Finding Everyday Inspiration: Arguing against Random Old Tweets

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Arguing against Random Old Tweets

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s challenge relies on a sound concept—using a tweet as inspiration—but to an unsound effect—the sampling of tweets provided does inspire me, but inspires me to undirected anger, hopeless frustration and profound sadness. I’m not sure why, you tell me.

Suggested reasons: chronic depression, overwork, stress [insert further psychiatric diagnoses here as applicable], also, sense of failure, purposelessness, hopelessness [feel free to insert more words from your thesaurus].

Or you can just tell me to shut the fuck up and deal with it because if I can afford to blog, it’s clear I’m privileged enough and have no right to rant about my supposedly miserable life. Your choice.

A faithful reproduction of my muddy mind

How Does the Universe Relate to Me?

It seems to be fashionable to be global rather than local. Perhaps being global is necessary for fulfilling your civil responsibility. My shocking opinion is that our foremost duty is to ourselves. It sounds even more alarming when you put it in the first person: my foremost duty is to myself. This is either simply an unpopular and uncivilised thing to think, or it’s what many people think but are scared to say. My reasoning is that if you’re a mess, you’re not likely to be of any use to anyone else. Fix yourself first and then look around to see where you can help.

Circling back to the tweet, my work is a more immediate, real and relevant threat than a star dying in the universe. I suspect if people looked to the stars less and minded their own business more, the world might have been a less horrendous living experience. I have no means of preventing a star from dying, provided that it would even be a desirable result, and as long as the star doesn’t decide to die by dropping on my head, it doesn’t concern me at present. What does concern me at present are bills to pay.

There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Education

Besides its plagiarising Socrates, I have no particular grudge against this tweet. Since it’s a tweet, it’s naturally simplified. What I lack in the tweet—and what I lack in general—is an acknowledgement that education doesn’t necessarily equal a better job and that there is such a thing as too much education. Speaking from my own experience, obviously.

I have a hypothesis which might be wild (or not, I wouldn’t know, but maybe you do?) but I can’t help suspecting that the more educated, the more unhappy you are. Education usually brings about awareness (I assume that’s the point of education anyway), and already George Orwell (and surely many before him) knew that Ignorance is bliss. Therefore, I reason that the less education and awareness you have, the more ignorant and the more happy you are.

As to the falsity of the education = good job equation, I wish young people were more often and more strongly cautioned against pursuing education without a plan. I chose to study what I loved, which was a terrible idea. So, while I certainly give the impression that I only care about myself, I’d be pleased if other young people took my experience as an example of how not to do it. I’m aware that you can’t convince the young that you know better, but perhaps if they knew your story, they would take it into account just a bit.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to disagree with me and show me that you have more sense (which I’m inclined to believe). Along with you, I hope that tomorrow’s prompt will inspire me to something lighthearted and funny.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: What Should I Write About?

Finding Everyday Inspiration: What Should I Write About?

Will you help me with my homework, pretty please? Not Maths homework, I’m beyond help in there, but a blogging homework.

I’m participating in a trivial writing challenge called Finding Everyday Inspiration. A task in preparation for a future post is to collect ideas from readers on what I should write about.

It’s pretty tricky because it presumes that anyone even bothers. But, if you happen to have nothing better to do, I’ll appreciate your suggestions—leave them in a comment on this post!

What’s in it for you? I have no clue. Probably the element of surprise when both you and I learn what to make out of it. I expect it to happen in a week or two. Or anytime else. It’s a surprise!

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Writing in the Space

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Writing in the Space

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s everyday inspiration challenges to conjure up an image of a space to write. It can be an actual place where you write—in which case I’d just snap a snap of my table, challenge solved. Or it can be an ideal space to write. Let’s overachieve and do both.

Pencil porn

Scotland, Iceland and Chernobyl are my ideal locations. Except I wouldn’t write in them because I’d have better things to do. The choice of Scotland is obvious: depressing climate and bleakly humorous literature. Iceland is just because so, I don’t even know. I may have lived there in one of my previous lives. (No, I don’t believe in lives before or after life, but their (non)existence is independent of my beliefs.) And Chernobyl has been my lifelong fascination: I stole some photos from Pripyat in my old post and explained my intimate connection with nuclear plants elsewhere.

The space seems an ideal candidate for the space to write. Except I wouldn’t write much in there. For one, the space scares the living shit out of me. Also, I’m not sure how many words I would manage to type before dying of exposure, lack of oxygen, weird air pressure and wacky gravity or whatever kills you first when you’re just floating around in there. Finally, writing one’s last words is the opposite of no pressure. So scratch that.

My ideal home would be the ideal place to write. It would be super modern, ultra minimalist and high high tech. Everything would be black, white or red. Black and white are basic colours, obviously, red is the accent colour. My herd of cats would be exempted from this design requirement. I’d be typing on the most advanced computer station, except I wouldn’t be typing, duh, because neural interface. Also, I wouldn’t be writing here either because I’d love my ideal home so much that I’d spontaneously dissolve and die instantaneously.

My current space to write is a area of one square metre, which is slanted in direction of the opposite side of the room. Here stands my universal desk (writing desk, computer desk and kitchen table in one) and my office chair (also used as an armchair, rocking chair and kitchen chair). The chair has wheels and tends to move on the above described  slanted floor away from the table and towards the bed. Other than that, it’s alright. I mean, it’s mine to use (I even own the furniture!) and as this post evidences, one can write here just fine.

What I Hated the Least Today 259/365: Real-Life X-Files

What I Hated the Least Today 259/365: Real-Life X-Files

Mandala lighter: smoking with Zen

Mysterious things are happening to me. Or I’m just going nuts. (I like nuts.)

My lighter has been abducted by aliens. Don’t even think of suggesting that I simply lost it. I don’t lose anything. (Though I may sometimes lose my shit.) Several weeks ago, I dropped my lighter from the balcony. (Don’t ask me how you drop a lighter from the balcony, it was a momentary loss of shit and movement coordination.) The lighter has been lying down there since then. I dropped it in an enclosed area belonging to a pub downstairs which shut down months ago. Today, I noticed the lighter was gone.

I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation. Like, a cat got it. Or a pigeon got it and now we’re facing a pigeon apocalypse. Or, possibly, it was a James Bond lighter and it evaporated. Or it was a ninja lighter and it ninjaed its way out through the fence. Or, being a lighter, it spontaneously combusted. (Why does my spellcheck underline combusted in red? And why does my spellcheck underline underline? I’m telling you, the aliens are up to something.) I’m scared. And I want my lighter back.

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Literally Just a Bunch of Random Quotes

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Literally Just a Bunch of Random Quotes

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s (un)inspiring task inspires the worst in me. I’m kidding only in part. That is, in part one of the statement: I do in fact appreciate the prompts, inspiring or not. Part two of the claim is no kidding. Expect the worst from me.

Today’s task is to preface your post with an epigraph in the form of a block quote. Inadvertently, I’ve been doing the very same a lot in my recent posts. Quotes are nice and all that, but I favour the bleakest kind of them. So, when I’m asked to elaborate on a quote of my choice, what can possibly go wrong? Everything.

A random bleak photo to go with random bleak quotes

Let’s get the shitstorm started. If you pardon my language. I promise I won’t choose any more quotes that contain heavy slang and four-letter words. Such as the four-letter word word, for example. Also, my promise only extends to this particular post. I’ll start niceish.

Literature: Transcendence, Epiphanies and Poor Choices

If literature matters today, it is chiefly because it seems to many conventional critics one of the few remaining places where, in a divided, fragmented world, a sense of universal value may still be incarnate; and where, in a sordidly material world, a rare glimpse of transcendence can still be attained.
—Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton, a foremost literary critic, is often quoted but this quote of his isn’t drawn attention to too often. It’s a shame because it attempts to answer the ultimate question of literature: What is it even good for? I hand-picked this quotation directly from one of Eagleton’s books I’ve read and enjoyed.

I’ve had transcendental experiences with literature of my own. I even had an epiphany. Ages ago, I was sitting on a bench somewhere in Edinburgh, during my literature summer school, and it was manifested to me that what I wanted to do in life was Scottish literature. True story.

Cute, right? I did go on to get a doctorate in ScotLit—in case I don’t mention it often enough, but you know, bragging rights. And then I had another epiphany. It was manifested to me that I needed to do something for a living. So, cheers, literature, RIP.

WYWI(N)WYG: What You Want Is (Not) What You Get

What each individual wills is obstructed by everyone else, and what emerges is something that no one willed.
—Friedrich Engels

My last triumphant achievement in the literature field was smuggling Marx and Engels into my dissertation and getting away with it. So, be not surprised that I seamlessly integrated randomly threw in some Engels in here too, for a good measure.

I happen to be a theoretical socialist. It means I think the idea of economic equality is cool, but it quickly becomes a mess when someone tries to apply it in real life. And why, no, I don’t have a better suggestion; if I had, I’d have written The Capital Revis(it)ed.

Freud: That’s What Everything Boils Down To

When one doesn’t have what one wants, one must want what one has.
—Sigmund Freud

Engels and Freud implicitly agree on that you’re not going to get what you want. I also agree, though no one is quoting me on it—you can be the first. Freud is my favourite and I find him extremely fascinating. That’s not hugely surprising, given that I’m a psychiatric patient, hence I have the unique opportunity to test Freud’s psychiatric hypotheses on myself.

This quote by Freud, you must admit, is however very sensible and universally acceptable. He might have been the first positive psychologist with this positive affirmation—they are conventionally called positive affirmations, aren’t they, because I just noticed that this naming is a prime example of tautology. That’s probably the idea.

What I Hated the Least Today 258/365: Anti-slip Sink Pad

What I Hated the Least Today 258/365: Anti-slip Sink Pad

Yep, that’s my filthyish sink.

Today I bought something nice for myself. Cookies. But, also, and more importantly, an anti-slip sink pad. It’s a thing and it’s legit.

I never thought about what this stock item in Eastern European kitchens was for, all I knew is that it’s a thing you put in the sink, no questions asked. I’ve always had it, but recently my old one fell apart, probably because I didn’t give a shit and repeatedly placed hot pots on it. When I saw this cute specimen in the shop, I immediately put it in my basket. I’ve never had such a fancy sink pad with flowers and butterflies.

This also led me to serious metaphysical thoughts on the purpose of a sink pad. The package of the product said it was anti-slip and included an illustration of glasses having a pool party in the sink and not being able to slide around, which clearly put a damper on the party. I’ve never experienced issues with slipping glasses—the pad isn’t particularly helpful when a glass slips out of your hands—but then, I’ve always had a sink pad.

I suspect it does in fact more harm than good. You must wash it (okay, you are supposed to, I shall say no more), bits and pieces of ugly things get caught under it, plus it partially blocks the drain. I only have it because I maintain my national tradition. A sink pad can be such a noble thing. Please do tell me if there are sink pads where you live! If so, you’re probably being colonised by the Slavs.

What I Hated the Least Today 257/365: Instagram

What I Hated the Least Today 257/365: Instagram

I use Instagram in waves. Like a tsunami, more exactly. I barge in out of nowhere, leave a mess and then disappear like I had nothing to do with it. I post pictures in big batches always when I’m travelling somewhere. Sitting on public transport is boring. I scroll through the feed always when I’m on the phone with my parents. Shoot me, but my parents bore me too. They have a stream-of-consciousness approach to conversation which doesn’t particularly grab my attention. Also, it is not uncommon for them to rant for an hour—a social call with my father today, 53.16 mins. So, out of nowhere, here comes nothing. I mean, a few of my recent Instagram snaps. (Note how they are not square but iconoclastically round.)

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Woods

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Woods

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s prompt combines the textual and the visual. Four stock photos are set to choose from and use as a launchpad for telling a story. I’m not a great storyteller, that won’t do. I’m great at decision paralysis, which isn’t really great either because I devote more time to deciding than writing. After emerging from my paralysis like a phoenix with bird-flu, I picked the picture which I hated the least.

The present-day Red Riding Hood is blue (in colour and mood)

Frost and Woods

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

I quote Robert Frost in general and his “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” in particular on this blog. I’m exaggerating, obviously. Frost (the poet, not the weather) is one of my favourites for a number of reasons, some of them wrong. (Yes, there are wrong reasons for liking poetry, including when you’re depressed and deliberately seek out relentlessly pessimistic poetry so you could feel even worse.)

Among the less contestable reasons why Frost is enduring for me are his deceptive simplicity, amazing universality and easy memorability. No kidding, I can be found wandering around my home reciting Frost’s poems for myself aloud. Some of his lines are so chilling that they never cease to creep me out. (Yes, I am easily scared.) Sometimes I may give a threatening stare to my reflection in the mirror and enunciate balefully, And that has made all the difference. (Are you terrified yet? Read on, it gets worse!)

Me and Woods


Looking at the photo, I have several free associations. What I can see is a girl getting lost, never to be found, to be eaten by a wolf and becoming a werewolf (that’s how it works, right?). The modern Red Riding Hood is no more red but blue because red is too cheerful (and doesn’t contrast with blood that well) and also blue is perfect to reflect her blue mood.

The werewolf-to-be girl is apparently a misled Zennist (as of Zen, different from Zen Buddhist in that it removes Buddha to make it less complicated; also, you’ll never believe me, but I am one [not Buddha, Zennist {also, are you wondering how many parentheses within parentheses can I use? <many>}]). The blue girl wandered into the woods to hug trees but instead, she’ll be hugged by ticks and attacked by allergies (besides wolves). That’s how it goes. At least, that’s what happens always when I dare to enter woods.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Corner

Weekly Photo Challenge: Corner

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge, which is Corner. While to WP’s Ben Huberman, corners are about openness and connections, my photo is about closedness (not closeness, closedness as of closed). Also, if you can’t see the corner in the image, it’s on the extreme left.


Finding Everyday Inspiration: Hope Is a Duck

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Hope Is a Duck

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s inspiration is a one-word prompt, which I honestly find highly uninspiring. The words offered couldn’t have been cheesier: hope, love and world peace. Kidding. It’s in fact: hope, regret, home, choice, secret, abundance. How I regret my choice of signing up for this nonsense, now I’m sitting at home, nourishing a secret hope that I shall create something sensible out of the nonsense, and being depressed in abundance. Well, that would be it. Kidding. I’ll write about hope.

I wish I was a duck on Alexandra Pond

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul…
—Emily Dickinson

I’ve always appreciated Dickinson’s metaphor in this poem, but I never quite got it. It’s not that it troubles me—poetry isn’t necessarily to be “got”. But Hope is the thing with feathers, what? Such as a down coat? (Because you put on a coat in hope you won’t freeze to death?) Or a duck? (Because you eat a Peking duck and hope it’s still socially acceptable not to be a vegan?)

In the mental ward, we (We the Patients) would comfort one another with Let’s hope it gets better. It wasn’t very comforting and it never got better. (No wonder, when hope is a duck.) Hope is an optimistic faith in the future. It does me little good, yet I’m convinced that optimism is the privilege of the young and naive, and that experience shows otherwise. Here’s a story to that effect, whose source I’ve tragically forgotten, but it was absolutely a Scottish writer. It’s Scots who do the ultimate bleak humour.

It’s a short story illustrating the growing up of a boy on the incident when the father hoists the kid on the mantelpiece and encourages him to jump into his arms. Guess what happens? Yep, the father deliberately steps aside, the kid faceplants and is taught a lesson: Trust nae cunt. (Aside one, the quote is accurate, I have a memory for them; aside two, it occurred to me to search for the quote and, alas, it’s a story by Janice Galloway from the 1991 collection Blood.)

Should there be more literary evidence needed that Joy is joyless, love is loveless and everything is just as bad as you’d always suspected (this is another half-remembered paraphrase from a not-remembered Scottish source), I provide a quote from the best-loved book of the Scottish (obviously) genius, Alasdair Gray, and his Lanark.

I wish I was a duck on Alexandra Pond. I could swim, and fly, and walk, and have three wives, and everything I wanted. But I’m a man. I have a mind, and three library tickets, and everything I want is impossible.

That makes it official. Hope is a duck.