The Anatomy of Lunacy

Allow me to explain. I’m a little vague about the way the RSS feed works, on account of I don’t have it myself. I forgot (or perhaps never knew, despite having been told) that people who subscribe to the RSS feed get the whole N&C – I mistily thought they (you) got a notification, rather than the thing itself. Jeremy reminded me of how it actually works and said that it’s normal practice when making a big change to put a time on it, so that it doesn’t look as if I’m cluelessly trying to sneak a change in when the RSS makes that impossible. I deleted two paragraphs yesterday and substituted a much shorter one, saying ‘oh look, I’m sane again, that’s enough of that.’ But I knew I wasn’t doing it covertly, I knew people would have seen the previous version, and that’s fine. I almost did leave it and just add an update, but then decided that because it was so no longer true, I might as well erase it.

But it’s interesting, psychologically. So I’ll explain, because of the interest. I was half-crazy yesterday morning and most of Friday afternoon. I thought it was at least as much resentment of publisher’s faux pas as it was wanting the book – until the books arrived, and I immediately realized it wasn’t. Well not quite immediately – I spent a minute or two yowling at everyone in earshot about how relieved I was, and clawing open the package. But almost immediately, I realized that the publisher’s faux pas had shrunk to almost nothing – as of course it should have long ago. So it became instantly blindingly clear that it was the combination of the frustration of not having the book, along with the faux pas, that had been making me nuts. I spent considerable time yesterday afternoon pondering how bad for the psyche and character frustration can be, especially repeated frustration, especially repeated frustration when you expect it to go on being repeated. (Waiting for something to come by mail that doesn’t come, in short. Like being six years old and waiting for your secret decoder ring, or whatever fool matchbox thing it is you’ve sent away for.) I find that it’s very bad for the character indeed. I was a creature from hell yesterday morning – a very gargoyle.

And there was nothing I could do about it. That’s the aspect that makes me think it was quite like being genuinely mentally ill – at least a glimpse of it. I could not get my mood under my control, despite trying really hard. Especially yesterday morning, when I spent an enormous amount of energy trying to convince myself the book wasn’t coming that day or any day soon – trying to avoid that horrible moment when opening the mailbox – and just forget about it and let go and calm down – and I could not do it. Trying to do it just made me a nervous wreck. I was dreading that day’s mail delivery, and Monday’s, and the rest of the week – anticipating repeated torture for at least another week. Mad as a hatter, I was. But I was desperate to have that book. Frantic. I don’t even know why, exactly; it’s not rational; but I was. So then when it did arrive after all, and I became instantly sane again – I realized it was much more about the non-possession of the book than it was about anything anyone did. It was about impersonal matters like the slowness of the mail, so nothing to get bitter and resentful about. The return of sanity is a remarkably pleasant change.

So that meant the two paragraphs I had posted from the depths of struggle against mood were null and void, so I simply erased them. In future when I do that I’ll add a note saying I done erased them.

And your reward for following this deeply uninteresting saga is to know that I know that I am by no means always sane or rational or reasonable. I’ve always known that, but that doesn’t mean you know I know. Well now you know.

And by the way, the book is every bit as beautiful as Jeremy said it was, and furthermore, he says he’s seen it at one (1) Waterstone’s, so that means it is in at least one (1) Waterstone’s, and not hiding until March or April after all. And it’s not a bad read. It’s really not.

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