Monday, 15 December 2014

Don't You Hate It When You're Head Explodes?


Me. With enlarged idea tumour. Soon, boom.
That's the sound of my head blowing up. The ideas want out, I have to open some sort of release valve soon. This blog is one part written explanation of my sordid little existence, and one part storage pit for the ideas and thoughts that fill my head on days I don't feel like crawling under a rock and hibernating. Today is the latter.

The nature of my illness, as I've explained previously, is that I bounce from one state to another rapidly, like, in a minute and a half. I can go from a deep solemn depression to a ecstatic high, or manic state in no time at all. If I'm really lucky, the manic state doesn't cause a deep crawl under a rock sort of depression, or crash. Today I feel good. I have ideas and thoughts I want to let out and put to practise, it will occupy me for the day, and hopefully longer. If there's one thing I've learned about this state of mind, it scares people. Lots of people. People slowly back away from me when I start into a rant about something occupying my brain. Sometimes the ideas are like tumours I'd like to yank out through my ears with a melon baller.

About five years ago I dreamt up a project and I haven't had the opportunity to bring it to fruition. The long drive home from work everyday on the highway gave me about a solid hour of thought time. Never good. I relished in ideas that were both terrifying and absorbing, all the time trying to keep out of oncoming traffic. Most times that worked. Other days I drove along like a lemming, mindlessly following the endless flow of commuters leaving or going to mindless jobs, like mine.

But I digress. 

The idea is unique and if I may say so, damn good! But I bit off more than I could chew in the sense that I haven't the resources to pull it off. I talked about it with several people, none of whom slammed me, if anything the idea was met with optimism and encouragement. This led me to believe I really have something here, and it needs to be done. But how? I need resources, I need assistance. And I don't want anyone stealing the evil plan. So I'm hush about it, still, after five years. 

Now it needs to be done. I need to open the valve and let the steam out. I sit in the house all day looking for a direction for the life I have in front of me. At mid-life, my career is stalled because of medical conditions, but I'm far from dead. I don't want to be a house husband for the rest of my life. As far as my doctor and the government are concerned I'm retired. To that I say bollucks. I'm not sitting on my ass for the next 40 years, I'm going to make a difference. Hence the idea. Again. 

And no, I'm not going to tell you what it is.
Deal. (Move along if you're only here to steal it, you bunch of selfish thieves).

I opened old files this week and dusted them off. I started working on the business plan again, and messed with options for progressing the project into the future. I have to consider things like marketing, design, web presence, sales, administration and logistics, sanity, and running out of coffee. (And bacon, I have to consider running out of bacon).

Most of this is easy to consider, that's what I did for 20 years. But I'm stumped at the web presence. I'm kicking myself in the ass now for not getting more involved in web building when I was younger, I always focused on print media. I have a working knowledge of web design but I've never really gotten the hang of it, too much code. I'm a graphic designer, not a frickin' code monkey. Now I realize I have to be both, as well as a salesman, administrator, marketing expert, and the rest. I have the software and the internet is full of people who know how to use it, so I started with tutorials the other day. My brain really hurts now. I'm stuck, probably because I'm listening to what the tutorial is saying and trying to figure it out visually, as an artist would. I need to get past that really annoying bit and think like a code monkey. Yuck. Don't want to. I like pictures.

Today I'll take a break from that and work on something else, like writing here. Or laundry, haven't quite decided which is more important. There's always bacon. I have coffee, that's a good start.

I'll let my mind wander back and forth, let the ideas flow around a bit, maybe take a walk. I couldn't sleep last night as I had visions of websites dancing in my head. Today I have to focus on something else to distract me from my nightmare of XHTML and CSS. I have to focus on other aspects of the project like 'how the hell am I going to sell this? There's a reason they kept me in a locked room all those years'.

I wish all this was as easy as writing, words flow like water some days, just as ideas. I am WRITING about this instead of DOING this. I'm sure that will change soon as I am becoming obsessed with accomplishing this and starting the next phase of life. I want this idea to become a career of sorts. It's entirely mine and no boss can fire me, no doctor can tell me to stop. The biggest concern I have is that I'm my own worst enemy, I still crash on occasion, but I need to find something to occupy myself, that's the best medicine for mental illness. Being alone with thoughts and fears can make anyone fail but bring mental illness into the picture and it's ten-fold. Besides, I would like to make some money in the future, it's hard to eat without that. You start gnawing on chairs after a while. I may crap out on this, I don't know. I hope not as I am really enthralled with the idea and I feel right now that nothing is going to stop me from at least attempting it. Except me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, all this talk of bacon is making me hungry.

More later.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas 2014 Is Not Going To Be Normal

Tis the season.

Christmas is right around the corner, and I'm a little nervous. I haven't felt the spirit yet this year for a number of reasons, first being my ongoing struggle with the whole state of mind issue. I sink into a depressive state so easily now, and when I see people going on about how wonderful the season is shaping up to be I get quite disturbed. When I go shopping I get quite perturbed. More often than not a panic attack ensues. Tough to pull up the socks and move forward into the best time of the year. It's got nothing to do with money or commercialism. It's the simple fact that I'm supposed to be happy and I'm not. 

That being said, I move forward knowing that I'm completely in the wrong mindset. I can't do that. If there's one time of year to thank God for what I've got in this life, regardless of how else I feel, it's now. Christmas is a time for thanks. I have a wonderful (if not dysfunctional) family, I have my physical health, I have good friends, and a neurotic dog. It's all good! I have more in my life than many others have. This year like so many we've experienced, we have too many people with nothing. People on the streets or in refuge camps in some far off land. I feel for them and think of how we should be trying to change that. One step at a time.

This year things are different, and so the season will reflect that. 

We always get a real tree at Christmas. It's an annual tradition, we load up and head out to the tree lots and spend hours in the cold slush trudging around for the perfect tree that 'talks' to my wife. She's the deciding factor. The tree must speak to her and her alone. Nobody else can hear trees talk. And they call me crazy. The best times are when we head out into the county and cut down our own. Doing that brings the whole nostalgic feeling of the season to fruition. But it begs the question, why couldn't Christ have been born in July?

This year is different. We didn't get a tree, we built one. Out of books. 

Two factors led to that decision. Ok, well three. First, we have no car this year and it's a long frickin' walk back to the house lugging a live tree behind you. We figured by the time it got home there would only be needles on one side. So no. Secondly, we have a dog that will eat anything. (see previous post). We were afraid that we'd wake up one morning to a bare dead skeleton of a tree and the dog happily sitting on the couch licking his chops. Then there's the whole antique decorations thing. Wasn't going to happen. The third factor was that we have a ton of books, and technically they used to be trees. So we decided to recycle.

The tree is up, it took the four of us about two hours to assemble it, each one of us picking books based on size and thickness for each stage of the project. Moving from large coffee table books for the base and working towards small pocket books at the top. Each book had a meaning. They weren't chosen at random. Here's what Kim had to say about the selection process....

A brief story about the tree that adorns our front hall. We did not randomly throw books into the pile.....books were chosen so that a piece of each of us is included in this tree of knowledge. We have Harry Potter from Bug, Winnie the Pooh from when the children were small. We have The Complete Works of Shakespeare and of course a Dictionary..From my Gramma Nora a copy of Gone with The Wind. From my Dad, a copy of Poem's to be Read. Faith's copies of Anne of Green Gables, and of course Papa's Poems of Robby Burns. My first copy of Little Women, and my original copy of Now We are Six. Keith's copy of The Chronicles of the World and Iain's copy of Mighty Machines, that he and Papa used to read together. It is a history of our family both present and past. It is the perfect reflection of who we were and who we are. It is Love.

The tree is done. The dog hasn’t attacked it, the stockings are hung with care, the mistletoe is up and more will be put out soon. But it’s starting to feel like the season. We had a problem that needed a creative solution, and because of that problem, this Christmas is shaping up to be one of the best instead of the mindset I was in just a short day ago.

This morning made me happy. It made the anxiety and fear go away, at least for now. 

And that’s all I really wanted for Christmas. Joy.

Merry Christmas everyone.