ursula: (sheep)
Questions from [livejournal.com profile] alsoelsewhere.

1. What was the subtle boredom you've occasionally mentioned?

A lack of focus: that is, a failure to focus my attention sharply on any one thing, which is restful at first but eventually produces a generalized feeling of aimlessness, and an inability to engage in distractions more complicated than interpersonal politics or video games or endlessly hitting refresh. I have a certain mental cycle: stressed and working hard, and also procrastinating in elaborate ways, followed by a deliberate attempt to block the world out (beat a game, read a book a day), and then an increasing sense that I ought to be getting back to work and doing something real; but when I don't have something which feels real to do I waffle about aimlessly.

I'm in rather an odd state at the moment, in that I think I'm just at the leading edge of the working-hard-and-procrastinating-interestingly state, but I'm also still dealing with my chronic Victorianate illness (it seems to involve a sensitivity to mold?), so that some days even making tea is hard, and I exhaust my store of motivation before I reach the projects I care about.

2. Do you put much effort into avoiding pretention? What is it really and why is it bad?

Pretending to wisdom or originality one doesn't possess makes for bad writing and tiresome public speaking. I avoid some sources of irritation unconsciously, and I try not to commit pretention by mistake; but as for effort, well, I'd rather make more tea. *

3. Your dreams. Recurring images, distinguishing features?

I have a large number of intensely everyday dreams-- that S. returned an e-mail about a (possibly trivial) presentation in Morse Theory with the remark that of course! I would be the natural person to do this, since I presented the very same thing two years ago in Manifolds, to pick a recent example-- some nightmares caused by sleeping with too many covers, uneasy dreams about wandering through airports-cum-shopping malls, and then the rarer and more treasured story. The most recent dream of this sort involved running from the head minion of an evil enchanter. I tried to escape by transforming myself into a white dress shirt in a closet full of identical white dress shirts, but she discovered me by analyzing the cut: "It would be all natural fibers . . . And a classic design . . ." Running from the enchanter or enchantress is a recurring plot, but more often those dreams become all about the running, scrambling up and down streambanks, twisting through woods.

4. What needs to change? What must be preserved?

Those dreams about whether I'll miss my flight; and ginger.

5. What is to be done?

It has to do with teaching in a building covered with white plastic, penguins marching, and Tukwila. And then there's finding a thesis problem.

* The would-be pretentious reader may compare Edith Wharton's Summer.

November 2016

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