Everest

January 23, 2012 § 46 Comments

Sometimes I think that rather than being miserable during the shit times, we should in fact be extravagantly cheerful.

Everything in my life today seems as though it is shit and I feel literally sick.  Emotional nausea.  Fascinated by it as it feels so powerful but I can’t quite locate it.  Popular opinion has it lurking in the stomach but I am not so sure.  It feels to me, more, like a thickness in my throat.  Anyway, that’s an aside: I wish I knew where nausea actually is?  I feel it often enough.

Financially fucked (bad news layering upon more bad news on that score; I need so very little and can’t seem to manage to generate even that); tussles with a badly-behaving Immediate that I find dispiriting and depressing and even frightening; hostility from a former Immediate; less than nothing in terms of a twinkle, not even a twinkle that can only be detected on the world’s most powerful telescope but has been proven nonetheless actually to exist.

Days like this, when things are such unmitigated shit and slitting the wrists is the only logical solution, I have made it my business to turn things inside out and opt instead for the most irrational response.

I pray for more shit.

Why?  Because the shittier it gets, the more likely it is that I will have hit rock bottom and the reason I so yearn to hit actual rock bottom is because presumably there is only one direction one can go from rock bottom.  The sky is the limit from that particular view point, no?  And that is a reason to be cheerful.  Resoundingly cheerful.

Looked at like that, the time to feel depressed is when everything is going well, because it can’t possibly last and something has to go wrong.  But it is only wretches who think like this: unhappy when they are unhappy and unhappy when they are happy.  Most people, unless they are spoilt and ungrateful to a degree, when things are going well, count their lucky stars, recognise their amazing good fortune and enjoy every ounce of the moment.  I think the trick is, best of both worlds, to appreciate the good times and to hail the bad ones as an indicator that more good ones are around the corner.

As I say, that is the trick.  It’s not one I have mastered.  But I am working on it.

So, instead of grappling for spare razor blades and job lots of paracetamol in my bathroom cupboard as my current circumstances dictate and I ought to be doing, I am instead throwing myself into thinking of imaginative ways of how I can get more work, earn more money, (the bottomless imagination of a fantasy novelist required); how to civilise the badly behaved Immediate; how to slough off the warthog image and become more attractive via whole new manifestations of myself.

The word that comes to mind is Everest.  And while I don’t mean literally, obviously, I am talking about a metaphorical Everest here, remember, I am not someone who likes being outdoors much or going for a stroll to get the paper, let alone up a goddamn mountain, so I am starting from a handicap of several thousand metres below ground before I even reach its foothills.

Never mind.  Step One, as I flail in shit, is To Be Cheerful, or I may just drown.

Reasons, reasons, reasons to be cheerful (NB. subtle difference from blessings which, as you well know, I already spend practically my whole my life counting!):-

I had a lovely lunch with two old friends yesterday, one I hadn’t seen for a year or so and he made me laugh so much I thought I was going to be sick and my stomach muscles are groaning today (or maybe that was the Bikram session, my second and probably last, I did on Saturday morning?)

I haven’t had my lovely latte yet today.  It’s still pending.

I didn’t fancy the hero in last night’s Birdsong.

I have a day out with one of my children tomorrow.

The book I am reading is gripping.

I am seeing One Man, Two Guvnors later this week.

It’s BF’s birthday dinner next week, which promises to be full of old friends.

Gosh, carry on like this and I could begin to sound almost smug, though I hope not.

No, I promise it’s more in the spirit of cheer.

I am drowning in shit but feeling so astoundingly cheerful.

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§ 46 Responses to Everest

  • Lydia says:

    Poor Plankton. I can’t really walk at present but am cheerful. Had I know there were money issues (although I suppose everyone who chooses to write for living if indeed that is so with plankton probably knows it means no money – let us all encourage our daughters into lucrative careers….) I would not have gone about women’s earning power etc.

    I tend to take the view there is always money to be earned and have been thinking up methods since I was 10. Much of what I try failes but enough works coupled with my optimism to make it okay.

    Go on peopleperhour.com. I get work from that (a tiny bit) and there are lots of things people can do on that to get earn money.

    Mind you I never earned much money from my 30 book sideline so may be think of something nothing to do with writing at all. Putting on children’s parties for £200 an afternoon on Saturdays always sounded a good possibilty to me.

    I suppose the classic thing slim middle class women who want money do (whores that they are) is seek a man to keep them. Many a man has moaned of this but plenty love the pleasure to their ego of keeping such women.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks. I like to work hard, have always loved my work, only problem is that this line of work brings in Jack Shit, alas. Even all the successful writers I know are finding it a real struggle at the moment.

  • Sarah says:

    Don’t worry, P, I sent you an email.

    You’re right about the shitty times, the only way is up, and you could fall over Mr Wonderful doing his shoe laces up on the street tomorrow!

  • Margaux says:

    It’s January – the most shit laden month of the year. But I like the glimmer of optimism running though this post.
    I am tempted to go into one of my mantras distilled from too many self help psychobabble books over the years. But I’ll keep a lid on it and just say this :
    Stay cheerful, P – it’s the most any of us can try and do when the shit appears to be a deluge…

    PS On the finances front (and I’m sure I’m not the only one to have thought it) this blog would make a great book….

    (PPS I thought Birdsong’s hero was quite cute …..)

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks. I have been scratching and scratching as to how to make this blog into a book and I just can’t find a way to convert it, but I am thinking… Hard…! x

      • Margaux says:

        How about:
        A year in the Life of a Plankton. Or- to not be time specific, just ‘Plankton Life’.
        Each chapter = one day/ one post followed by a selection of comments.

        I guess all Commentators would have to give their approval (and sign away any rights) – as some may not want to be reproduced. (Just create an email add where everyone could msg to say yay or nay)

        If you can’t get a publisher interested ( although personally I think it’s a winner) – then you formulate it into an E-book and put it on Amazon yourself. Then you start a twitter/facebook campaign and alert some of your journalistic connections in newpapers or mags to give it a plug.

        If you keep your anonymity -the mystery would also help sell it.

        What do you think, P? You’ve given us so much good writing and all the discussions/comments you’ve triggered have been compulsive reading too!

      • The Plankton says:

        Dear Margaux, This is so sweet of you and helpful especially as I am extraordinarily clueless about all this new multi-media. I would love to put it as it is (with or without comments) onto Amazon but need to find some friend to help me as I haven’t a CLUE how to begin. One of my Immediates is good at this stuff (younger than me by about 15 years and astonishingly au fait with it all. I am fully intending to seek her advice and expertise. I am on to it! But thank you for the encouragement! px

  • MissBates says:

    Your post today brings to mind a quote from mid 20th-century psychologist Harry Stack Sullivan: “It is easier to act yourself into a new way of feeling than to feel yourself into a new way of acting.”

    Or: “fake it til you make it.”

    Hope things look up for you, Plankton.

  • Redbookish says:

    Wonderful blog, Ms P. I find Philip Larkin or T S Eliot also wonderful in this frame of mind: sometimes they are so beautifully depressing, it is uplifting. Or Johnson’s “Vanity of Human Wishes.” To read the very small limits of what can make us happy ….

  • MissM says:

    So true that when things are going well it doesn’t last. I have yet to figure out exactly why it doesn’t work the other way around though, since when things are shit, it lasts. Things can stay shit for years and years. Then quite possibly, after a number of years, things might change by getting even worse. If that is someone’s idea if a joke, I have to say it isn’t funny.

    I hope you get some true cheerfulness today, or at the very least, a wonderful latte. I’m going to bed now and may contemplate cheerful tomorrow. I know one thing I will enjoy tomorrow will be reading this blog, I always do enjoy that.

    • The Plankton says:

      Now that is a very wonderful thing to say! Thank you. And there was me this morning in the dark and cold thinking I couldn’t do anything and might have to give up the blog as I have nothing left to say and no money! Thank you. xx

      • Steve H says:

        Don’t you dare give this blog up P!

        It’s now one of my favourites and I dip into a few times a day.

        I even turn to this blog some days before scanning my favourite sport websites – no higher honour can be bestowed 😉

        I do feel for you feeling low though . January is such a crap month , although Feburary isn’t much better.But at least the evenings are getting lighter bringing us hope that Spring will be with us eventually.

        I know you’ve nixed the Yoga but I would give some kind of exercise a go – whether it be a spin/zumba class or something else. The buzz I get from exercise , as well as the feeling of being a bit fit, is tremendous.

      • The Plankton says:

        Dear Steve, yo! That is really kind. I am delighted you are enjoying it quite so much and vow to keep on though increasingly worried that I am going to run out of things to say! Px

      • Joules says:

        Even if you run out of things to say the rest of us seem to have plenty of material. And you can weave it into something of beauty. No way that you can stop but I do second the turning it into a book idea – if the eat, sleep, love woman can do it then so can you.

        Wonder if there is any plankton out there, other than Jo, who has been following this blog for several months who has managed to meet someone. Now that might be a good tag for the book. Perhaps a self-selected group so not statistically valid as per randomness but would be interesting as a series of case studies (all the rage in social science circles these days).

      • The Plankton says:

        That would be interesting. And if she did, did she do so when least expecting it? px

      • MissM says:

        Oh good call Joules! I recently said to a friend I’d love a book on how couples have met. Not the ordinary sort of meeting that comes easily for some lucky people, but the “when they were least expecting it” or by some completely insane set of fortuitous circumstances kind. The meeting that happens to plankton even when they thought they were going to be alone forever. (Surely that happens, I do so hope that happens.) Some sort of good news that can give generic plankton hope on those days when there is nothing at all on the horizon. A book that may give us ideas other than the usual ‘join a group’ sort of platitudes which are as useful as the tits on a bull.

        I’ll be on the waiting list to buy that as soon as it is published.

        As for running out of blog ideas, or maybe some days just the time or energy dear P, you can rest assured we can keep the comments coming with even the slightest ‘I’m still here’ input on your part. I am confident you will come into the energy to provide a good rant between some short post days to remind us all how to do it properly. The less productive days will just prove you are as human as the rest of us, and I’s sure we will love you all the more for it.

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you so much, MissM. Reassuring indeed. The funny thing is, I do always seem to come up with a post when least expecting it, hey ho; only wish a few other (nice) things might happen when I am least expecting it, hey ho! Px

      • EmGee says:

        I believe the latter, cannot believe the former! 🙂

        (hope I go it right, I am hopeless!) You will always have something to say!

  • Margaux says:

    Hi P – I had a look around and found this :

    Word Press appears to have a free ‘plugin’ that converts blogs to books & ebooks called Anthologize

    See here : http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-easy-ways-turn-blog-ebook-free/

    and here : http://anthologize.org/

    Maybe your techyminded Immediate can check it out for you?

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Margaux, Thank you again. You star! Really kind of you. I shall check it out and speak to my Immediate about it for sure. Where did I get to be such a techno-bollocks? Px

  • maria says:

    Hang in there P, things will get better, I’m sure. And don’t give up the blog, I love the wonderful writing and all the great comments.

  • Lydia says:

    I suspect it is easier to marry a rich man than to turn most blogs however good into books which make a lot of money. but it is certainly worth exploring all avenues.

  • terracotta says:

    Plankton – reasons to be cheerful – you dont live in Houston, Texas – Im over to take my two youngest (of 7) out for their leave out from school – I just feel deleriously excited – kiss the runway excited – to be in London – I could LICK IT ALL OVER. Houston sucks the soul out of you big time (Im just guessing you are in fact in London – apologies if its Milton Keynes). Agree about that man on Birdsong – something of Sesame Street about him and I’ve a horrid feeling he’s in Marylyn as well.

    • The Plankton says:

      I thought it might’ve been just me but a friend said, What is it with the BBC, all these unsexy male leads? And I rather had to agree. x

      • MissM says:

        I had to google this Birdsong given I am in Oz and have heard naught about it until now. The lead is most definitely not my type, but perhaps he is someone else’s. Yes Terracotta, he is in My Week with Marilyn too. But I love the piece at the end of the trailer where the character says:
        “there is nothing more sir, but to love and be loved”. How very true.

  • Plankton-o-phile says:

    P don’t stop, I have only just become an avid reader, by sharing your thoughts you neutralize some of life’s more mundane moments. And on a good day you shine a beacon into the dark corners. Sleep well x

  • Jo says:

    Please don’t give up the blog yet P. Even if you only write one sentence. Even if you say ‘I haven’t got anything to say’!
    The book idea is brill. Further. It could be made into a movie later. (I’m fantasising on your behalf here.). Complete with mystery ending. Always the best kind of ending anyway. Actually, I’m not entirely joking.
    Today I tried a Zumba class. I have to say,try to have a go. I wasn’t sure about it – I’m a yoga girl myself- but, bitesize straightforward dance steps to GREAT music? It was fantastic and most of all mightily uplifting.
    I was surprised as hell. Give it a go. Honestly. It can’t help with the money or the shit. But it will make you feel fab for a while. Which is worth a little something I hope.

    • The Plankton says:

      Oh, I too have had that fantasy. Just got to put it into action, somehow! Thanks re Zumba. Noted. Px

      • joules says:

        I love zumba – all the fun of going dancing with none of the worries. Would strongly recommend it and the going to the classes has meant I have met lots of other interesting women from different walks of life that I would not have otherwise.

        Of course not men – well we have a few who come along from time to time but don’t really stay, even though everyone is very nice to them. In fact one of the younger girls’ dad did come along and was a great hit with everyone – needed a sense of humour.

        Wonder if the single guys who comment on here would consider going – definately full of women.

  • Nutkin says:

    You create something extraordinary out of the ordinary, I’m quite sure you will always have something to say.

  • terracotta says:

    Absolutely – as he ran his hands slowly over the young girl’s side just couldnt even bear to watch – changed channels – I would have given him a short sharp jab to the jaw – just too annoying.

    Hope you are feeling better today. Think of the children – their little shiney upturned faces!

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you. I am off to spend the day with one on school business, so it is a day to look forward to. Approval of comments may not make it till this afternoon when I get home but I’ll do my best. x

  • Lydia says:

    As Woody Allen said when asked the secret of his success – he just showed up. A lot of success is simply due to showing up and effort. If you can post this blog every day you can write all sorts of books. It’s mostly effort and then effort in terms of marketing etc etc not that writing is that lucrative a thing to pick anyway – although I know writers who have moved into the publishing and in particular owning side and done pretty well.

    Also don’t reject writing for things like Plastics Monthly (not sure if that one exists but there is a product you can buy which lists every trade journal and over the years (although I am not a writer) I have been paid for articles in a few obscure things like that. Just keep applying, every day, hour after hour for stuff and some of it comes good. What never happens and it’s thes ame with men if if people sit in effect doing nothing hoping things will blwo in the wind into their laps. We have huge capacity to effect change but not if we do nothing. See it all as possibilities. if you want more work or money just mention that in an English subtle way to people and often they can help. If it’s very dire working two jobs, working nights all kinds of things are possible. Needs must etc. Given most people are basically hugely lazy in the UK it’s not very hard to be much better than they are.

    • Jo says:

      Ok Lydia. I’ve held out until now, but I have finally come round to others views on this, having given you the benefit of the doubt.
      You’re not real Lydia. Full stop.

  • RS says:

    Are you and Terracotta referring to the gorgeous Eddie Redmayne in Birdsong? Granted I haven’t seen it, so he may be unsexy in that particular program, but he was adorable in My Week With Marilyn and is gorgeous in the Burberry ads.
    But then, I find scruffy 30-something musician types with beards extremely sexy, so…

    • MissM says:

      There we go, I said he wasn’t my type but that he may well be someone else’s. Men are quite lucky that women have such a wide variation in who we find attractive.

    • Margaux says:

      Well, I haven’t seen My Week with Marilyn or the Burberry ads and I think he’s scrumptious in Birdsong, RS!

  • rosie says:

    It’s those weird pillowy lips that look like they’ve smeared in frosted pale pink lipstick that get me. Ugh.

    Financially fucked here too, P, (we’re kind of in the same industry, although I doubt I’m as well known!) and it is indeed depressing beyond belief when you’re firing on all cylinders – or trying to – and still not getting anywhere. One thing I certainly won’t be trying though is peopleperhour. The one and only time I looked on there they were paying about 0.00002p for said hour, which, by my reckoning would take me about five million years to save up for a desert island.

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