Mental Diet

It’s like, 1.30 in the morning, a November night, and I didn’t write anything today, until now. I worked on some projects – a little bit in a few places – but the main thing that happened today was that around 4 pm, I told my friends ‘I think I’ll lie down, but I have my phone,’ as if I would chat to them while in bed, then woke up four hours later to find everyone asleep.

This is because in the morning, I woke up bolt awake, holding on to Fox and the dog because I’d had a nightmare about the Rapture. These are not uncommon things for me, like I’m not surprised by them, but they do pretty badly exhaust me. It meant that I just didn’t get much sleep – I was asleep, but it wasn’t restful sleep – and when I was tired, I didn’t want to go back to sleep, because I didn’t want to return to the nightmares. The fear that I would fall back into that place, as if the dream is a place I was going to go, not a dumb trick my brain plays on me for thirty years.

But that meant I was exhausted today. I shambled around a little, I watched some Youtube videos, I planned for dinner – I did some laundry! Hey, go me, that’s a chore I easily would forget. But then I went to bid at four twenty nap time, and whumph did not wake up until 8.30.

Then I watched a movie with Fox, and we recorded a podcast about it, and we went to bed. She watched AmberCyprian and Argick play a game about balls on a string – Argick’s channel is really top tier balls content – and I kid you not I spent about a half hour watching minute and two minute clips of things like capybaras jumping into water.

It’s been a bit of a rough day.

I sat down, in the dark, with my eyes closed and my hands on the keys and I asked myself: What can I write about today? What have I done today, that I can write about? What has been on my mind? What did I argue about in the shower? Oh hell, did I have a shower? I can’t just share videos of capybaras – that’s something to do on twitter, to share something wholesome that’s easy. I don’t mind that, no complaints about that at all. But I want the blog content to be something that feels like I did work.

2021 was embarrassingly hard to get some deeper subjects going. I say that, but now as I sit here and think about it I realise I tackled a lot of things I wanted to that I never got around to. There was a lot of writing abotu conspiracy theories, a set of articles about Narnia, and a lot of long-form writing about stuff I’d ‘get around to.’ It’s just that when I think about academic writing, I didn’t read that much of it of the year.

That stands to reason; I don’t like writing about my students, that’s something I feel should be private. I don’t want people who talk to me to feel like our random conversations will be Made Into Hashtag Content.

What I think about though, is that any given day, I try to partake of something, reading, writing, listening, in some way that will either teach me something new, or get me thinking about something I already know. The ongoing process means that some days I’ll be excited to write a handful of things, and some days I’ll be only have one. But that constant curiosity is important.

I get it, we’re all tired.

For me, one of the things I like doing when I’m tired is to sit back and absorb things that interest me. Watch a show, listen to a podcast, play with a game.

And that, given time, will give me ideas.