My head right now is about to explode. I don’t get headaches often but I have one now. My kids have the two days off from school for fall break. It’s only been half a day and the screeches from my children while the three of them played a game on the dining room table a few steps away has been bringing on the headache. A five minute email took about 15 minutes because my head was thudding as I listened to them laugh and bicker a bit as to who’s turn was next.
What game were they playing? Trouble.
And of course, since hubbyman was working at home today trying to edit a training video he put together, they weren’t going to be quiet. Fortunately none of their noise, nor my attempts at hushing them loudly got heard on the voice over recording that was going on downstairs.
Now (roughly 1:00 am)
(insert intelligent use of a relevant transition here)
I took a 5 day absence from blogging hoping I could get some perspective. I felt mired in a lot of my own thoughts and I really was beginning to feel slightly off-kilter.
It started on Friday when I went to go pick up K from kindergarten, and was feeling melancholy that the trees are losing their leaves. I watched a bird fly across the road as I turned a corner too wide, and I was not thinking or seeing anything else. I nearly turned into a little maroon car, probably a friend of K’s whose mom just picked her up from class. She looked cross at me (I don’t blame her, I mentally checked out for a moment). Mea culpa. I know I was wrong. I realized I was basically driving in a hazy, lazy daze. Nearly hitting a car shook me out of it, but I know I was pretty in deep, because I didn’t even have that massive adrenaline rush when something scary nearly happens. I was like, “oh, look at that, I nearly hit a car”.
I realized then I was really too intense in my ruminations when the outer world has to compete hard for my attention and it nearly has to take an accident to get me out of my thoughts. I thought maybe I have been online too much, discussing too many interesting and pressing things with others, causing me to really start losing it.
During this break, I was hoping I’d be journaling with pen and paper more. I actually didn’t do any. I did, however, fill my time with preparations for their school Halloween parties this week. Last minute costume additions, a run to the Target for candy, a run to the craft store for a costume idea for myself, making treat bags filled with relatively healthy items and a few extras for the kidlets took up a lot of time (let’s see…three classes for a total of 52 kids – yowza!), and getting craft supplies ready for K’s party I was volunteering for on Wednesday.
I was able to squeeze in reading a short novel though. I don’t often read for the sheer pleasure of it these days. Usually I’m researching something or other for the kids or for myself. But I did take some time to read a relatively short fiction novel about (of all things) a mathematician called The Wild Numbers, by Philbert Shogt. Believe it or not, I found this book at a Dollar Tree (I’m kind of amazed at the books I find there from time to time).
Here is an excerpt from a review of the book
The novel centers around mathematics, but it could equally well be about any other obsession, intellectual or otherwise. Isaac could be a writer or poet, or any sort of academic and Schogt could have managed to tell much the same story. The passion and obsessiveness of the mathematician is well-conveyed — but it is a passion and obsessiveness that is shared by countless scientists working in other fields, or artists who spend similar sleepless nights working on their great creations. The thrill of discovery and the willingness to lose oneself completely in art or number or theory — to the extent of practically losing touch with reality — is similarly shared by artist, mathematician, and scientist alike, at least in the common romantic view (i.e. the novelized version) of these endeavours.
Schogt’s novel is, however, more concerned with life in general, and Isaac only finds the happiness or satisfaction he seeks when he steps back from his obsession and does not let it control and dominate his life. Vale allowed maths to get the better of him, and it drove him to madness; Isaac sees the light before it is too late and finds instead happiness and even love. Unfortunately (for readers), his is also the boring choice, and far less satisfying (as presented) than Schogt probably intended.
I hadn’t thought the book was going to be as personally as revelating as it was for me. I am no mathematician, but I do get obsessive about certain things, and seem to really need to explore them till all hours of the evening (by the way, it’s 1:22 now) or discuss them with others. I really enjoyed how the character was in some (remote) ways like myself…not being particularly brilliant at what he does, but thinking that perhaps he stumbled onto a bit of good fortune that would turn him into someone notable that would earn him a place in the history books. True, I’m not a mathematician, and I’m not in academia, but I do get the need for diving into something intellectual and ignoring the good sense to sleep when tired and eat when hungry in order to plod through the thought processes.
I also do understand the need to step back from it for a bit, becoming more fully present in the external world (come down from the clouds as my mother would say). Not for too long, mind you. Just enough to have a reality check, especially after having a few really intense days of reflection and dredging up of the past and a bit of a blogging binge before. It was good to reflect and write a lot, for a time, and then it was good to not reflect and write to get my bearings again. I still hope to get back to journaling with paper and pen though (mostly because I am unplugged while doing it and I can do that practically anywhere). I plan to resume my weekly dates with myself and my journal at the local Borders on Friday nights tomorrow night.