I went to bed very late last night. I stayed up late writing blog comments to people who I thought needed support, which was good, but I should have stopped myself doing it for so long. Then, when I got to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I felt really tired, but my mind was racing. I was totally exhausted and depressed this morning and it was a real effort to get up and eat something.
As I’ve mentioned, this time of year is hard for religious Jews because there are so many Jewish holidays (another nine days of holidays and semi-holidays coming up soon!) one after the other. In ancient times this was the end of the agricultural year in Israel, so it made sense to have our big religious season at this time, but it’s hard fitting in to the modern economy with deadlines and working with non-Jewish colleagues, particularly if you are in the academic sector (as I was) where this is the start of the new year. And this year I’m going away for my cousin’s bar mitzvah in Israel soon afterwards, for added disruption! I feel run ragged at the moment and we’re only halfway through. It’s hard to keep up with job application emails (not that I’m hopeful of finding anything good at the moment anyway) and I’ve got a thick form to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that I haven’t even started, and when I’ve finished it I will have to have a meeting at the jobcentre to check it – that won’t happen until after I get back from Israel. Then there’s the question of volunteering (and where: school or museum?). And my poor novel is very neglected. I’ve written about five pages since tearing up my first chapter (metaphorically) and re-starting. I ordered some books on domestic abuse for research. I hope my parents don’t notice and worry that something’s going on!
I’m making myself anxious just thinking about the stress of the next few weeks.
I’m feeling pretty down today. I’m trying not to think about work or dating because when I do, I feel that I will not succeed in either. I don’t seem to be able to make good decisions in either area. I just found an amusing/depressing blog post about frum (religious Orthodox Jewish) dating, that women want to marry a great Torah scholar because they “unconsciously sublimate their desire for a sexually strong and virile man to a desire for a man who is intellectually strong and powerful… These men are not emaciated, unheroic weaklings, incapable of earning a living, dependent on their wives, in laws and parents for their daily bread. Not at all. Underneath their refined and modest exteriors are knights of Torah and princes of scholarship, engaged in the heroic undertaking of understanding the Talmud and its many commentaries.” This is why I have zero chance of finding a wife in the frum world, because I can’t understand Talmud (I’m also unemployed, so no back-up plan of looking for someone who wants a breadwinner (“An earner not a learner” in the frum jargon)).
I did go to the barber, which I hate above most things, because I have tremor from my medication and it’s awkward if I shake while the barber wants me to hold still; beyond that, having a stranger invade my personal space and touch me is not something the autistic part of me likes at all. I was OK there – I shook somewhat, but not noticeably – and bought a bunch of birthday cards for extended family (family birthdays and anniversaries tend to cluster around a couple of times in the year, so I buy a load of cards at once).
I helped my Dad with the sukkah, the thatched temporary hut in the garden that we eat our meals in during the festival of Sukkot (starts Sunday evening). I always end up feeling slightly useless when helping with practical things. I don’t know what I would do if my Dad didn’t do the bulk of the assembly. OK, that’s not true, I could put up most of the sukkah, but there are some bits I would struggle with, particularly stuff that requires going up ladders, which I’m not always good at doing. Plus, it started off some religious OCD-type worries about whether the sukkah is kosher (religiously acceptable).
I also filled in another application for a job at an Important Institution where I have applied for several previous jobs, all unsuccessfully. It was a job in a library, but not strictly speaking requiring a librarianship qualification. It sounds more like an admin-type job. I applied anyway, although I hope it wouldn’t be a backwards step career-wise – if I even have a career any more, which is debatable.
I did about twenty-five minutes Torah study. I would have liked to have done more, but I ran out of time and energy. Likewise, no work on my novel today, which means it’s probably not going to be worked on until until after Simchat Torah as I don’t want to work on it during Chol HaMoed and tomorrow and Sunday are going to be busy with Shabbat/Yom Tov preparation (it would take to long to explain all the Jewish references here. Just accept I can’t do non-essential work for a while because of festivals).
Mum saw me reading the latest Doctor Who Magazine and asked if they’re looking for writers. I said, “Apparently not” rather more venomously than intended and she realised that I’d pitched to them and been rejected. Oh dear. I hate pitching, it’s hard to tell what editors are looking for, particularly if they don’t have style guidelines or give feedback. I would have liked it if when I had said, “Would you like an article on X?” they had said, “No, but an article on Y would be good – can you write it?” Or just some indication of what they were looking for.
I think with DWM, and other Doctor Who writing gigs, that the number of fan writers is very small and is interlinked on a “friends of friends” basis and the jobs just go to people who know the right people. Why take a chance on a new writer, when you know half a dozen tried and tested writers who have been writing for the magazine for literally decades? Fan writers all seem to have known each other for umpteen years. When Doctor Who: The New Adventures novels were published in the nineties, that was notoriously incestuous, not deliberately, as Virgin Publishing (who published the books) had a laudable first-time author policy, but most of the writers seemed to know each other already through fanzines and conventions and encourage each other to submit (three of them worked in the same office!). I’ve never really been part of organised fandom, although there have been times when I would have liked to have been. I was always put off conventions by both the noise and people (because of my autism and social anxiety) and issues with kosher food and attending on Shabbat (Saturday). There was a time when I was more involved in online fandom, but I drifted out of that when I went through a period of not liking the direction of the show on TV and when that changed I thought of coming back only to find online fandom had got really political and I didn’t feel comfortable or accepted any more.
This post is just low-level griping, even by my normal standards, but I’m too tired to edit or cut so PUBLISH and be damned. I should go to bed, but I’m too tired to move.