I haven’t posted much about my mental health journey of late. Mainly because for the time being it’s been more about observing and mulling than speaking.
But here’s a nutshell update: (1) a med change from an antidepressant that was also a stimulant (bad for anxiety); and (2) the realization that I’ve depended too much on employer/employee relationship for a gauge of success. The fact is, my work speaks for itself, not a company’s pay scale or willingness to share its profits.
It doesn’t take much of a look at human history to recognize the typically unhealthy relationship between business and its employees, companies and their “human resources,” owners and their hirelings, bosses and their workers. (The very word “boss” leaves a bad taste in our mouths: hence “bossy.”)
My work speaks for itself. I’ve poured heart and soul into it all, never stinting. Why the hell I’ve craved a pat on the head from whoever signed the paycheck is a shame.
In part, this change in perspective was jostled by a citation from Ursula K. Le Guin, herself paraphrasing J.R.R Tolkein, concerning escapism and the “real world.”
To quote Tolkein’s actual words, “I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which ‘Escape’ is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all. … Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”
And Le Guin’s continuation, “If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? The moneylenders, the knownothings, the authoritarians have us all in prison; if we value the freedom of the mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can.”
Part of my imprisonment has been an Evangelical upbringing that castigated “America’s sinful preoccupation with fun.” Church and State so often work hand in hand to support one another in this regard. And State itself is, to quote John Dewey, “the shadow cast on society by big business.”
I believe that in the long run, an Internet full of art and achievement will change that. In part, my own escapism has lately been the wealth of art, music, and laughter I find online. The amazing things we “common folk” share with one another. That, and the open source movements that sidestep business profits simply to help one another. I believe that these will outpace and outlast the tyrants and warmongers raining destruction down upon us to maintain the status quo.
In any case, I feel a little freer today than I have before. Here’s wishing the same for you.
[P.S. My misuse of Wordsworth’s words in my title is intentional. I’d say “Nuns fret not” foreshadows his hidebound future as Poet Laureate.]
Just asking myself each morning, “What one thing do I want to accomplish today?” And trying—trying—to ignore the Sisyphean Gordian Knot of projects built up over the years, with tangles of unanswered emails and social media threads.
If it ain’t on fire, and nobody’s dying, I’ll get to it when I can, or maybe not at all if something more joyful jumps to front of the queue.
Yesterday was layout and upload of Kickstarter bookmark #10 of 10: Bookmark the Stars! This morning was driving Jennifer to a doctor’s appointment. This afternoon I might walk the lab, more likely finally add D6xD6 Supers to DriveThruRPG. Though even more likely, end up feeling crappy from this morning’s flu shot and sleep the day away.
Just finished reading this. It’s one of those novels that when I turn the last page, I sit in silent wonder for a bit.
I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy Ann Christy’s writing. Unexpected plot developments, characters you come to love, the imagery evoked, and the sheer quality of her writing style. That last bit is a reason I love reading Poul Anderson and Robert Silverberg.
There’s always a danger of overselling something you’ve enjoyed. All I can say is that about 40 years ago, Martian Time Slip left me feeling fascinatingly out of synch with time for about two weeks. This is the first time I’ve felt about time this way since that time.