Yesterday I Did Not Write

I had been writing every day this month. Not a lot, some days. Looking at my tracking, I’ve ranged from 12 words, up to 3989 just a couple of days ago. Mostly, though, it’s been two-digit days. Last night? My day went from a good day, wrapping up the week with getting away from work just a wee bit early, stealing time to take a walk… and then it all went downhill. Let’s just say that single parenting a teen is for the birds, and elide over that. It doesn’t help I’m back to counting calories and hunger makes it difficult to think straight.

I’m not going to feel guilty about it or anything. I was able to get some editing in, and I did my daily art challenge, although the lackluster reactions to that seem that I missed the mark there, too. Rendering lines into a story is, like rendering random loose words into one, not always easy. With digital art, I can at least edit. Real ink? Not so much.

I had the privilege yesterday of looking through a past chemist’s lab notebook. I was given it with the dubious… ‘he didn’t write much down, I don’t know that it can help you.’ With a man who’d been doing this for decades, I understood the not writing much down. Enough to jog his own memories, with shorthand for chemicals that he’d known for longer than I’ve been alive. However, when I look at it long enough, it starts to come alive for me. Seeing the patterns in how he developed and refined a formula. The terse comments on margins. The marks of approval, where I can see he went further a step, then pulled back and realized he’d overshot the mark. And if he was doing what I think he was, he did that on purpose. Tracking the target to make sure he couldn’t have gotten it any better.

There’s no editing a lab notebook. You write in them with ink. You spill things on them. There are smears of color here and there, some pages positive gauds of pinks and reds. There’s no editing a painting. Oh, you can. There are ways. And you can always embrace the ‘happy little accidents’ if you choose. My medium is watercolor, not as easy to scrape up as a still-wet oil. You work quickly, each stroke meaningful, and you can’t look back.

Editing a story, on the other hand. Well, I haven’t really gotten the trick of it. I can and do make changes. I’m a pantser, and part of that seems to be that once the story is out of me, I have trouble envisioning it any other way. Not that I never make changes. Just… few. So when I overshot the mark by a few thousand words on an anthology story, I’m looking at it thinking that I’m not sure where I can edit that much out. Further, when I got some beta feedback, they mostly said it was fairly tight as it is. Other than the one who came back saying it needed more, a lot more, and I’d have to flesh it out. Hah!

When I’m writing, I write what I see/hear/feel in my head about the story. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It isn’t quite ‘watching a movie in my head and transcribing it.’ There is a most complex interaction with the characters who are, after all, figments of my own Self. They don’t feel like that to me, though. They are their own individual selves, and sometimes do things I don’t understand at first. Often enough I’ll get further into the story and the light will dawn, but it’s not always something I planned consciously. The end result is often that the world surrounding the characters is simply there, like the reality around me. If there is a reason in-story to explain it in depth, I will. Otherwise? It protrudes into their reality like a finger poked through from our reality. I don’t like to do it. If I put in description, it’s minimal, enough to thumbnail sketch for the reader, and leave the rest to their imagination.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, for those who have seen my art. One line should convey emotion, expression, and let the mental image bloom from there.

Today? I will attempt to write again. However few or many words that may be.

12 comments

  1. My heart goes out to you. Just be kind to yourself when setbacks occur. Life is all about bouncing back when you fll, which is hard, but I ‘m certain you have it in you.

  2. Parenting is ever a challenge but teens are the pinnacle of that challenge.

    That was a lovely piece of writing. You express yourself so well. Thank you!

  3. If you can manage semi-keto and partial fasting a la Jason Fung (only eat during 8 hours of the day, not the other 16, first meal the later in the day the better.. easiest is to just distract and delay breakfast a little more each day), the hunger problem is likely to go away. No calorie counting required, but do skew toward fat and protein and away from carbs. Calories from fat should always exceed those from carbs, hence it’s good to have a little potato with your butter. But counting ’em is pretty useless. Any diet has to be one you can live with forever, or you’ll rebound when you stop doing it.

    If fasting doesn’t help, or the hunger is frequent and painfully urgent, that signals leptin resistance (common down-the-road effect of low thyroid buggering up insulin).

    1. adding on as a ‘working for me’ comment, his video last week gives a good explanation of the issue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPNzwUY486A&t=1s
      During 2020 my I accidently fell into this pattern (laziness on my part, not planning) and was dropping 1-2 pounds/month, I had a health scare at the end of the year and started fasting more aggressively (with medical supervision) and am down another 80 pounds this year (was 370 a couple years ago, now down to 225). no calorie counting, and the vast majority of the time, not feeling hungry (for me, when I do feel hungry, frequently I can solve the craving without a lot of calories or insulin spike by eating high fat, high salt foods like avocado to tide me over till the next meal, or next day)

      I live alone, so I don’t have the social pressure to eat when others eat, and I found that the low-carb mostly-keto diet also makes me less hungry when I skip meals than if I’ve been eating a lot of carbs, so it may or may not work for you, but ‘works for me’

      1. Oh, the low carb and intermittent fasting do work well for me. Unfortunately, my son has decided he doesn’t want me to do it, so rather than argue with him – there are other hills to die on, here – I’m just doing the low cal and more exercise.

        1. Oh, I usually don’t feel hungry if I don’t keep a regular eating schedule. I just get more and more exhausted and lacking in energy, until I’m dropping things, and eventually stumbling over words, hangry, and unable to speak with expression. And then I start to sing little tuneless angry songs, and then I cry incoherently, as my blood sugar gets lower and lower. Eventually I start shaking and getting cold, or there was one memorable time when I actually started to convulse. Usually I just start to throw up, though. And of course I can’t sleep, or I wake up throwing up, which is always fun, because you have to figure out a way to clean it up and get blood sugar, without throwing it right back up again.

          Of course, if I’m just home alone, I just stay in bed all day and get nothing done. Don’t have to eat, don’t feel hungry, don’t remember to drink anything, don’t remember to do anything….

          Everybody is different. Women have drastically different patterns of reaction to fasting, and different women are drastically different from other women. I can usually manage about 16 hours without eating, but it better be a non-stressful day without much physical activity. 14 hours is more like it.

          So yeah, not too worried about ketosis happening. It just usually doesn’t, and I’m clearly one of those people who doesn’t get a post-exercise burn. I’m always pleased when I get actual hunger pangs instead of symptoms, because it means my body is actually doing it right.

          Non-diabetic low blood sugar tendencies are so so special.

          1. That sounds like your body is not kicking in to ketosis you may want to take a look at https://www.youtube.com/c/DrMindyPelz she has a lot of info on fasting for women and how to get your body to switch to using ketones instead of glucose. Your liver should produce glucose (from it’s stores initially, then from fat after a while) to prevent the type of crash you are describint

  4. I’ve been forcing myself to put rump-in-chair and write. I’m just tired, I suspect, and it hit me this week just what next semester’s going to be like (short version: busy). I’m not “feeling it,” but the stories need to go on.

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