This might get a bit long and disjointed, but I want to write down some things that are in my head.
I had a friend over Friday night, who ended up crashing in the spare bed and spending the whole day with us on Saturday, which was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Of course, this is someone I value, but have not known long enough to be confident in the strength of the friendship, so the moment he walked out the door, my brain started up with the "what if I fucked everything up" worries. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that someone who spends a whole day hanging out with you, and then says "yes, absolutely" to your "shall we hang out and do x soon? I'll message you about dates", is probably someone who considers you a friend and does not think you are awful. So I'm using that as a kind of antidote to the bad thoughts. Also, when he left, other friends had arrived to watch a Ghibli film, so although that stopped me getting an early night and I am super tired, it was a good distraction. (And now I really want to read the book of Howl's Moving Castle, because apparently the film makes more sense when you know what the hell is going on.)
Speaking of bad thoughts/feels, I also want to write down a thing that happens sometimes. I'm sure someone else somewhere must get this, too. The thing is: I do something mundane, like, say, reaching for the handsoap pump on the sink. As I pump the soap I think - oh, wait, there's something I'm meant to be feeling bad about, related to soap, I've just remembered - but I never remember what the thing to feel bad about was. So I end up with these bad feels (like guilt and worry all tangled up), and I don't even know what they're for. (In the handsoap example, I have a feeling it might have been to do with noticing that the handsoap in the other bathroom was on the wooden side rather than the sink last night, and the wood beneath it was warping with wetness? But I'm not sure. Also that's not really much of a thing to feel bad about. Especially since I moved the soap when I noticed it, and the wood is fine this morning.)
I have not touched my pen and notebook in some weeks, but I have been doing a bit of photography, which I let fall by the wayside a few years ago. I picked up my Blipfoto account again, and started doing a 30 Day Photography Challenge (one photo a day). We're on Day 13 today, so at some point today I need to think of a photo for that. It's nice to feel a little sense of achievement about something creative.
I realised that most of my... I guess creative energy?... at the moment is going into food. I've started a mailing list for dinners, where I pick a date and email out, and then a random cross-section of people I know reply to say they want to come, until I have a full table. Then I cook something nice - a three-course something - and we have a nice dinner. I've done one and scheduled a second so far. I'm really glad I started this, because I think it will be constructive towards two things I want - first, to actually cook more of the interesting things in the many recipe books I own, and second, to do positive social things that leave me feeling more sure about the fact that I have friends.
(More detail on that last bit: since moving to this city out of uni, two and a half years ago, I have had a lot of feels about friends and social circles, whether I want to spend time with the friends I have and how to make friends I don't have yet. I think I am past the worst of it now, and am feeling more settled, but it's a thing that I'm sure could rear its head again if I'm not careful. Things that have helped:
- consciously taking a step back from social things that were leaving me feeling bad more often than good
- switching to a more relaxed organisational style - I am one of the "organised ones" in our uni circles, but I have switched over to more "I'll be doing x on y date at z time, come if you want" rather than more detailed plans
- another friend independently deciding they weren't happy with their current social life and picking up the role of instigating social activities
- turning up to social stuff organised through my partner's work, and getting to know his colleagues and work-friends
- getting in touch with an old school friend for a drink and a catch up every so often
So, basically, I've been putting some effort into having the social circles I want, and it has been paying off. I am glad about this, and I hope it will continue to go well.)
But anyway, back to the creative-energy-food thing: on the one hand, I am happy that I get to make delicious food, and feed it to people who appear to enjoy it. But on the other hand, I can't help but feel a little bit...dissatisfied?...about the fact that the area I've been pouring energy into is an art that is by its nature transient, and which is not necessarily appreciated as an art by wider society (unless you're doing elaborate masterpieces like the kind of thing you'll see on GBBO). I'm not sure what to do with these feels, so I'm putting them in a box until I do know, and carrying on with my current plan of attack i.e. put energy into things that feel good, don't bring out the guilt stick when writing or whatever doesn't happen, etc.
Okay, that's a lot of disjointed thoughts, so let's move onto the "stuff I read":Vet in a Spin, by James Herriot (reread)
- James Herriot is one of those things that's really easy to reread - familiar, funny, somewhat episodic. This is the 6th in the series - the comic memoirs of a vet in 1930s rural Yorkshire. I was using this as a calming bedtime read.Assorted Harry Potter fics
- and I found a couple of REALLY GOOD but UNFINISHED ones, gah. Need to remember my AO3 password so I can bookmark them. One was updated last month, so I have hopes of it being finished, but the other is very clearly dead, and I should have known better than to start reading a clearly dead and unfinished thing by an author I know does super good emotional stuff. Oooh well!The Dark Tower I - III, by Stephen King (reread)
- or "My Tower Is Dark, My Books Are Long", as Chuck Tingle apparently called it recently (very good name). A good friend at uni, whom I have sadly fallen out of touch with, pushed the Dark Tower on me in my second year. I read the first five, but then for whatever reason never got to VI and VII. I remembered this the other day, and decided to give them another shot (but I'd forgotten so much that I figured it would be sensible to reread from the start). Also I'm drawing a map of it, because I found one online and disagreed with it, and because I'm a sucker for fictional maps (I want to paint Middle Earth and Pern and The Lands Beyond on my walls ifwhen I own a house). The world/setting is still as fascinating as before, but this time I'm a bit more conscious of how crap King is at writing women. Going to suck it up to get through them and sate my curiosity about this damn Tower, but duuuude please, write about a woman without mentioning sex or genitals or creamy thighs. Just once?