It's Friday. There. I've said it.

How many of you will stop reading once I write these words: I have nothing to say?

I suppose what I should write is: I have nothing to say about books, which I am reading or otherwise.

I just haven't been able to focus on reading as of late, particularly fiction. I want a book to grab me by the throat and haul me in, and then I think, no, what I REALLY want is to WRITE a book that grabs others by the throats and hauls them in. And by extension I want to READ such a book so I can get INSPIRED to WRITE such a book.

Circular logic. It's a bitch.

Oh, and this from Litlove. Another take on the Big D.

The depressed, it seems, dream a great deal more than the contented, with the result that they wake in the morning feeling exhausted and so perpetuate a cycle of depression. The situation arises when something happens that impacts on a person’s ability to get their basic needs met. Those who have a pessimistic or introspective disposition then tend to worry about their difficulties, ‘misusing their imagination’ as the authors put it (and the imagination is understood as a powerful tool that can do a great deal of harm when put to the wrong use) and allowing emotionally arousing thoughts to go round and round their heads. The result is ‘catastrophic thinking’, the ability to see the situation only as black or white, which in turn triggers the fight or flight responses, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream that simply make the situation much worse. At night, the mind attempts to deal with this influx of bad feeling by dreaming, distorting the amount of REM sleep (dream sleep) that the individual has. Too much REM sleep means not enough stage 4 sleep, the point where we heal our bodies and enjoy full, blissful rest. The poor individual wakes feeling exhausted and without motivation, and then, convinced it is not normal to feel this way, start to believe they are flawed and freakish. And so it goes on. Isn’t that interesting? I found that most credible and sensible. The problem, then, can be traced back to the (non) fulfillment of those basic needs that sets the worry off in the first place. The authors suggest that the route back to health is to figure out which need is not being met and to do something about it, as far as is possible. Here, for your information, is a very neat list of the basic needs:

Physical needs include a wholesome diet, exercise, good air to breathe and clean water to drink. Emotional needs include the need for security, to feel one has some control over events, to give and receive attention, to be emotionally connected to others, to have intimate closeness to at least one other person, to have status within one’s family and peer groups, to feel autonomous and competent, and to be ‘stretched’ in what we do (because being physically and/or mentally stretched is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives – a healthy brain is a busy problem-solving brain).

I like the neat list of basic needs. Just another thing to shoot for.

And, tomorrow: I'm going to tackle My Writing Schedule. Enough is enough. Wish me luck.


William Styron on Libraries

It is National Library Week, folks, and I'm paying a visit tonight. To get into the mood, here is a quote from William Styron's new book of essays. He waxes poetic on the Duke Library, but it could be AnyLibrary USA:

“I read everything I could lay my hands on. Even today I can recall the slightly blind and bloodshot perception I had of the vaulted Gothic reading room, overheated, the smell of glue and sweat and stale documents, winter coughs, whispers, the clock ticking toward midnight as I raised my eyes over the edge of ‘Crime and Punishment.’ The library became my hangout, my private club, my sanctuary, the place of my salvation; during the many months I was at Duke, I felt that when I was reading in the library I was sheltered from the world and from the evil winds of the future; no harm could come to me there.”

Ah, yes.

For more on Styron's new book, click here.