Tacit chaos

I am easily distracted. Perhaps more so now than in the past. Now that things feel a bit different, now that the world is louder.

I am a mess. I am all over the place. I am easily distracted.

There are those two sides to me. The one that loves order, structure and routine. The one that is prepared and methodical. The one that finds safety in knowing what is going to happen and where things are.

That voice that always tells me that I am in the wrong place, that I am late even though I’m early. That voice that tells me that if only I was a bit more organized then I’d be fine and I’d have the thing I need but don’t.

That voice and side comes from the chaos.

The chaos of lost objects that I leave behind me like a trail of breadcrumbs. I can mark my life through objects I misplaced that I really really wish I had not. Objects that I needed but that were not with me. The daily struggle to leave my home with the various things I require to be prepared and comfortable and okay.

It feels like there is something wrong with me, like it shouldn’t be that hard. That for all these attempts at order I should be able to get it together.

There are piles of post-its on my desk. In at least four different colours and sizes. I keep reaching for new ones and they get scattered. If only I could heard them into a neat pile, if only I could return them to where they are meant to be so I can find them when I need them.

I am attempting something that I have never succeeded at before this semester. I have one class and I want all of my notes in one notebook/sketchbook. Just one. So far I am not keeping up with this goal. On the day of our second class I departed without my notebook. To be fair I had a dentist appointment and was busy worrying about that and whether or not I’d manage to get through it without losing consciousness and it was distracting. Before the third class I wrestled with the piles of things and the various places I may have stashed either notebook. Eventually I found one in the clothes I’ve been meaning to hang up and had set aside.

I wonder why it is so hard for me to do this thing. To simply know where a notebook is and to have it with me for three hours twice a week. Why can’t I do this?

Having studied at two SALAs now I am getting better at embracing the chaos. At letting it go when I am foolish and forget to bring my readings to seminar even though they were nicely placed near my chair by the door so I’d remember to bring them. At not beating myself up when everyone else seems to be able to bring the few basic necessities their life requires with them and I do not. I keep telling myself to embrace the chaos and to go with the flow.

Still it’s nice when I reach into my bag and find my headphones are in there, as they ought to be and that I get to listen to podcasts or escape from the world if the noise is too much instead of having to deal and try not to be annoyed with myself and the world as I sit in the non-silence of the bus and wish I could be doing what I wanted to be.

Unwelcome discoveries and setbacks

I thought I was making really good progress, that things were going much better than I could've hoped, that I'd be done soon.

Then I found a folder filled with folders filled with folders filled with folders.

Now I get to go back to where I was. Sorting files. Going through duplicates of duplicates of duplicates.

It'll take another week to get back to where I thought I was.

It's frustrating.

There are worse things in the world but that feeling where you thought you were making great progress only to discover that you missed something.


I hope to be done by the end of the month so I can move on to bigger and better things.

This has to get dealt with. The chaos and dysfunction. Not knowing where anything is.

I need order and a good system in order to get started on things.

Once this blog was in a place I liked I started using it.

When I'm not doing something I want to be doing I'll stop and think about why. What is stopping me? There's usually a reason.

I can't do my creative projects and a bunch of stuff I have in mind until my files are in something vaguely resembling order. So I just have to keep plugging away.

It took me years to get into this mess. I'm closer and closer to getting out of it.

Getting back out there

Since I've been out here my wrist has been bothering me. A lot.

The injury was dormant then it was creeping. Then it was throbbing. Then it felt better. Then it wasn't.

My plan was to get a retail job if I needed extra money but that hasn't panned out on account of me worrying about lifting things and having issues with pain when cleaning. It's a bummer.

So I decided to go to physio at long last. Physio isn't really a part of our healthcare system the way it should be so it's not something I usually do. Usually I just think about how little money I have and do without. The pain in my wrist felt different. Probably because everything that I do involves my right hand and it freaks me out when it hurts.

The original injury involved photography and twisting knobs and holding a camera this summer made it worse so I decided to take a break from photography.

There were other reasons to take a break, other things that were bugging me about photography. The gear thing is stressful. It's expensive and that shit is bulky. I want to live a simple easy life, not one where I need a car just to drive my gear around. I can't afford that shit either and I don't even know if I want it.

Then there's the file management. That is still a mess and I am still doing a terrible job of it but maybe one day I'll figure it out. When I have money maybe then the whole hard drive mound thing won't bug me as much.

I stopped posting and dealing with my photos in Scotland and never got back to it. I want to get back into it. I want them to be organized and tagged and saved as the right names. I just have to sit down and chip away at it.

I don't want to be an event photographer. I don't really even know if I want to be a professional photographer. I don't really know.

I do know the last few months have been weird and hard. I've been thinking about how I relate to the world and how photography plays into that. Until I took my break I didn't leave my house without my camera. Usually if I left my house it was to take pictures. Photography has been my reason for joining things, making friends, going to events and exploring places. For the past few years photography has been my reason to go outside. It's also been the way I experience the world.

It's a bit different from the people who experience the world through a phone but it's still something where I was never just in a place. I always had my camera out. Always. Without photography why bother. Except the last few months I have bothered. I have gone to the beach just to go to the beach. I have gone to events just to check them out. Life is different when you leave the camera at home.

So I am back trying to take pictures. I think it'll be more chill going forward, which isn't a bad thing. I want it to be fun and rewarding not just something that stresses me out and that I don't know how to deal with. As Elizabeth Gilbert says if you love something you love it enough to plow through the stuff that sucks about it. I love photography but I don't love dealing with photos. I love photography but I don't love my memory cards or my mound of disorganized hard drives and files that may or may not be saved somewhere.

I don't know what the answer is to that question. That's okay. I don't have to know.

I am watching Dirk Gently on Netflix and while Dirk can be wildly incompetent — how is he not dead — I love how chill he is. Sometimes you just have to ride the log and end up where you end up. You end up in a secret passageway with a magic lightbulb? Explore it and see what happens. You'll probably end up somewhere that is kind of like where you expected to be.

I've never really had any clue what I was doing when it came to dealing with my photos. I still don't. I'm just going to keep swimming and see how it turns out.

Order + chaos

This week a needed information from a document that's at my parents house. I called my mom and told her that if I knew where it was — if — it would be in a particular drawer in a particular filling cabinet in a particular room. She opened the drawer and there it was. Like magic. If it hand't been there I have no idea what I would've done. She never would've found it.

In life I believe there is order and there is chaos. Or at least in Rhi there is order and there is chaos. I keep mentioning that my documents are in an advanced state of chaos and that it's making me crazy. I think sometimes people don't get why it bugs me so much.

As readers of this blog know I just finished typing up the first draft of a book I wrote the last time I lived while I was out here. I wrote it out by hand in several notebooks and kept not quite finding the time to finish typing it up. Well, I'm done now.

Since my documents are all on a hard drive that makes me feel like crying and giving up on life I finished typing it up in a separate file. Today I went out into the wilderness to find the document where hours of work and the contents of notebooks that are in another province should reside. It took me twenty minutes to find the right file.

Twenty very stressful minutes.

It's not named what it should be, it's named something else because my old broken computer tends to crash and then I have multiple recovered versions of a document — the joys of being poor. So it's saved as the wrong name. Once I figured that out I found it. It amounts to 101 pages and 44,153 words that I carelessly put somewhere maybe to be found again, maybe not. I need to deal with this mess.

For now I am glad that I get to have those glorious words and that they can meet their final friends. Then I can work on how to edit something so big. I think I'll do it in sections.