Wednesday, December 05, 2012

tohm gets narky

I'm in a rare reclusive creative mode at the moment. Actually sitting down to write, for long periods of time. Which is good, great, but indulgent given the commitments I have made for others of my time prior to now.

And I get narky, because I feel time poor. Part of my creative productivity at the moment is good because it involves being honest about how much I procrastinate, I have always been good at productive procrastination, whereas most people I feel pretend as if this time they won't procrastinate and they will sit down and get the job done, and this is the way to wind up playing video games for a whole day and just feel worse.

I know how I work, and it's a fine, delicate matter of allowing the time to contract to fit the work available, rather than the old work expands to fit the time available. But as I said it is delicate, and then and thereby any demands on my time that are new become hostile in my mind.

A certain level of self awareness prevails, and thus if people are asking me to go to their album launch, exhibition opening, gig, a friends exhibition opening I can usually knuckle down and do everything. These things become part of my productive procrastination.

But I have noticed, yet do not possess the self-awareness, that there are things that people quite innocently do that set me off. Right off, I lose my shit.

I am still trying to figure it out, so I can stop being so narky, but let's just say that it is a human failing akin to sitting in a hospital ward with a dislocated shoulder, and there's only so long you can endure such constant nagging pain before you will be less than courteous to a staff member that doesn't deserve it, that or have an emotional breakdown.

But it isn't purely random, I don't simply go a while where I feel pressed for time and that I am not achieving enough and snapping. There seem to be particular triggers that I can't see when they trigger me.

This is as far as I can discern:

1. An invitation to participate in some sort of intellectual past time - watching a documentary, discussing books, debating foreign policy. debating anything.
2. An invitation to a social event for its own sake - as in people standing around enjoying eachothers company. Nobody's birthday, nobody's milestone, just a mixer.

And usually the two combine into one thing, there is nothing that sets me off more than a social function populated by intellectuals.

At root, I guess I take offense, because it implies that I have been invited, not more reasonably simply because I am just another friend to invite, but because people think I would enjoy such things. I feel slighted that they don't know me well.

And even that, I understand is grossly unfair, for example I could totally understand how people could get the impression that I enjoy reading books, watching documentarys, debating foreign policy or the 'sport' of debating in general. I could also totally understand how people could think me an extravert, I have been impersonating one for decades.

But the fact is, that while I enjoy dabbling in reading from time to time, I am generally unenthusiastic about it, and especially unenthusiastic about discussing books. Why discuss books when there is explosive NBA action to talk about for 8 months of the year?! Or comics, why debate foreign policy? forget the clowns in congress lets talk about the clowns in DC and Marvel's head offices. And why socialise when you can spend 2 and 1/2 hours circumnavigating the Melbourne inner city running? thinking all the while.

Of course the tricky thing about being narky, is that it is simply an emotional state representing impermanent circumstances, the fact is I don't want to stop being invited to social mixers populated by intellectuals, nor is it 'unimportant' or 'uninteresting' to me what other people read and what other people think about the things they read (indeed this saves me from having to do a lot of actual reading) nor is it coma-inducing to debate foreign policy with another idiot that like me has no practical and immediate way of effecting the things we are debating. It can be quite stimulating.

The fact is that these just prompt a level of enthusiasm from me that cannot compete with the enthusiasm I feel for going to a friends place and eating hamburgers while watching Ru-Pauls Drag Race, Jersey Shore, or movies featuring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah fighting in a family restaurant. And some things for me are just not something I want to do in company - like watch a documentary, nor will I probably ever shake the feeling that documentaries are not something you pay to go and see at a cinema.

Having said that, one of the best things I've seen all year, and struggled to not cry through, was 'Being Elmo' a documentary I saw at a cinema and paid money to see, in company.

Which is why when I am narky, I feel remorse. Because ultimately, I value that people are enthusiastic about stuff that I can't bring myself to be enthusiastic about. Even 'The Black Exhibition' the greatest thing I have done thus far in my life to date, if you asked me how I felt about it in the preparation times - my answer was 'tired' thus I was very grateful to have my friend Sarah to be excited about it for me.

Against my judgement, I do enjoy things, the problem is I don't anticipate enjoying things. Sure I will never, ever, join a book club, or sit around watching TED talks with an open bottle of red in company, because I know when things cause me pain and my own participation will damage myself and everyone in the room, so too do I never wish to have an athiest vs. theological debate again if I can help it, although at some points you need to call believers out when they overextend themselves, just as athiests need to be called out when they are being particularly intolerent or intellectual bullies.

But I am enjoying writing, it's tricky. Comic writing is dead prose, but it comes alive in my head as I envision the artwork, the layouts. And I enjoy the problem solving of working in such a constrained medium. Exposition in comics is really fucking hard. Really hard.

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