30 November 2011

On a whim I got feathers put in my hair. You probably can't see the very fine burgundy ones that are my favourite.
I met a nice black cat in the driveway and we had a little visit and she was going to follow me up to the door when the damn dog freaked out in the doorway and chased her up a tree. My poor new friend is up a tree. Today disaster was averted when I showed up in class disoriented in time and found out my group presentation was supposed to be today. Rather than wing it and read from the impossible script I had written and planned to have the teacher look over in her office hours and to also have no slides (my first sentence, I realized this morning, was a trainwreck) I explained the situation to my teacher and she will let me do the presentation by myself on Friday... when I will have simple German sentences about Christmas memorized. I may bring traditional German candy. A Glückschwein (a marzipan pig) if possible. Following that I made haste to the office for disabled students to apply for a deferral on my final required university class ever. Paper was pushed; there was a lineup. Talk about going out with a whimper. I had high hopes for impressing my qualification for graduate school on my professor, but I can't seem to organize my thoughts fast enough to keep up. I am disappointed. I am drinking rum on ice.

29 November 2011

I have found the perfect thesis to help me out but its author has restricted its availability to the University of California at Berkeley. I e-mailed her to ask if I could read it, as she has several jobs and a public e-mail address. I wonder if she didn't get my message, or if she will just never respond. If she doesn't I am going to crib her idea and the sources she mentions in her abstract.

28 November 2011

More panic attack, took enough medicine to knock out a horse and seem to be steadying. I want to curl up and go to sleep but it is only 7pm.

26 November 2011

I am having panic attacks because my research is going difficultly and I am supposed to do a presentation.

24 November 2011

Fifteen minutes of a conversation including my sister and her slow talking and my mom and her stories about teaching high school students and I urgently need the theses I have been intimidated by all afternoon.
I'm reading a very cool book about organ donation by an anthropologist, Margaret Lock, who uses mixed media in her books. Organ donation is much less common in Japan than in Canada and the book, called, Twice Dead, explores the idea of brain death in both cultures. I am also playing with my cat because he gets bored when the weather is bad. I think he is a little too smart for a life of catdom, which is part of what stole my heart. It can also be kind of annoying. If the weather were better and I could take him outside he would be happier.

22 November 2011

So I am working on my stubborn project and it is going but slow: I am having to read a lot. I had a panic attack but it is okay. Do your panic attacks go away? Mine stick around making me feel as though I am going crazy.
So Art Spiegelman went off to college and found that not all people grew up with Holocaust-surviving parents who had already lost one son and awoke screaming in the night. Then, as he tells Lawrence Weschler, originally for Rolling Stone, and now collected in A Wanderer in the Perfect City, he had a psychotic breakdown. His recounting of it is hilarious. I wish I'd done psychedelics before going crazy, and that my psychosis went away.

In 1966, Art left home for Harpur College, the experimental sub-campus of the State University of New York at Binghampton, and there things began to come seriously unmoored. The underlying conflicts with his parents roiled to the surface now that he was no longer in their immediate presence. Furthermore, "Binghampton was one of the early capitals of psychedelics," he says, "and the drug culture definitely accelerated my decomposition beyond any containable point." His intensity became increasingly manic. He was living off campus, in a forest cabin. "And I made a strange discovery," he recalls. "I was just kind of holding court, people were coming to visit, and I found that if I just said whatever came into my mind, the atmosphere would get incredibly charged - and if I kept it up, within half an hour, either my guests would run out, screaming, or else we'd approach this druglike high. It was like a primordial sensitivity session. And this was going on for days on end. I wasn't eating, I was laughing a lot, I was beginning to suffer from acute sleep deprivation. I was starting to experience these rampant delusions of grandeur. I was sure I was onto something, and sure enough, I was - a psychotic breakdown."

Eventually they came to take him away (he informed the school shrink that the top of his head looked like a penis); he was dispatched by ambulance to a local mental ward (exaltedly he wailed in tune with the siren); they sedated him (it took three full-bore shots) and threw him into a padded cell. ("Waking up, my first thought was that I was God alone and that what I really needed to do now was invent me some people.. Later I began to scream for a nurse, and when this guy came in, I said no, I wanted a nurse. He said he was anurse - I'd never heard of such a thing as a male nurse - and I said, 'Gee, how do you people reproduce here on this planet?'") Gradually, they reeled him back in - or he reeled himself back in; they didn't seem to be of much help. One attendant, a conscientious objector doing alternative service, befriended him and advised him on how to get out. ("He told me to drink less water - they seemed to think I thought my brain was overheating or something - to play Ping-Pong, lots of Ping-Pong, and to blame it all on LSD, which was a category they could understand; all of which I did, and within a month I was released.")

He was released on two conditions: first, that he start seeing a psychotherapist on the outside, and second, that he go back to living with his parents. "Living at home was exactly the wrong prescription." Spiegelman said, "since it was home that was driving me crazy. I said this quite emphatically to the shrink one day, and he asked me, 'So why don't you move out?' I told him about the condition. And he said, 'You really think they're going to throw you back in if you don't follow their conditions?' I said, 'Gee, thanks.' and immediately left both home and psychotherapy.

"The wonderful thing about the whole episode, though, is that it cut off all expectations. I'd been locked in a life-or-death struggle with my parents. Anything short of the nut house would have left things insoluble. But now I could venture out on my own terms. Over the years, I have developed a terrific confidence in my own subconscious."

Art was out of the house, but the tormented Spiegelman family drama did not subside, and a few months after his release, his mother committed suicide.

21 November 2011

My German teacher said today that I should only take her tests if I am having a good day, and if not I should e-mail her and we can reschedule. She substituted my higher mark from an in-class assignment for my failed midterm and offered to punch it even higher if I did better on the final. I am already studying for the final. It was such a weight off of me. Very kind. I felt like I'd been rescued.

Today the space the German clique sits in was full because a girl who is not shy and doesn't even talk to then insists on sitting right next to them. So I sat across the class and a lovely man showed up to sit next to me. He is a grad student auditing the class and only comes sometimes. He smiled hello and laughed a serious, "that's terrible," when I told him how the illustrations from the back of my library book had been stolen. He had been asking questions about my stubborn term paper.

Two lovely people instead of the clique.

20 November 2011

There is a dead rat on the front walk. I'll bet my cat killed it with his laser eyes.

19 November 2011

I am feeling all out of words. Or like words don't matter. I definitely am not getting any ideas.
Cat, wailing alone in the living room. I move in to check things out. He purrs. Just wants company in his choice of napping location.
Since my cat was such a good snuggly cat I readily obliged his meows for a walk. It was frosty. I grabbed my mittens. The cat took a quick look around and opted for the warm indoors. I am happy common sense prevailed. No more meowing.

18 November 2011

my views are diametrically opposed to those of Susan Sontag, again.
Wee little snow day today. I wore my tall rubber boots with cabled sock liners too keep the chill off slushy puddles at the university. the used book store is having a fire sale to clear out merchandise before a move. not the place to sell.

17 November 2011

My nurse proffered that I had got absolutely nothing by going off my medication. But it's like playing your part in an bad relationship, again. You get something. In my mind, I put an end to an intolerable physical and mental state, got a few days of peace, and regained a familiar discomfort, at which time I restarted my medication and immediately felt the same as I did just after my shock treatment. I knew the trick was going to be when to restart it, but all she said when I was feeling normal was, well good.
sleeping soundly, ecg all clear, must read before the increase in medication turns my evening to a blur. caffinating with gyokuro yamashiro. must decide if I will try to sell my comic books. if I strike now maybe I can beat my classmates to a used book store.

13 November 2011

Celexa brain: the highlight of last night's dinner party was when my cat jumped up on the couch and laid a big ol pda on me. "Oh, that's LW's cat," the room full of dog people laughed. Usually the cat runs away from company. His current snuggly disposition is a treat.

11 November 2011

finally finished the Watchmen today. I find most comic books really boring. their boring qualities were in this case made worse by self-referential boring qualities, a plot the writer admits was only enough for half the published length, and mind-numbing violence. I feel like I've wasted so much time. I need to read something really good to get my brain back, but I'll probably just do german homework.

10 November 2011

10mg of celexa (beginning of titration) and I am back to snuggling kittens and complementing my doctor on her new hair. anxious too. it feels terrible.
got an ecg today to test whether my heart has any abnormal rhythms such that taking more medication would cause me to die. not that I haven't taken extra before. but since I'm already walking around with legs that go numb. you can stick me with needles, but I hate any test that requires removing clothing.

09 November 2011

Drinking peach tea with St John's Wort in an effort to take the edge off the day. At least I'm no longer craving hard liquor.

08 November 2011

My presentation was warmly received by my professor, after I said I feel about writing like Susan Sontag, writing in the New York Review of Books during the 1970s, felt about photography: it's got to be some sort of perverse techno-surveillance enabled violation that steals part of your soul. And I disagree with Sontag on photography. My classmates managed to carry on a discussion, despite several of the most vocal ones admitting in the elevator after class that they had read maybe five pages of the book because they didn't get it, and my professor trying to motivate the idea of doing history through band-aids. I read the whole dense thing, laughing to myself, and a dozen interviews and articles on it, and concurrently memorized German words, even though the thought of it all made me want to kill myself.
I can't function rationally. Even as I was preparing my miniscule claim for an eye exam I did not remember I get 80% coverage on prescription drugs with my student fees. Still. With my dirty hippy attempt at a cure I am no longer itchy.

07 November 2011

My gross spider bite is infected. After having to wait an hour for the pharmacist to mix it up, I decided against the prescription, because it cost 40$ and was going to interfere with my antipsychotic. I don't need antipsychotic woes on top of behind in school woes and constant urge to kill myself so that I don't have to deal with this shit woes. I don't feel anxious, but when it all feels like too much I take some antianxiety medicine and that helps some. Why the housemates can't be wuiet in the morning and let me get some fucking sleep is beyond my comprehension. I will treat with witch hazel and tea tree oil unless is grows and I absolutely have to give in. It grew with antibiotic polysporin.

06 November 2011

I have this thing on my arm, initially I thought it was a spider bite, very itchy... it has stayed itchy for over a week now and has a raised ridge around the outside that is expanding outwards. Currently it is 1.5 cm long but it looks bigger. Gross, yes?
Took my cat for a walk this morning, but it was very short. He decided it was too cold. I am happy that he is happy to avoid cold and rain, which I demonstrated to him last week. Now he is cuddled up under my quilt being cute.
Last night I was crying into my pillow in the dark, when I stopped, turned around and saw my cat. He had not run away. He walked towards me and took up his spot under my arm to purr and have a fitful little nap, with lots of clutching at his face. I couldn't function in my state of despair so I just stayed in bed until I fell asleep some time later.

05 November 2011

My mother is so slow and prone to indirection... I think I've just had to walk away from her four times today. I am like this too, except I at least try to be logical and get dinner on the table, that's why I get so frustrated.
Being beaten into a shivering wreck by the printed word.

03 November 2011

dude! McArthur Fellow, New School professor, and friend of Art Spiegelman, Ben Katchor has responded to my e-mail asking him what he would like for a nice dinner out. He is the author of the funny and odd book, The Cardboard Valise, which I am in charge of presenting to the class as seminar leader. My prof asked the dinner question as a joke on the syllabus. Mr Katchor says, "El Malecon Restaurant, at Amsterdam Ave. and 97th St. in Manhattan. I'd order a rotisserie chicken, white rice with black beans, sweet plantains and red wine." Sounds delicious!

The dog is terrified of fireworks. When one goes off she lies down on the bathroom floor and shakes uncontrollably for hours. I went and sat with her and the cat came too, moving from the sink to the toilet seat and I moved onto the floor. We sat together for a while, and then the cat took up a lookout outside the door. The dog was so touched she begged me to take her for a walk the next morning, barking and hopping up in the air, but by the time she'd put in her request it was too late (plus the cat would have wanted a walk too.) Let it not be said that no one has the dog's back when she is in distress.
I feel like I have other creative and nurturing urges that get in the way of me reaching my potential by reading, and reading critically, all the time.
sencha ashikubo will cure my cold and self pity, yes?

02 November 2011

Theorist Judith Butler lending an articulate voice. you hear the people repeating after her as amplification? Cool in that setting, not cool when theory becomes its own language, complete with an underclass of minions that thinks it is some kind of privileged set.

01 November 2011

I've been reading about trauma and how putting things into words for a caring audience is generally accepted to be a way of taking back control. Today I talked with my nurse and it felt like it just re-traumatized me and created bigger problems to deal with. According to my old psychologist I should be problem solving now, but I feel like I just made a problem when I could have stayed quiet and got told to accept things as they are.
I am refining my knowledge of "fruity" black teas in search of the perfect Christmas gift for my psychologist. This afternoon I picked up a package including lychee flavoured tea and it is so good that, having opened it, I won't even re-gift it ;)

On the bus earlier this week there was a girl talking about how the wind in her sinuses while she was riding on a motorcycle gave her "an infection." While wind as a vector of illness is an ancient trope, all charm was lost on me in an urge to shove her off the bus. Bitch made me sick.

Today it took me most of my 9am seminar to wake up, but I remembered to ask for advice on how to do my presentation next week and received complements on my theoretical slice and dice. Lately I've been reading feminist blogs about how what's important is what you do, and how people become unpleasant and ignoble little dictators over vocabularies when they have no real life. I'm holding out to find a place to indulge my love of theory.