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Then There is Nothing

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Now like a blot from the blue, ideas and words, pictures, scenes shots and stars all came into my head, mixed around and come out in the semblance of an idea for a feature film.  Often this was the case and as in the case in the past was, I could direct my thoughts, postulate on the goings on and happenings of the world I am creating.  Then as quickly as many of these things flooded in, gone. 

I woke yesterday to find the previous night there were no dream, no images, any hope of grabbing and idea and riding it within my mind just slipped out of grasp or failed to reach it.  It went as quickly as as they had previously came and was like a light switch (not like ones in my house however they seem to stay on, forever),

But hope was not lost, this morning though the images of the past have returned and are in a foggy and faded distances I can see them at the least.  Is this a cause from the medication as now it has been two months and I still feel the withdrawals from it, the spinning head failure for refresh the losing my way in thought or even failing to know which day of the week it is.  But a quick look at my watch confirmed it was Monday, though on the Monday it was fine.  It was on the Tuesday when things in terms of ideas dried up and cause some worry.

One of the things that has come from the time, albeit brief, when I was on a roll coming up with the ideas was I wanted to direct this into a film.  As during the time I was making my short films I would see scenes on the street of what I was writing, I could see how it would look from moving the camera (a virtual one) and then still get a good shot. 

I will be the first to put up my hand and say my short films we not great.  They were not meant to be great.  They were meant to be exercises in shooting a film.  My first we simple my second included some more moving camera, others included mixture shots by shooting the scene from multiple angles with the actors at different times, my last included some green screen and compositing, not great, but it was a learning part which I needed.  After that my next was to learn the long form.

So there is much I need to learn in the process of filmmaking but at the same time I need to also learn more about me, my mind and how I can adapt to the situation when I am hip deep in making a film and I find my brain has switched off and will not come back for a few days.  I can’t just shut up shop, but at the same time I can’t try and plough though hoping that everything is OK.

It might mean I need to document things a little more, make sure I have everything written, drawn pre-vizzed and typed out.  As pouring all my thoughts onto the page, into an image, into a photo will not only make my transition from a blank mind back into the fray much more seamless but also if there is someone who I can trust to take my vision into reality and use the assets created will make it much easier.  There are two people that I believe I can count on in my creative endeavours if the my mind decided to just come up with as much as a government policy convention, I can sit with them and know that these two will remain faithful to the vision.

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A very poor attempt at a storyboard.

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A Change for the Better or no Change at All

This is a rambling from my mind, my mind has been hit very hard of the last few years.  I have been on a mix of heavy pain killers as my back was causing issues.  I was taking various mixes of anti-depressants which lead me from being incredibly tired and lethargic to not have a consistent train of thought.  Since then I have had 2 operations, one for a complete ankle reconstruction the other for a neuro stimulator implant device.  This has had some massive affects on my life.  I now do not get back pain to the same extent I had before, a win, but  the device gives me sometimes massive head-aches.  These are, well terrible, they are migraine like but I believe worse as the device is what causes them.

So, the other issue I have had recently is the my creativity and thought process.  My thought process in these times has sporadic to put it mildly.

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Above shows a crude chart, the numbers on the left side represents any particular thought be it about dinner for tonight my current work, the weather, anything, each number represents a thought that can entered my head.  Then there is the time and I can concentrate on any one things for only short bursts before not through any reason I can find my mind loses track of the thought, it disappears amongst the many neurons that are firing and forever will it not return.

This alone has been the reason why my posts of late have reduced, I was able to focus, save come back and save over a period and then post it but lately it is the coming back that is getting more and more difficult.  Then there is the creativity side of it.

I used to be a creative type, some might disagree with it but having many a story written, feature film scripts, novels etc… each showed I had a depth in many areas for creativity.  Then, Pfft, gone.  Unsure why, how when, it was a process that happened for some reason and I find it returns for even shorter periods than my normal thought processes, it requires obviously a different side of my mind.  But right now as I am writing this I am struggling to stay on my task of keeping things together enough to form the sentences to make sense since I feel I could type words but not have structure to it and have not sense at all.

I am now coming off the drugs the anti-depressants at the moment and this is causing more issues.  As I feel it further constrains my thinking or other physical abilities as all my processing is just trying to keep my mind running, like a computer running at 100% CPU usage, and I need to speak to someone but I have to wait until there is a gap in the processing before I can and when there is I jump in but it has taken too long and I find I have run out of the processing power and therefore it will come out in fits and bursts as the mind is too bust controlling other things other elements other processes that I need to speak.

You can imagine in a business where I need to work on solutions to complex business process problems where I need to use my mind in many different ways, logically, conceptually, creatively (to a lesser extent), draw on all my history of programming, architecture and so on and have all of this needed on a whim when someone asks me, “Tell me how I can best do this…” Recently I was asked to appraise someone’s proposal (it wasn’t really but I won’t get into that) for a solution for recording time and attendance in a system in many systems that aren’t linked together in any form and they proposed to have this implemented by the middle of February, this was also dealing with systems I only have the fleeting understanding of to begin with.

So, I have my mind, needing time to process things I normally do, what everyone does, the random thought changing processes that come into play, “Why was it foggy on the morning of 9th September 1998 and why did I leave my lights on””?” then I will need to concentrate hard on my work, then there is the withdrawals of the anti-depressants.  Which are terrible.  I have been slowly coming down off them for almost a month, to the Dr. request is was 100mg, 50mg, 25mg 12.5mg over the 4 weeks then stop.  I did that and I am still feeling the side effects of these drugs not in my system.

Dizzy spells these are terrible, I will be siting down and simply moving my eyes from one screen to the next and my mind, will have this bizarre feeling of being delayed in updating what I am physically seeing.  There is the vagueness, which is no knowing anything, not thinking anything the true moment when someone says what are you thinking I can say, nothing, there is not a thought in my mind, light is entering my eyes and that is it nothing else.  Right now I am trying SO hard to type this.

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My mind sees this, a lightening strike something quick and massive as all of above all at the same time being muddled and confusing and compounding as my mind is also trying to form words, words to articulate what I want to say only to find the harder I try and focus and more distorted the image becomes and therefore the words that I want to come out with might come out, and come out again, then it might repeat and this might be fine for a Herald Sun reporter (not a journalist), but when I am trying to describe what I am going through in words and images it is difficult.

So that is me right now, I want to achieve so much, there are times when I have a spring in my step ready to take on the world and others times I am sitting there looking blankly with nothing happening other than the simple involuntary actions taken by my body.

My Perspective

Might be curious to know one of the biggest things that is leading to my depression is the inability to be in control of my own destiny.  I am now a father and since getting married and having children I feel that these decisions that I would do, what I could do have been taken from me.  This might seem the same for anyone who has a family, priorities change, but the issue was before if I didn’t like my job I could quit and find a new one, now, I am scrutinised with regards to my job why did I quit, why do I want to quit.  It isn’t a matter of being unhappy where I am, well not enough of a reason to say I am unhappy where I am I want to find a better job.

Herein lies the dilemma, I want to find a job where I am making a difference, giving people enjoyment or making their life easier with their daily task.   As in my jobs where I get unhappy with my ole it is often due to changes in this, recently I have have had a software product I was working on, it was running, well, people were using it and it was making their life easier.  I was finding ways to improve it, to enable the best from it.  A choice made in November to completely remove this product from use at the site with no forethought, no consultation, just a new manager coming in stamping their authority and showing they are the boss decided to can the software and role back to the use of 70 plus Access Databases and even more pieces of paper and Excel spread sheets.

This was taken from me, I was not able to provide the input or anything, I am not in a state of limbo with development in I do not know my worth as a developer when I am writing software to facilitate communication as opposed to making life easier.  My film work was always fun when I knew people liked what I did, they were enjoying what I created.  The development of my film, which I had put so much effort into was taken from me when the people whom I trusted, stopped working thought their time was better spent elsewhere.  This is OK, but in the same reality I see this as being a betrayal as it happened, once again with coming to me, talking about it that they want to go at it alone, or whatever reason they wanted but it was the lack of consultation that I felt left me high and dry.

So now having children, and a wife who isn’t working means my income is the sole source of income further create strain on many aspects as there is even more focus on me my job, not the happiness factor it is a money issue, we need you to work, we need you to work in IT and we need you to work as a programmer as we need you to earn at least $X so I can’t just quit and become some dude in a check-out, not that I want to, but they are meaningless benign jobs that earn money but in the end provide no true fulfilment in the greater good, my greater good.

This endless cycle of wanting my work to mean something, have it mean something only to have my work forcibly taken from me.  All my work as an IT programmer has been like this, all the major projects I worked on have been work I have been proud of, but they are now not being used, for any number of reasons.  To pour so much blood, sweat and tears into creating artistic masterpieces only to see them used a fire kindling. (I know my work is no masterpiece but it is a crude but apt analogy).

I feel right now I have done my dash, I have written all the words physically inside me to describe this, but I still feel like I have undersold it or the contrasting one of over done it.  People can look at this, say, well that is life, we don’t get to make choices for the better we have to do what we have to do.  I have my boys and they are the most important thing in life, in my life to make them happy and healthy, but surely to make them happy would be for me to be happy myself and if I am happy with my life then I can be a better father, which I feel I am not.  I feel like I am a terrible father that I do things or do not do things more to the point with my men that I should.  Conscious effort to not be like my father in my boys upbringing only to find that I am in some ways.  Coming down off the medication makes this a larger blurrier line than before.

Having no choice, feeling out of control with where I am heading and feeling all along that I am wanting the best for my kids and I can’t do that. I need to work to give them a roof over their head, food in their bellies.  Yet a happy father and a dad who is there when they need them would be more important making them happier.  I have to wrap this post up, one it is terribly long, 2, I am starting to lose my way in the writing as I am starting to get vague in my mind 3, I am sure there was one when I started at 1. 

Time Alone or a Time Together, Certainly Time Missed

orbz-life-iconIt has been a few weeks since I last posted, not out of wanting to but today I felt I should include something, not to address a reason why but to perhaps just take stock and provide some, insights, if you will, into things.  My grandfather recently passed.  It was a very sudden event, I get a phone call telling me he has had a massive heart attack, but seems stable if not aware of his surroundings.  Just over an hour later I got another call telling me he went to sleep and never woke up.

Out of everything that has happened I am thankful that my two grandparents (one grandfather I barely new my other grandmother I never knew, she died when my mum was 3 (or there about)), one was my mother’s father the other was my father’s mother, they both passed while asleep and pretty much without too much of a warning that things were coming.

But the death of my pop, was more of a shock for one of a few reasons.  I was planning to go up and see him and the family at Christmas 2013.  With my new family, 2 adults and 2 children and flight prices in Australia is pretty much like everything, EXPENSIVE, it was going to cost 4 Adult tickets to travel to Brisbane from Melbourne which was well in excess of AU$2000.  I spoke to my mother and we both didn’t think it was going to cost that much and decided we could put things off until they call come later in 2014. 

So now, they will be coming later in the year, but they will be without my pop.  There is a massive amount of regret I am feeling.  Why did I worry about the cost?  I could have physically afforded it, it wasn’t as if I was going to go without food or not have money to the house or bills, but I thought I guess nothing like this would happen, or more correctly I didn’t look at this as a possibility.  Often when making plans, one doesn’t take death into account.  “I should go see someone just in case they die.”.  But a lot of choices I make in the future, this might be in the back of my mind, when faced with the choice of seeing one of my family or worrying about some financial problems down the track (if that might happen) I will possibly take the prior.

Do events like this always need to happen for anything of such to change a tact of policy, perhaps.  I know if I had decided to pay the AU$2000+ in flights to Brisbane that Christmas, my Grandfather would have seen Isaac, but would have I felt better when getting the news about his death.  Was it not so much the fact I didn’t go at Christmas but just that I will miss a good man, we were not terribly close but since I was closer to him than my other Grandfather there is something missing.

Death comes to all and it is something that we all have to deal with as friends and family are taken from this world.  The one thing that I can take from this is;

So often in these moments we look at the person and miss the fact they aren’t there any more.  I know I will miss the bad jokes he would love to indulge us with or regale the tails of story from Readers Digest.  He loved playing Rummy Cub and any card game and was a very handy man, having built many things for my mum, as a child and also as an adult. 

He fought in World War II in Papua New Guinea and despite the many attempts to have him tell the stories of his time in war from what I knew, he never once told anyone, I could be wrong, but something happened during that time that he does not to share or relive in his mind.

He saw the death of 2 wives, 4 brothers and he always still liked to put a smile on peoples faces.  No matter where he resided he was always befriending people and did so with ease and was certainly popular with the ladies, even up in the last weeks before his passing.  He wanted to be a better father for my mum but all in all, the tales learnt and passed to me I see that though he thought he could have been one I don’t think he was disappointed with the way his son and daughter turned out and then subsequently his grandchildren whom he saw grow into adult hood and also bring him great grand children. 

My oldest son Elliott met his great grandfather a few times and he was known as GG to him.  My youngest still knows of GG and has only spoken with him.  Considering all I know about him, I couldn’t have wished for a better grandfather and certainly there was no better great grandfather for my two young men. 

You have now the infinite of space and time to come and go as you please but I know despite the tantalising nature of that is you will be happy to just watch over us and catch up with your Brothers and your first wife Agnes, whom you have not seen in some 60 odd years.  Your life will live on, always.

He is a man who will be missed, but no because of him not being here but because of the joy he could bring to others.