Friday, August 05, 2005

Memos from various departments

Department of Isabella
For some time now I have been indexing the books I read, mostly because it makes it easier for me to count, and I derive a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that I'm averaging about 2, or whatever, books a month, and it helps put into perspective the occasional hellish midnight-oil deadline crunchers and the needy and exhausting demands the toddler, the toddler's father, and the cats put on me, reassuring me that yes in fact I do achieve some sort of balance in my life. And because I'm kind of anal that way. So anal that I thought I'd extend that sort of catalogue to the children's books in our life.


I think of these blog sites as lists, handy index-like link repositories, nothing like the "traditional" journal or newsy styles I've come to associate with blogs. But this week for the first time, I wrote something there that I didn't mention here. I expressed an opinion on a book. And that opinion is pretty unimportant, in the grand scheme of things but also to me personally. I don't care. About the book, or about the opinion I have of it. It's just some book I read.

So why mention it at all, anywhere? So I read books I don't talk about here. It's not often that happens, admittedly. Usually a book will have some impact on my life, even if only of the sort that it meant I stayed up late so it made for a grumpy-tired next day or I feel I wasted my time, which makes for a grumpy-angry next day.

What has me bothered is the idea of compartmentalizing. And that I feel the urge to compartmentalize at this point in time. Ironic, that this urge should develop after having read The Golden Notebook, in which the compartmentalizing of events and histories and ideas into different coloured notebooks is shown to be symptomatic of breakdown. It is the golden notebook that unifies, integrates the aspects into the whole, becomes something greater than the sum of its parts. Odd, too, because I've always considered myself a pretty "together" person.

How does one categorize things? At what level of detail? Too specific and you wind up with so many categories as to render them useless. Too general and contents tend to get misfiled and lost, change shape over time.

As for blogging philosophy, I figure it's all me. How could I possibly separate the kid from the books from the walk in the park from remembering that time in that bistro 11 years ago from that news item sticking in my head. (The exception, maybe, is the love, the relationship, discussion of which in anything but the broadest of terms is simply off limits. Because it's none of your business.)

Umm, ya. I have no idea where this train of thought is going.

I've read a couple books recently that did nothing for me but help pleasantly while away a few hours.

I've been wanting to say how little television I've been watching since we moved. How this home has a great reading spot, and another great reading spot, and another, and the television is not in the middle of everything. But I must give some credit to the fact that summertime TV programming is crap and the other fact that I've been busy working.

And then I must confess that I am compelled to watch Rockstar: INXS, even though the thought of it turns my stomach. The premise, to audition wannabes for an existing, if washed up, rock band would be fine, if it weren't for the fact they're to replace a guy who hanged himself. I just think it's in poor taste. But I watch it anyway.

J-F and I have considered some ways to improve Rockstar: INXS.
1. All contestants must undergo psychiatric analysis to ensure a rockstar mentality.
2. Supply a fresh album title and cover concept.
3. Provide a list of backstage demands (a la cheesburgers with Dom Perignon).
4. A general knowledge and history of rock and roll component.
5. Essay: the greatest rock song ever.
6. Hotel-room-trashing competition.
7. Insult-hurling competition.
8. Drinking games!

"Both the title of upcoming Book the Twelfth in A Series of Unfortunate Events and Mr. Snicket himself have been reported missing, unknown, or both." Official investigation is underway.

Oh, and also, she's back!: "Bridget Jones returns tomorrow, indomitable, wise, yearning, optimistic, poised and just a teeny bit sloshed."

See? That was all pretty disjointed.


GaelicGrl said...

Do you believe in breakdowns?

Not so sure I do.

I compartmentalize to manage stress and it really helps.

Isabella said...

People say they have breakdowns all the time, so who am I to doubt them. The real question is "What is a breakdown?"

Being overwhelmed? paralyzed into inaction? I think it happens, but most people can't afford to not get up in the morning, and so they snap out of it.

In a movie I watched recently, a nervous breakdown is the destruction of a model of perception we had wired into our brain. I think there's something to that idea. Similarly, in The Golden Notebook it might be more accurate to speak of the "breaking apart" of self to explain the disconnect.

Compartmentalizing in itself is not a bad thing, I even think it's necessary — it's when the compartments stop relating to each other, when you lose sight of the big picture that there's a problem of purpose.

GaelicGrl said...

Makes sense. From my understanding, the term "nervous breakdown" is not a clinical term.

I think overwhelmed in the face of tragedy to the point of inaction happens all the time.

I, too, watched a movie about similar. A person witnesses something so shattering to his understanding of his life that he "breaks off" or disassociates.

The question of what is a breakdown becomes for me: is it an inability to function, an actual coping mechanism or something entirely different? The area has intrigued me for a while.