Oversleeping, undersleeping, and first person narratives in creative non-fiction

It is not without some irony when I write that I generally don’t like creative non-fiction that is in the first person and about that person.  Come to think of it, I generally don’t like first person fiction either.

I see the irony because I am writing a blog all about ME and it is in the first person.

I have written a few articles for the local newspaper (which now tells me they have no more money for freelancers.  But then again ‘my’ editor is away for two weeks.  I seem to have a semi-direct line to the new host of CBC Radio’s Q who is in Vancouver (until he moves to Toronto) but the paper’s editor there while the managing editor is away seemed not to care.  Hmmmm.  We carry on) that have been in the first person and I guess in a sense creative non-fiction.

So, yes, some hypocrisy perhaps.

Oh wait, no, I don’t dislike all first person.  I love first person medical stories and also, of course, certain blogs.  I often search out blogs of people who have medical stories which is again ironic because I can’t sit with people in the ER without nearly fainting.  T. experienced this when she started to vomit in an ER waiting room and myself and every other person in that waiting room except C. who thank god sat with T. and rubbed her back, skedaddled out.

“She seems sick,” noted another waitee to me as we huddled behind a divider.

“Yep,” I said.

“She does not sound well.”

“Migraine,” I said.

“Oh, no,” she said.

Today is of course as we know another unemployed day.  I’ve had a few subbing days lately which is helpful but not enough to exist correctly.  Anyway, someone is picking me up at the skytrain tonight to go to a Vineyard home group that I actually  really like in many ways but I was bored and antsy at home so walked downtown to Chapters and had a look through the latest Creative Non-Fiction magazine (there are tables and chairs nearby so I don’t think Chapters hates this and soon the store will be closed and turned into a giant SportChek).  Most stories were in the first person and started with things like (not verbatim here) “My father liked to fish in the swamp” or “I was in college last year when Emma told me she no longer loved me.”  Meh.  The great thing about creative non-fiction is that everyone has a story.  The not great thing about creative non-fiction is that everyone has a story.  And indeed, myself included.  It is hard at times to get more navel gazing than I am. A few years ago I was walking in Trout Lake Park with M. and bemoaning (my now dearly departed and I’m still griefy) mother’s recent self-obsession.  This stopped M. in her tracks and she bent over in half laughing.

“The irony,” she said, in between wiping her tears and chortling.

“Okay, okay now,” I said.

I bring this up with her regularly.

“You are never going to let me forget that.”


“That’s a bit self-obsessive.”

M. and I have been friends for holy smokes almost 27 years and I always appreciate people who have stuck with me that long.  T. and I have been friends a bit less of time and C. and I more but less as we only reconnected about four years ago or three or something.  Add in a G. and that is a bit of my core people.  I often want to buy them a car or toilet paper from Costco to say thank you for sticking around despite my this and my that and the time I screamed at you on Kitsilano Beach on my birthday.  That kind of thing.

Oops, tangent.  I tangent a lot.

What was I saying?  Oh yes, so on the whole, I don’t care for these first person creative non-fiction pieces unless they are talking about themselves medically or psychiatrically.  Otherwise, it can often read as self-involved stuff I don’t really care about and why is it in the magazine.  Blogs I get but published stuff,. hmmmm.

I have no idea how to write that without sounding a.) ironic b.) condescending, neither of which I mean.

But I do love a good story or memoir about time spent psychiatrically ill or with some medical condition, although I can no longer read stories of people who are dying or watching people dying.  That hits too close to home, too soon.

One day I want to call up and find out if my mom died in her sleep or not but I can’t seem to do this yet.  Feels like too much.  I’m not sure how long records are kept though.


This often happens when I am unstructured and also when I oversleep or undersleep.  Two nights ago it was undersleeping and last night/this morning was oversleeping.  Eeek.  Undersleep, oversleep and no people to interact with.

Did I all ready mention I have a bit of subbing next week?  Just a few days and that is again, well, it.  But I feel more relaxed knowing that I have that.  Mind you, I tend to get sick around about the second day, what up with that?

I’m starting to realize that I will be underemployed for a long time before the work peters out forever.    Hmmm.

I’ve cut way back on the art therapy – to like twice a month really. Finances mainly.  When I am there, I seem to paint a lot of crosses.  A.T. would like me to write about the significance of this but I don’t know if I can write about things that are that deep.    I tried to explain it but I don’t know how successful I was.  Also, I paint crosses partly because I can’t, well, paint, and crosses are pretty straight forward.

I do know that regular prayer – either alone or with others – shifts something in me, something I often only notice several days later.  Very subtle usually.  Tricky, because I spent years in my 20s and early 30s trying to pray to lessen my self-hate but it was never touched.   Like anything I guess.  I did send the A.T a poem by Walter Brueggemann.  Anne Lamott often gets it right too although I’ve found  bit too Oprah-fying of her brand the last few years but she’s gotta do what she’s gotta do.

Okay, apologies for my tangenting and continued first-person-ness.

Writing with Michael

At the Blenz at Library Square.

Who is Michael?

Friend from my writers’ group.  No, we don’t like each other that way.

Good got that out of the way.

Most days, I don’t do much.  I have been known to spend entire days not moving much.  Well, at least now it is warm and sunny and I will get the bicycle out more, although I have been doing that a bit all ready.  Up and down hills, trying to be in shape, trying to work off the hours and hours of sitting around.


It is hot in here I have to say.

I’m using this blog entry as a warm up of sorts to actual writing.  I’m feeling – uninspired that’s for sure.  And my newly discovered finger joint arthritis makes it trickier.  Again, that’s for sure.

I will say, however, that my hair looks fabulous today – the curls are being all curly.  It needs a trim badly though but hairdresser A. is away till May.

I’m a poet and I didn’t know it.

So yes, most days I don’t do a lot other than over brain/obsess myself.  Today though – there has been a short Cezanne situation with the Glenda, this writing, then a possible hello with T. and then volunteering at contra dancing tonight.

I should be darned well ecstatic.

I had a Costo hotdog with Glenda at 11am.  That was a bit early but good to get it done.  Got toilet paper too. I always feel like life has meaning again when I get Costco toilet paper, I tell the Glenda.

The work front continues to be inane – as in, there isn’t any.  I subbed a bit this past week – three mornings to be exact.  That was unusual.  This upcoming week is nothing, followed by more weeks of, well, nothing.

“Sounds like you are going to have to make some tough choices about your career,” says L., my friend who lives in Brighton, England.

L. is I think 35 years old, South African, has a 16 year old son, and is married to D., the friend I met at a London hostel almost 12 years ago.  L. and I are closer now than D. and I were.  L. Skypes with me a lot, often from exotic locations where D. has travelled for work.  At present they are in Rio.

“Go to the gay bars and live it up,” I suggest.

“Nah, D. doesn’t want to,” says L.

“Oh,” I say.

L. writes dark poetry and has a depth of personality that some might not see of course.

I am rather proud to have a rather deep and significant friendship with a gay fellow far younger than I am.

“Am I your special project?”  I asked him the other day when he Skyped for the second time in a week.

“No,” he insisted, “I am yours.  Besides, I don’t have many friends.”

We get each other kinda sorta even though we haven’t seen each other in almost five years, the last time I went abroad.  They now have a house just outside Brighton and L. keep telling me to come on over.

“Not for longer than say a week though,” he says.

“But I have no money.”

“Just b____ the pilot,” he says. (Sorry that is not a g-rated statement there).

“Could I get a free flight that way>”


What makes me smile like a kid is new toilet paper and also now, looking at Impressionist artists.

“We have to look at the Chaim Soutine paintings,” I tell Glenda and drag her over to them.

We spend just a short while Cezanne-ing it up, as we have both just been there.

Then we hit up the gift shop but we don’t get anything.

My stomach is growing despite my cycling forays up and down and up and down.  Those hills are killing me of late.  Well, not literally.  But sometimes I go so slowly I am almost stopped and I’m huffing and puffing and basically crying out to humanity.  Yeah, like that.  Like that.

Oh!  I have discovered I will have to pay $1200 in income tax.  This is apparently because I worked so many little jobs and they just didn’t take off the right amount of tax.  So that is awesome.  And after April 30th, there is a five per cent interest charge each and every month.

So the poor get poorer or something.

Most everyone I know is pretty burnt out from now talking about it.  Can’t blame them.

I have even cut back on the great G. and art therapy!  That sucks but one has to do what one has to do. Too bad because I really need a little A.T. when I’m not working.

What else, what else.

I guess humans are wired to not give up hope or something.  This seems to be the case with me, although many who know me would say, uh, hmmm, thought you’d given up all hope.

Nah, no point in that.

Man, I love Vancouver when the sun is out.  Michael and I are inside, which is  a bit of a shame because there is not a cloud in the sky and it is beautiful out, some say it might go up to 16C.  The same tomorrow.  And then some rain.

I have got to figure out this tax situation.  There is no way out of it except one tiny possibility that I will explore further in the next month and a half before the taxes are due in.  After April 30th, there is a penalty for not filing.  Oh, the government.  I expect it will be writing me at some point later in the year regarding a few possible E.I. overpayments so that is fun too.

Michael and I are writing for 40 minutes before we take a wee break.  He says that the human brain needs a break after 40 minutes.  I am having trouble focussing for 40 minutes in a row I have to say.

La la.

What else?

Hmmm.  Maybe more later.

Make a video of yourself to note how you have aged

I was bored on a Saturday night.  La la la la la.


So I made a short video (no, not that kind of video.  Although, hmmm, might be a way to make money) and posted it on FB.  Just a silly kind of thing.  But kinda fun.  Doing these kinds of things one must determine if getting a little FB video attention is worth noting the more sagginess and agee-ness of the situation.  Not sure but uh well.

I’ve been looking through pictures of my travels from 2010 and 2009 and wowza I want to get back into that kind of shape again.  More time on the bicycle needed, although I did a huge bike ride to West Van and back on Friday.

I’m subbing a tiny bit this week – not much and all three mornings require early get up times, something I haven’t had to do in about six months.  We shall see.

I had decided to go to the Vancouver Vineyard this morning (church, not cult or winery) but when I got to the car2go it was not there.  Problem with the car’s GPS, said car2go phone person from somewhere in the United States.  There were not other cars around and it was too late to take the bus.  So I decided to once again check out the church that was unfriendly and not really my thing a year ago, mainly because it is now situated in the United Church building that I used to attend really close to my abode.  I saw a couple of people I knew so that was nice.  It was packed out, mainly young married couples and some seniors.  Not many people my age it seemed.  It still wasn’t . . . comfortable – pretty conservative theology and no one I really knew.  The ‘turn around and greet someone” portion always makes me a little eeek-y.  I realize I could have marched up to folks and said hello.  I did not and they did not.  Part of this is a Vancouver issue because Vancouver folks aren’t necessarily that friendly. Part of it is that people speak to who they know and I get that.  I’m guilty of the same.  I’m sure if I got involved in things that I would meet more people.  But at the core, it just felt, yeah, uncomfortable.    And the sermon was theologically sound for that set of beliefs I will say.  Where I am at in my head and I guess heart, I can no longer tolerate being told such things like my heart is radioactive and I need Jesus to make it right. I get what is being said but . . . meh.  I’m not saying I’m above that or beyond that or any of that but, hmmm, I can’t explain it.  The analogies, the message – meh for me.  Hmmm, this sounds judgemental and I guess it is.

It’s tricky, because I get the real message and I got what he was saying.  But the emphasis on how humans are ‘radioactive’, for me and maybe for other folks, is ultimately a destructive one.

Anyway, enough of that.  The Vineyard of course would have much the same theology but I’m more comfortable there.  It is a poor as poor little church out in the bowels of East Vancouver and I need to make more of an effort to get there and to not yell at the car2go person on the phone.

So alas it was a long and not very eventful day.  I had a couple of opportunities to go out and ultimately did not, which is often a mistake on my part.    I am not a hermit but sometimes it is just easier to be that way.

Age is a thing I obsess about.

Age and art.

I am one of the few people I think who like Mondays.  I always have – even when I had an actual job.

Carry on, y’all.