an intellectually stimulating and rich life one requires money. The reasoning being that otherwise you cannot go to the theatre, travel, go to concerts and participate in various courses.

 

LOL. Stupid wannabe educated middle class narrow-mindedness at its best.

Fossilization

This should be a useful post, a good post. After a long silence, one should do that, I suppose, write something meaningful and pithy. But I’m instead going to write something very dull.

I thought this morning, as I was checking out different phone companies to switch to a cheaper contract, that maybe I should get myself a new phone with the new contract too. A budget smartphone instead of my old regular phone so that people would stop rolling their eyes when they see me take out my phone. I’m not totally immune to that. Also, the thing I’m missing is not being able to transfer photos to other devices more easily and having a chat programme, so I can do away with regular text messages with people who also use the same IM service.

Since I wouldn’t be using most of the gadgets that come with it, the cheapest models seemed to be the thing to go for. I don’t even care for high picture quality. Adequate would do. And if the device gets so little use for all its extras, paying a lot seems foolish.

I picked out two models that seemed okay, but the moment I checked their battery life, I went off the idea completely. Having to charge them every day seems extremely tedious. Particularly if I’d hardly be using the apps and things that take up all the battery. My old phone lasts 5-7 days without being charged and I suppose one could get used to it lasting a day, but given what I would get in return for this increase in discomfort, it doesn’t balance out. For half the price it might make sense.

So I’ll stick to my old phone until it stops working and continue annoying and surprising people with not having a smartphone. The discomforts that come with it are not daily, but occasional at least.

Findings

I was spending Sunday morning reading up on specific psychiatric disorders and stumbled upon something like nidotherapy. This type of therapy seeks to achieve a better fit between the personality and needs of the patient and their environment.

First off, it was a pleasure to see that my own scattered ideas and leanings regarding what might potentially the most beneficial therapy had a term for it. It also seems to be quite a new approach, but I hope it fares well and will be perfected in time and lead to a change in attitude in the treatment of a lot of mood and personality disorders. Too many people receive no benefit from conventional drug treatment nor cognitive behavioural therapy. It does seem truly hard to implement, however, but my highly subjective and non-evidence-based opinion is that there is no better treatment for most personality disorders and mood disorders than this, and even scizophrenia could be made more tolerable if the environment of the person was suited to their personality and …..um, biology.

Also, The Secret Garden sounds like a manual of nidotherapy and its successful implementation.