Sunday, 14 July 2013

Warm Bodies AKA Tropes Are Not Bad : The Movie

I've just watched the movie Warm Bodies, I've seen it before, caught it the last week it was in the cinema, but it's out on DVD now and I liked it enough to want to see it again. In fact... is there a DVD version of desert island discs? because Warm Bodies might well make my list; but much as I like the film I was having a hard time putting my finger on why. It's well paced, well acted, well shot and the dialogue is laugh out loud hilarious, but there are plenty of films that fulfil those criteria that wouldn't make my hypothetical desert island list. I do have personal reasons for particularly liking this movie's take on zombies (more of that later), but that didn't seem to be enough either.
Then as I was mentally scrolling through the list of stuff in this movie that would normally be major red flags for me, tropes that normally send me running for the hills, it hit me: I like this movie so much, not in spite of it being filled with stuff I normally dislike, but because it has those things but does them in ways that I can't help but be entertained by. For me at least, Warm Bodies is essentially Tropes Are Not Bad : The Movie.

Brief Spoiler Warning: I'm going to be talking about a movie, so it should go without saying that there may be spoilers ahead, I've tried to keep them small and/or referred to in the DVD blurb, but I can't swear to my success so if you haven't already seen Warm Bodies you may want to go and do that first (honestly, it's worth your time). Also if the phrase 'tropes are not bad' means nothing to you, then tvtropes is your friend (but a very needy friend, the kind that having met you will want to tell you not only their own life story but that of their parents, siblings, cousins and every pet they've ever owned. You have been warned).

All right then, so far I've been basically assuming that you have some idea of what I'm talking about, some vague awareness of what the movie is about, I should probably cut that out. Warm Bodies is basically Romeo and Juliet if the Montagues were zombies. No really, the romantic leads are R (he can't remember the rest of his name) and Julie, there's even a homage to the balcony scene. If at this point you're thinking something along the lines of 'oh no, not another retelling of Romeo and Juliet, not another teenage girl meets monster boy, not more zombies' then, well exactly, lets start there.

I have nothing in particular against Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, I think it's a little overrated, in that he wrote other plays I like more, but yeah, it's a good play. On the other hand it's a pet peeve of mine that people describe it as a romance, it's really not, or at least it's not only a romance. Let me use the bard's own words to explain:
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
 That's (most of) the prologue and if you know the play at all, you probably recognised it because it's one of the really memorable bits, the emphasis is (obviously) mine. So often I see love stories being described as being like Romeo and Juliet if they merely feature a couple born to two mutually antagonistic groups regardless of whether their actions do anything to heal the rift. That bit's important folks, in fact I'd go as far as saying it's the whole damn point of the story (there are also people who describe any romance featuring teenage or apparently teenage protagonists as being like Romeo and Juliet, but those people are fools and we shall not speak of them). Ahem, like I said, pet peeve, so Warm Bodies earns major points from me for actually remembering this, R and Julie's relationship, in the words of the DVD blurb '... begins to transform the other zombies and maybe the whole lifeless world'. This alone makes me do a happy dance, but there's so much more.

I'm not going to go into the teenage girl meets monster boy thing too deeply, because Warm Bodies actually mostly avoids this by having the protagonists just a little older (late teens/early twenties), which, especially with the added maturity boost from living/unliving in a post-apocalyptic setting gives their relationship a very welcome seasoning of, well, common sense really: R knows he's being weird and creepy, Julie makes repeated, earnest attempts to get away from the monster before she gets to know him better, and so on. On a similar note, yes R is yet another romantic hero who struggles to express his emotions, but he has a damn good excuse, he's a zombie, he can't physically form the words, plus you can see that he's really, honestly trying to communicate, this makes a difference. Plus his inner monologue (as voice-over) is both hysterically funny and poignant.

Finally then, there's those zombies, two lots of them in fact, the more skeletal 'boneys' don't interest me that much, other than I do kind of like that as the movie's 'faceless oncoming hordes' interpretation of zombies they are shown as being literally faceless... well all right if you want to get picky they kind of have features that are recognisably the remains of eyes, a nose, a mouth etc, but they don't have faces in the sense of that which identifies one person from another, that individuality has been stripped away from them along with their outer flesh. I thought that was kind of neat, moving on.

The other type of zombie, called 'corpses' are quite possibly my favourite interpretation of zombies ever, they remind me somewhat of Shaun of the Dead's shambling metaphor for modern apathy / 'going through the motions' but here the metaphor is for a deeper emotional distress, these zombies are not switched off emotionally, but locked in, each isolated in his or her own mind, unable to communicate. More than that, they're slowly fading away as they forget how to dream and how to feel, as if they're shutting down their emotions to avoid overload and pain or have done that and now can't find the way back. There's something about that that resonates for me. That and about the way the human survivors dismiss the corpses as unthinking monsters that can be killed without consequence (the same as most zombie movies / games etc do) when we as an audience get to see that they're not so different. I think my boyfriend summed that one up walking out of the cinema back when we watched it on the big screen "What if all movie zombies are like the ones in Warm Bodies?" It was, we agreed a pretty horrifying thought.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Should The Next Doctor Be A Woman?

So it's that time again, the latest incarnation of The Doctor is retiring (that's as in the TV show Doctor Who, in case that wasn't obvious) and people are asking who's going to play the role next, and again people (particularly, I can't help noticing, people who admit that they don't actually watch the show) are asking if this time it should be a woman. Trouble is, that's the wrong damn question, the question should be, would the show be be better with a woman in the role? because if not, why do it? Why walk into that mine field if the show doesn't end up better for it?

First of all, could it happen? In setting I mean, is it possible without breaking canon? Answer, kind of yes, in that it's known that at least one time lord has changed sex upon regeneration, although it seems to be an occurrence with a likelihood somewhere between hit by a bus and lottery winner. However 'is possible' does not necessarily make for good storytelling, it's possible to have a character that has been in dire need of money for many chapters suddenly win the lottery, but it'd have to be really well written not to come off as a horrible deus ex machina. Not that The Doctor has a desperate need to suddenly be female (certainly not within story) but it's still a change that, at the very least, has that same potential to be narrative poison. Don't get me wrong, it could work, given care and good writing, but I think it would need care and good writing.

So, the equality thing, after all that's what all the pressure to have The Doctor regenerate into a woman is about. I already said there's no in setting need for the change, and it's hard to see how there could be, short of some kind of squicky need to populate New Gallifrey or something. Granted, 'no need for change' does not equal 'must not change', but my point is that the impetus behind the debate is external and basically seems to boil down to either 'it's not fair that only blokes get to play The Doctor' or 'it's sexist that The Doctor is always male'. Of these two arguments I find the former more compelling, The Doctor is a fascinating and more or less unique character and I can totally see how, if I were an actress, it would nice to have the opportunity of landing that part. Always assuming that the part remained fascinating and unique when made female, not to mention continuing to exist (neither of which are certain). Also a single part, no matter how interesting, is still a single part and a single opportunity, so a bit of a drop in the ocean equality wise (though it's possible to make the argument that every drop counts). In conclusion, valid argument, perhaps not an overwhelming reason to make a potentially poisonous (see above) change to a popular show. It's the other argument that bugs the hell out of me.

Is it sexist that The Doctor is always male? Some people would say yes without reservation, me, I think it's more complicated than that. The sexism argument seems to be largely predicated on the assumption that The Doctor is the most important role, which is not quite as cut and dried as it first appears. It's the title role, certainly, that much is undeniable, and without him there would be no show, but equally there would be no show without his various companions, so 'the companion' is also an important role, as important? less important? more important? I think the answer is probably that it depends on the episode and that 'lacking titular recognition' is about as much as can be authoritatively said. Ah, talking of authority, there's that argument, that it's sexist because The Doctor is an authority figure... well, maybe, in theory, sort of, I mean he does tell his companions to stay in the TARDIS / not do stuff / etc pretty often... on the other hand no companion in the history of ever has actually done as they were told (unless you count 'don't bother with the accent' I suppose), so if he's an authority figure he's a pretty ineffectual one. And yes, sometimes it turns out that they really should have listened, but equally sometimes not listening is what saves the day, so again it depends on the episode. Furthermore The Doctor frequently lets his companions walk all over him (in theory he could have told Donna that no, he wasn't going to take her anywhere, for example, in practice he didn't) or does things just to please / impress them (any episode that starts with some variant of 'what would you like to see?' / 'let me show you this cool place'). One thing you can say is that The Doctor tends to know practically everything about everything, this is not actually because he's male, it's because he's nine hundred and whatever years old, but if you want to get picky about it you can honestly claim that he's a male character that (usually) knows more than his (usually) female companion and I suppose you could make a case for a female Doctor based on that. Again, I'm not convinced it's an overwhelming argument, but there is something there. There's also an argument about providing girls with role models, but honestly, a genocidal lunatic drifter is your idea of a good role model? No? Well then.

Right, after all that what do I conclude? That there is no convincing reason that The Doctor has to be male, some tentative reasons why a female Doctor might be a good thing and a feeling that it could be done well (even if I have a large portion of dread about what the actual results might be) that's a tick in the go ahead and do it column, right? Well... lets think about this, suppose that the next Doctor is female, further, lets suppose that she then gets a male companion (quite likely, given that one major reason that the companion role is usually female is to maintain a degree of gender parity), thirdly lets assume that the general dynamic of the Doctor/companion relationship remains more or less the same (a lot of that relationship is based on relative age and knowledge / alien experiences / ownership of TARDIS / etc) then what you would have is a experienced, knowledgeable woman who goes out of her way to impress a much younger man, allows him to dictate her morals and generally boss her around and is frequently (though not always) shown to be wrong / in need of rescue despite her greater experience... You know, there's a reason you should be careful what you wish for.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Serendipity of Research

I am a great lover of words, while I can seldom pick a favourite film or book or song I can tell you what my favourite word is. Currently it's tmesis and has been for a few years, not I grant you an especially useful word, but I like that it begins with 'tm' which not a lot of words do and I like that it's a word about words. When I was about fourteen or so my favourite word was elope, which I discovered by flicking through a dictionary looking for interesting words (please tell me I'm not the only person to have done that) and for some of the time in between my favourite word was serendipity, which finally brings me to today's topic because although serendipity has fallen out of my personal favour as a word, the concept it represents is still highly important to me.

So then, serendipity in research. I'm a great believer in research as a way of solving plot problems or brainstorming whole new sub-plots (or even the main plot, depending at what stage of the planning process I get stuck and go and do some research), sometimes I research something obviously connected to my plot issue, if the problem I'm having is that I don't know enough about the subject the plot relates to, for example when I wanted to know about the kind of archaeological evidence you could get from bones I read a bunch of academic papers on the subject (having to learn a whole new vocabulary in the process incidentally, which was tough going but interesting and now I know my distal from my proximal and my anterior from my posterior and the technobabble in shows like Bones actually makes sense to me). As useful as that kind of directed research undoubtedly is, it's not serendipitous research. Serendipitous research, as I think of it, comes in two forms.

Type one is entirely accidental, a side-effect of regular research whereby in looking up something you want to know now you discover something that will be useful later on for something else, I had an example of this happen to me yesterday, I was looking into the possibility of using obsidian as a building material (which I'm still unclear on, but some monks made a temple out of beer bottles and obsidian is a kind of glass, so maybe?) and discovered something called obsidian hydration dating, which is another archaeological thing that is basically about dating the age of obsidian tools and stuff by how much the surface has reacted to water (kind of the volcanic glass equivalent of going rusty I guess) and my plot point radar went bing and I ended up with half a page of notes of the 'when you get as far as editing that bit' variety. This kind of serendipitous research isn't something you can force or predict, although it helps to keep your eyes open for the kind of unrelated but useful stuff that might be floating past at any moment.

Type two is about going looking for serendipity (which is kind of against the spirit of the concept, but whatever), it's what I also call 'research at random' and it works like this, I'm stuck with something plot related, I don't know what should be happening at a certain point, or I have to get the plot from point A to point C but have no clue what the the intervening plot point B should be, or I have to fill in the details of the question mark question mark question mark bit that comes before profit in the villains' plan, something like that, and for whatever reason I don't think direct research is going to help (maybe I've already done some and it didn't, or possibly I'm aware that my problem is more creative than factual) what I do then is research something random. Picking something random to research is harder than it sounds, the temptation is to pick something that obviously could be useful, but that's not the point of the exercise, so the trick is to research something interesting, I pull something non fiction out of my to be read pile (which is full of interesting but of no immediate use stuff) or I go on a wiki-walk until I find something that looks cool and intriguing or I just go and find out what someone else is researching right now and see if that's of any use. I know this sounds like a complete waste of time (and sometimes it is) but it's amazing how often this approach actually works and if not, well that's a whole new bunch of interesting factoids that just might help out with the next problem down the line.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Left Hand Path

Couple of weeks on and I'm giving the Trifecta thing another go, this week the word is 'sinister' with the meaning 'singularly evil or productive of evil'. Although I enjoy writing to prompts for it's own sake, I thought, with NaNoWriMo just around the corner I would take the opportunity to do some world building, which probably goes a long way towards explaining why the following is heavy on description and light on actual plot (you know other than that being pretty normal for me). Still, I kind of like it.

Left Hand Path

The left hand path leads down through twisted roots. Roots that drip sap as red as blood. With each step Splice takes the boards shift and sway beneath her feet. Her right hand trails across dark rock. Rock that seeps water like saltless tears. She follows the path to the base of the world where the harpy nests hang and turn in the breeze.
Splice watches them, mesmerised, these beautiful, sinister, bestial clawed angels. She watches them lounge and preen in their feather-lined roosts. She watches them swoop on flax coloured wings, spiralling downwards into endless blue skies. She stands at the very last step of the path, her feet on the very last board. She winds her right arm round the rope from which the path hangs and leans out over nothing at all. Her left hand is outstretched and the red drips that fall are not sap. She waits.
Red drips on the wind and the creatures call and bicker among themselves. They circle and spit until one rises victorious from the din. She soars, tasting the air with her crimson hued tongue. With sharp taloned fingers she snatches the gift that Splice brings. Sharp teeth and three gulps. It is done.
The harpy glares, with eyes golden and round as a hawk "A sweet heart." she concedes "What desire do you ask in return?"
But Splice simply turns and walks with the rock on her left. Up through the roots to the gardens above.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Blood Roses

It's been a while since I did any flash fiction hasn't it? All right it's been a while since I've posted anything at all, it's been even longer since I did any flash fiction. Anyway I recently found this Trifecta challenge thing, I've decided I like it. Mostly I like the whole concept of using a single word as a story prompt, a single word with a specific meaning. The level of abstraction of that appeals to me (turns out my muse is some kind of anthropomorphic dictionary). Not saying that any of the other forms of story prompt out there are bad, the pictures and the titles and the write about this topics and what have you, just I like this one.

The following story is based on the word 'Death' defined as 'the destroyer of life represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe'.

Blood Roses

A slender man walks through a crowded room. People he has never met part before him like a sea of costumed colour while he wears black. He passes a mirror and in the reflection his bone white flesh is merely bone.

A locked door does not hinder him and in the muffled hush beyond a staircase spirals. A trail of roses leads him on, deep red for love but these were white before someone steeped each petal in fresh blood. He takes each bloom as he reaches it, raises it to his face the scent as sweet as perfume to him.

At the top of the stairs is a passage, at the end of the passage a door. The door stands open, shifting slightly to and fro in a breath of wind. In the room beyond, a girl lies mangled on the bed. Her dress, like the roses was pure white once, now stained with crimson.

He watches the knife drop from her fingers, hears her last breath falter and fade. He senses her life seep out of every self-made wound, knows her last warmth is for him alone. In love with Death, she dies to be with him.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Of Alien Skies

There may be nothing that says 'alien world' as fast as a sky that's an unusual colour, or has a few extra moons or more than one sun. Sometimes these things may be plot relevant, but even when they're not they're a quick, efficient way of saying to the reader (or viewer, because it works on screen too) 'life here is not as it is on earth so don't make assumptions' with the added bonus of being all atmospheric and stuff. It's a neat trick (one that I like so much I have to slap myself occasionally to prevent over use), it's simple, it works and while it's perhaps a little peculiar that with all the multitudes of stars and planets to choose from earth colonists should so consistently choose ones that are notably unearthlike (or perhaps not, perhaps the exploratory drive demands that the place you end up be different from the place you started) it doesn't provoke the same kind of derision as describing a planet as an 'jungle world'.

Except that, while describing a planet as an ice planet or a jungle planet or whatever sounds like a case of failing geology forever, not doing so could be interpreted as a sign of failing to understand people, that is how real places get described. Really 'jungle world' might be taken to mean 'has a lot more jungle than earth does'. I suppose it depends whether you put the words into the mouth of a character or actually describe a whole planet as if it really only were a single type of environment (although as far as I'm concerned ice planets get let off the hook at least a little bit, I mean if the whole place is typically below the freezing point of whatever the locally common liquids are, it's pretty much going to be icy all over right? I mean I'm sure the locals would notice different types of ice at different latitudes or what have you, but that doesn't make 'ice planet' an inaccurate description does it? Maybe that's just me.)

The problem only gets worse if  characters are really only visiting one tiny bit of a planet (or a couple of tiny bits that may or may not be similar) then what do you do? Do you note that the rest of the world is different even though that might be completely irrelevant to the plot? Or maybe you're just careful to describe 'the city of whatever' or 'the something-or-other continent' (which lets be honest still suffers from the same problem, just to a lesser extent).

Seeing as I (in what is increasingly looking like a moment of insanity) picked to set my W.I.P. in a space-going, planet-hopping setting, these are questions I get to ask myself rather a lot, so I wish I had better answers, but the truth is that in the end I mostly ask myself 'Is this important and/or interesting, or can I fudge it and hope nobody notices?' I'm not sure whether that's a healthy attitude or not.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Don't Ask Me To Smile.

So according to twitter today is World Goth Day, not exactly clear on who decided this, or why but I hope my neighbors don't hate Sisters of Mercy too much because they're going to be hearing an awful lot of it awfully loud today and I may hunt out some black nail polish or something, wonder where I've put that? I could also point out that I'm wearing black (and purple) velvet but actually I do that every single day of my life. Or rather I do that on the days when I can get the energy together to get dressed at all which sort of brings me to the subject that I was going to talk about today anyway, I want to talk about depression, and partly I want to talk about how it's not at all the same thing as the kind of exultant misery that I used to (and still on occasion do) enjoy when listening to what others might term 'really depressing lyrics'.

As you may have already gathered from the above I have depression (and also a fairly gothic taste in clothes and music, though that's not as relevant as it might appear), I've been told I shouldn't say that I suffer from depression, but honestly, as well meaning as the woman who told me that was, I find it doubtful that she's ever experienced it for herself. Which is actually why I'm writing this, I'm not looking for sympathy or pity or help (I have help actually, both professional and non-professional) I'm not even especially demanding understanding, although I will admit that would be nice. I'm writing this because I'm aware that many people have never had depression and perhaps, in the same way that some men strive to understand what the experience of childbirth is like, some of them would like an insiders view. I don't know if I can convey what it's like, but I can certainly try and of course I can't claim to know what depression is like for anyone else (although in all probability I will slip and say something to that effect at least once or twice). What follows is a record of an intensely subjective experience. It may often seem self-pitying and pathetic, that is I'm afraid part of the nature of the beast. Oh and triggering as hell, discussion of suicidal thoughts incoming after the paragraph break for example, you have been warned. Also swearing, ditto.

It speaks volumes about your mental space when contemplating suicide actually rates as an emotionally uplifting experience, but very often that's how I feel about it. It makes a fucked up kind of sense if you stop and think, by planning (sometimes in great detail) how I can take myself out of this world I'm reassuring myself that I have power, the power of life and death no less, over myself and my situation, sometimes I need that, albeit twisted, sensation of empowerment. Of course, there are other times when I just want out, those are the dangerous times, the times when I have to remind myself that if I do that I'll never finish my novel. No seriously, quite often that's literally the only thing I'm holding on to. My partner will try and remind me that there are people that care about me, but all I can see is that I'm a burden on them and really they'd be better off without me whatever they might think about it. Is that objectively true? well obviously I think it is, otherwise why would I believe it? On my best days, my most positive days when my self-loathing is at it's lowest ebb I can see that I do have a few redeeming features, I'm pretty good at listening to others problems for example. Even on those days I'm not sure that that's enough to compensate for all the bull-shit they have to put up with from me, but maybe it's enough to earn a stay of execution if I'm really trying to get better and, on my good days at least, I am.

There's two things to be taken from all that I think, one is that when trying to talk down a potential jumper it's helpful to have some idea of what they value about themselves, because that's what will make the difference and the other is that, things are not always what they seem with misery. Even within a single mind it's possible for one line of thought to exist within two very different emotional contexts, one truly dark and self-destructive the other a warped, inverted even, kind of positivity. Not that I'm suggesting that suicidal thoughts are ever entirely healthy, clearly that's ridiculous, all I'm saying is that sometimes, paradoxical as it may seem, they can actually provide the impetus to keep on living, perhaps even with increased motivation to take on challenges and well, to live rather than just survive. How do you tell the difference? No fucking clue, and it's my damn head. Then again, if I had all the keys to my own psyche I probably wouldn't be depressed. Not that I think I'd be likely ever to be happy, just not interested in happiness and that's what I'm going to talk about next.

There is a sort of general assumption that everyone wants to be happy and normal, there are plenty of people that know and understand that these desires are not constants but still, that is the cliché, the yardstick if you like for what people 'should' want, I mean who wouldn't want to be happy and normal? Me that's who, no thank you, not interested. More than not interested in fact, the idea of being either gives me the creeping horrors, but for quite different reasons. The idea of being happy creeps me out because the notion is so utterly alien to me. On those rare occasions when I actually find myself happy about something my first, instinctive reaction is to do something, anything, to make it stop. This sounds completely crazy I know (largely because it is) but being happy feels like a kind of possession, as though the happiness is a separate emotion based creature that's temporarily invaded my body. It's been so long since I actually experienced happiness that I no longer recognize the emotion as part of myself. Happiness is something that happens to other people.

I might eventually, with much, much therapy come round to the idea that it's all right to be happy sometimes, on my own terms. Anyone suggesting that I should want to be normal though can fuck right off, normal people are dicks. All right, that might be a bit of a sweeping statement, but in general if someone claims to be 'normal' and you should be too, then what they really mean is that no one has the right to be different and they are wrong and also a dick. The other thing is that normal can often mean ordinary and seriously who the hell wants to be ordinary when they have the potential to be extraordinary? Quite a lot of people actually, I was once having a conversation with someone about my son and how it was tiring keeping up with his questions because he's so smart, this wasn't actually me complaining (mostly) it was more like camouflaged bragging but she took it as a complaint, with a response something like 'Oh I know, you think you should be proud but actually you just wish they were normal don't you?' no, fuck no, I may not be the greatest mother ever, what with the depression and everything, but I would never, ever be so fucking god-damned awful as to wish my kid dumber just to make my life easier, what kind of sadistic hell monster selfish bitch queen scumtard would I have to be to even think that? (not that I said any of that of course). A normal one apparently, so yeah, fuck normal, I will continue to be me, thank you so very much (and I will continue to be proud that my kid wants to be a theoretical physicist as well, daunted I admit, but proud).

So if I don't want to be happy or normal then how can I claim to be trying to get better? Well because my definition of 'better' doesn't include either of those things, my definition of better could be summed up as 'functional'. I mentioned right near the top of this post that some days I struggle even to get up and dressed, I would like that to stop, it's ridiculous, infuriating, and possibly the hardest thing of all to explain. I don't know if I can describe the sheer over-whelming resistance to doing... well anything that can descend on a bad day. It's not 'can't' it's not even 'can't be bothered' it's 'why should I' and 'I don't deserve to succeed' not even at something as simple as, say, brushing my hair. On bad days I loathe myself so completely that even that would be a travesty, and worse than that it would prove that I'm capable of something, anything, and if I can do that then why can't I do... well anything, and that's terrifying, absolutely terrifying because the length of the road between here and achieving anything I consider worthwhile is almost unimaginably long and hard and complicated and full of unknowns, far better just to stay here where it's warm and safe.

At the same time, I desperately want to achieve something, anything so that I can remind myself that I'm capable of of achieving anything I set my mind to. It's that same double-sided thinking really, isn't it, one train of thought, one mind, two completely different emotional outcomes. It's easy to say that I should only allow myself the positive version, but it's not as simple as that. Last night I managed to get a bunch of edits I'd promised to someone done, and not just done, but done in a timely fashion (more or less) and instead of letting myself be happy about that and get started on the next thing, I immediately started beating myself up about all the times I hadn't managed to get what I set out to do done, and essentially, how dare I think that this one little success made a difference and within half an hour or so I was back to wishing I was dead... for succeeding at something (however small) how fucked up is that? Very is the short answer, and worse than that, I know it, just like I know that all this wallowing in self-pity is pathetic and I know that not being able to get out of bed in the morning is both lazy and worse than pathetic. No one needs to tell me those things, I tell myself them, all the time and I utterly loathe myself for it all, just as I loathe that I can't get anything done for all the fucking self-loathing going on in here.

It comes down to this, the thing I hate most about myself is that I hate that I hate myself.

One last little thing: I realise that I haven't really said anything about the stuff that got me depressed in the first place, but honestly, this post is more than long enough already and I really just wanted to get across the cyclic nature of depression. Not sure if I got that across. Also not sure that this post will be of any use to anyone whatsoever. Well it was kind of cathartic to write at least, so if nothing else there's that. Maybe that will have to be enough. If it is useful to anyone, perhaps as fodder for characterization perhaps? this is supposed to be a writing blog after all, then go ahead and use it. If you just want to use it to paint me as a pathetic tortured artist, waste of space, go ahead and do that too, after all it's what I'd do.