It's not just the work that's oppressive though. I feel stagnant. I've worked this job for over 2 months now, and while I've learned a good deal about the business aspect of film and built what I think will be a very nice reference.* In addition I've gotten some experiences and inspiration that should serve me well. It's been a reasonably valuable couple of months for that facet of my life. On the other hand I feel like my writing has taken a step backwards. I don't quite understand this, except as a function of being busier and expending energy elsewhere. One of the most common pieces of advice given to aspiring writers or artists is to take the leap and make writing your life, because you can't do it part time and do it well. I'm starting to think that's good advice, but I'm going to continue on my current trajectory because I think I need more external stimuli than my normal life gives. I don't go out to clubs or even see friends that much. At this point in time I don't have any external activities or volunteer work, though that will change eventually. I need to remain rooted in the world.
The creative troubles wouldn't be so bad if there were other things going on, but there aren't. In August I was 10 pounds lighter than I am now and thinking that by now I'd be at least 25 pounds lighter than I was then. Work and the cold have reduced my exercising, while my diet has only just recently gotten back on track. I know it's a lifelong battle, and that regrets are pointless, but it's frustrating nonetheless. Then there's my stop and start "social life." Some weeks I am out every night and then for long stretches I don't see anybody. I just stay at home or go do chores or whatever and my only human interaction comes from telemarketers and over the stupid Internet. My cellphone hasn't rung in many days, one of the things I don't like about having one. With a cellular phone you can not be getting calls 24 hours a day, instead of just while you're at home.
Then there's my class. I've enjoyed it and I've seen some great films, but one class is just unfulfilling. It's too sporadic, too jolting. I have a midterm due Monday and I haven't done anything on it. If I can get into the right frame of mind I'll be fine. Those of you who are loyal longtime readers know that it's my style to procrastinate and then finish with a burst of angst and energy. Regardless the fact that I feel disengaged and the upcoming deadline are filling me with low level dread. I need to get reading and writing and thinking. Tomorrow morning. I keep saying that.
So on Friday I went to this Italian restaurant for lunch, and it was sitting there that the emotions really hit me. I was alone, and eating in a sit-down restaurant by yourself can be an emotional experience. There were some old couples from Arizona there, and a family celebrating something. They seated me by the kitchen with the waitstaff going in and out past me. Despite this it took them about 15 minutes to take my order. They gave me a salad they had made for someone else who, it turned out, hadn't ordered it. The bread basket they bought looked absolutely delicious, but I had to turn it away, of course. The dish itself was fine, chicken and sausage no carbs, but the proprietor was annoying as hell, always shouting at the busboys and over managing. Sitting there, looking at the big screen TV (turned off) and listening to Sinatra** I felt lousy. I'm used to eating alone, I don't expect to have anyone to eat with now, or ever, but it just felt sad. I need an anchor. It's a recurring issue, I know, but it recurs because it's important.
By today I felt better, and I'm sure that as I adjust to Atkins and get past this test I'll start to feel better still. I got some exercise and I'll be buying an exercise bike soon, after my check from work clears. Still I need to address the gaping void. Normal people have friends and relationships and community. That's too much to ask for me, for a variety of reasons. I'm just looking for something to satisfy. When I'm writing well that does it. When I'm not...well...that bread basket looked REALLY good.
I should get some sleep. I have work to do in the morning and I just saw the worst Meg Ryan movie of all time, not that it doesn't have significant competition. Frustration and loneliness are just a drag. Part of life, the lows help define the highs and all that, but a drag nonetheless.
*My boss keeps saying that my talents are wasted with what I'm doing and that he wants me to get a worthy job soon. The paranoid part of my brain tells me this just means he wants to get rid of me because I sometimes check ESPN.com at work and am not always up on the right assistanty thing to do. I talk too much outside the office, although he seems torn about that since he perpetuates the conversations and often laughs during them. I'm trying to ignore the paranoid part of my brain.
**It's a legal requirement that all Italian restaurants in New York City play only Sinatra, and only about 3 songs of his, none of them big hits. If you ever want to hear "That's Life" 50,000 times just go to a bunch of Italian places in Nueva York.