PERSONAL: On Insomnia, Gaga, and My Bubble

It hasn’t been a particularly eventful week, but I’ve had plenty to think over while stressing over things I really shouldn’t be stressing about. After the jump, a look at my nagging (though mild) insomnia, the sudden resurgence of certain songs in my iPod, and a pondering of a life somewhat unlived…

Tomorrow, I am due at Union Station at nine a.m. So, of course, I’m unable to sleep.

Insomnia isn’t an unusual problem with me, especially as my sleep cycle is typically set to let me sleep only after 1am, if not much later. I can curl up in bed, with my music playing and hugging my pillow, and yet my thoughts don’t stop, or even slow down. Invariably I do the same steps that will have no effect: take a shot of booze (which sometimes helps, though fear not, I’m no alcoholic), exercise, write a blog. It’s more common when I’m wired, or worried about something – in this case, the many balls I’m juggling academically, professionally and personally. Well, not so much personally, but that’s another story.

The problem is, I can’t imagine leaving any of them behind. My part-time job is key to me being able to survive, pay off my built-up debts and occasionally eat. My classes are, of course, important, even as I struggle to motivate myself to attend a couple of the less-engaging ones. My homework, though probably light to those familiar with heavy workloads, is still considerable, especially as it’s all relatively similar: writing-based projects, each requiring some level of creativity and research. Two pilots, a series bible, two essays, and a spec, in amongst midterms and the smaller assignments that command my attention. And then, no less important, though often overlooked, are the works I’m doing to build my professional name: the internship I’m doing, where even my light task load is often ignored, and the short films I’m writing for another student, which are almost done except for one particularly daunting edit. Plus the two blogs that are now less a responsibility than a refuge from the more pressurised tasks outlined above. (And there’s the handful of small, ‘someday’ projects I poke around at: the graphic novel I’d like to pursue with one of my best friends, a virtual series feature script I’d like to pen, a spinoff book from The Signal looking at one-season wonders, etc.) Part of it is, of course, the train, but not all. It’s also that I’ve become a pretty driven person these past few years.

When I was a kid, ambitious was… not the word my family would use to describe me. ‘Lazy’, perhaps, or ‘unfocused’. The consensus seemed to be that I had a good level of creative power, but no discipline or drive. That changed in high school, when I realised what I wanted to do, and began pursuing it with a fervour some would probably describe as religious. My ability to orient my entire life around one point, used in my youth to create faux Zelda games and write ever-unfinished epic stories, finally had a purpose. Now, I’m ravenous, ready to fight for what I want. And I love it. Every one of those projects is one I, a least to some degree, enjoy. I’m in love with the act of creation, even as my focus is split in a thousand directions.

Of course, in that mess of writing and ‘the future’, where is my personal? It’s ironic, actually: the short film I wrote in Grade 12, which convinced me to start living my life, featured a girl so focused on her eventual career that she shied away from living an amazing life. While I’m hardly as sheltered as she, I resemble her a lot more three years down the line than I ever imagined, even as I juggle a festival of wonderful friendships. It’s at the point where a visiting friend, who I adore, is both a blessing and a curse: how can I justify losing a precious day of working to wander around the city, my pen idle and my thoughts only on our adventures? Of course, this characterization is far too heroic; after all, though one day devoted to one of the most important people in my life seems like a massive diversion from ‘the plan’, I’m constantly cutting away this hour and that for my own pleasure. But in balancing these two worlds there are always sacrifices, and that’s a point of weakness in m abilities: the ability to calculate how much time each aspect of my life deserves, and how much is requires.

Is my life any less rich because it is oriented around, essentially, watching TV, writing blogs (about TV), and writing scripts (for TV)? Would I be a better person if I tried other things, even though I know these things are the ones that make me happy? TV gets trashed a lot, but it serves a lot of functions in my life. It allows me to fuel and structure my creative thoughts. It allows me to connect with those I love, through an activity we enjoy doing together. It gives me fodder to practice my skills and build a name for myself. So it’s not just that I’m obsessed with this medium; after all, I consume music at the same rate, and I like books, graphic novels, blogs and video games as much as the next person. I’m not sure.

It’s a constant question for me, as much as it is, I guess, for anyone who focuses the bulk of their attentions in one field or another. I doubt I’ll ever get an answer.

The reason I’m questioning my ‘personal’, specifically, is a not-so-recent development: my lack of, specifically, a love life. While I’m not particularly attached to the popular hunt for a mate, I can’t help but wonder if I’m missing out on something by focusing myself solely on my friends, family and career, to the point where its rare for me to even set aside time for a date. The most I do is hang around dating websites, which I’ve had rather mixed luck on, to be honest. Plenty of my friends are in relationships, and I keep wondering: do I want that? I’ve long dismissed the idea of needing one, being a rather independent person, and the handful of chaos it throws into one’s life seems less than desirable. So I make half-hearted gestures toward it. My last semiseries flirtation was sunk by my ability to schedule an amenable date time before my would-be paramour gave up altogether, and considering my busy slate, I guess the million dollar question is whether it would benefit me or just send my mountain of spinning plates crashing to the floor.

On less angsty notes! I’ve been listening to a lot of music, as usual, and its again come to my attention how certain songs ebb and flow, based on my personal situation and whatever I’m working on. For example, I’ve been listening to a lot of People in Planes, as their music seems to hit on a specific tone that fits into both the pilots I’m working on. Black Lab feeds the same beast, as well. Oddly enouh, I’ve found certain dance tracks to be wonderful for visualising action scenes, as well as pacing up my walking speed, so Lady GaGa‘s “Just Dance” has been in perpetual play for a few days now. And then there’s the song I thought was just a fluke, sneaking into my ‘Good Playlist’ (a playlist made up of anything I’ve played 3 times or more), and turning out to by my momentary crack: Sarah McLachlan‘s “Time”, which is absolutely gorgeous now that I’ve spent some time with it.

Before these took precedence, my brain was hooked on Kelly Clarkson for a couple weeks while another project germinated, a virtual series feature set after the final season of a show I worked on for years, but before the big miniseries the showrunner’s planning down the line. This was paired with a mysterious resurgence in my enjoyment of Matthew Good‘s music, which I still play every so often. And before that, I was hooked on early Stars songs: “Liar”, “On Peak Hill”, “Better Be Heaven”, etc. alongside Rihanna‘s “Umbrella”, which I still think is a great friendship song, despite its reign on the radio that killed its appeal to most.

Last summer, while working on a feature idea for a webseries I’ve been writing, I was big into GaGa: “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” scored a lot of creative moments in the initial plans for that project, which is still in the pipeline eventually. Sometimes the death of interest in a song that’s heavily tied to a project can have an adverse effect on one or the other: for example, when “Poker Face” faded from my rotation, so did that project; meanwhile, the critical evisceration of a pilot a year back all but killed Florence + the Machine‘s “My Boy Builds Coffins”, which was my song of choice while plotting that project.

Sometimes I miss music blogging, even though I had pretty good reasons for retiring from that business. If I ever get the brainspace to talk about anything but TV, perhaps The Bringer of Song II will rise from the ashes, albeit in a less-pirateful form than its predecessor. When I’m not intaking anything else (TV, conversation, reading), I still tend to have my headphones on, after all.

Well, as I said… I’m up early tomorrow. I must at least attempt to get a worthwhile night’s sleep, or risk leaving my best friend at Union while I sleep in. Until next time, friends.

PERSONAL: On Insomnia, Gaga, and :

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