Jazz and A Mood

Jazz plays on my phone as I sit here and type on a quiet Tuesday night. Today is my parent’s 41st anniversary, though nothing of note happened today. Laundry spins around in the dryer, the rest neatly folded, albeit, not put away. Tomorrow marks the fifty percent opening the restaurant is going into after almost 3 months of closure, though we have managed with take out services.

Life is in a melancholy phase. Work has been…. challenging. Why is it jazz fits every mood? If you are feeling melancholic, jazz is somber. If you are feeling upbeat, it seems like all the high notes are champagne bubbles popping on your tongue. Romantic? The slippery slide of a trumpet’s not gliding down your back like a lover’s finger.

Jazz, currently Miles Davis’ “‘Round Midnight” slinks out of my speaker is hitting the somber notes. The gray mood I am in. The early work week blues.

I’ve been as uninspired as any writer with writer’s block. My dad asks if writers really get writers block. Oh darling, yes, every writer hits a block. Maybe the ideas are there, but they just don’t come out. I have ideas. So many ideas. I scribbled down several poetry prompts weeks ago. So many things to write about. Redacted words in a post…. you know all those black lines? Like a form of blackout poetry, only about the actual aspect of blocking out the bits I don’t want to talk about.

There’s something about an untidy relationship, untidy thoughts… I’m not sure what that was in reference to, other than I …. Oh, now I remember, something about my grandmother and the fact that my mother and her had an untidy relationship.

A cup with three houses and snow falling on it.

Dishes being stacked and the sun ticking its way quickly westward.

And then so many thoughts about work. Lines I’ve scribbled down here and there. Work. I’m in that phase of where I could just shove my workplace off a cliff. Actually more the people I work with besides Miss Holly and Golden Oldie. Everyone else could take a swan dive off a short pier and I would be completely, one hundred percent happy. Give me a perfectly good dessert menu that I came up with. Me, so it’s all on me if it makes a go. I should be ecstatic. Yeah, well, I’m not. Tomorrow begins the work week and I am just not ready. I should have taken a few days off this last month when it was more quiet. Now that opportunity has passed me by.

I think I’m more annoyed that I’m blocked again with what to write. I can’t seem to even force myself to sit down and write in my journal. Piffle.

Side note of nothing related to any of this, but my family has taken to watching Miss Scarlet and the Duke, All Creatures Great and Small, Grantchester, Home Fires, and for my mom, sister and I, Downton Abbey (which I’ve gone through most seasons but the last. Total introduction of that drama for them) We are in a British, all things Masterpiece frame. It’s rather delightful. I’m in love that Sidney Chambers of Grantchester loves jazz.

So I end on that not. Jazz, what’s not to love about it? Play to me, Count Basie, play…

Kate

Booze, Nooky, Hades, and an Existential Crisis

It’s a metaphor. Well, the Hades part is. Maybe.

I didn’t fall asleep till after 4:30 in the morning just the other day. I was listening to music on my mp3 player, trying to fall asleep, when a song by Lauv came on. There wasn’t anything special about the song, but Lauv was introduced to me by my coworker Alex. Suddenly I’m thinking about him, which one thing after another led me to a memory of Lucifer and Wildflower that left me reeling. There, in the wee hours of the morning my heart is racing and I’m remembering slamming out of the kitchen so mad and frustrated that I finally burst into tears outside. I had other coworkers come to find out if I was ok, a manager, a general manager, and finally my big boss and owner of the restaurant. To the point where I was asked if I needed someone to talk to Lucifer. This memory still pisses me off, and I was laying there seconds away from texting Coffeeman, because I was freaking out….. two plus years after it happened. It happened in 2018…. Time has passed, so why does this still get to me?

“What is it about this job that lends itself to freak out moments?” I write later on the whiteboard at work. “From dreams that leave you tossing and turning, to middle of the night panic attacks.” This comes after finding out Astro D has spent the night with wild dreams as well. (mine were panic inducing, to some point) This writing on the whiteboard leaves both Jersey Boy and New York Babe (our bar manager) stumped. “I’m having an existential crisis,” is all I tell Jersey Boy who shakes his head and wanders off. Trust me, he could not handle a K having an existential crisis.

This made my mind go in so many directions

A month ago I was talking to Scarlett St. Clair about a line she wrote for her upcoming novel, A Game of Malice, and her character of Hades, god of the Underworld.

Scarlett: He’s pretty intense right now. LOL
Me: he’s got a lot going on right now. Sometimes this is all that eases the stress…

Long ago TomCat ended a particularly brutal night with the statement, “I need a shower and sex.” I laughed at the time, but later on as I became more and more responsible for bigger things, I started understanding this line. And I used it on Scarlett to explain Hades intensity.

“In my world, it’s like the perfect stress reducer,” I tell her. “…And it actually works… not that I dabble in much more than showers these days…… The adrenaline runs high even after hours of work, so trying to wind down is killer. Hence why I am a serious night owl. Chefs turn to drugs, alcohol, and sex to wind down. It’s funny in the gloss over version, but it’s actually a much deeper issue under the surface. Hades actually personifies a lot of the inner stress and depression that exists in this world. Part of the reason I love him. It’s also why we have sick, twisted, and sex related jokes.”

“Hades is definitely a good metaphor for that,” she replies. “How insane, I had no idea honestly.”

The cooking/chef world is unlike any I thought I would ever join. ( See Note at the bottom of this post) And there is the strangest amount of adrenaline that comes from being in it. New Year’s Eve had me making pizza till 1am, then having to clean up and close down. While I went into work later than usual, I still had all this prep to do, a service time where I was busy with making more pizzas, then winding down for two hours, to start it all up again. I didn’t get to sleep till 5am on New Year’s Day. The adrenaline kept me wired for hours. It is so hard to just let it all drop out of your system. And a crutch of alcohol, or drugs, or sex, is like the only thing that kind of kills all the mental crap going on. I do not dabble in much more than alcohol, but usually at a controlled rate. I don’t like hangovers, and I have to be careful. But to feel pleasantly buzzed after a chaotic night is relaxing.

Sex takes a massive edge off. Probably because it is its own form of a high. Ironically, all the things I mention are also all highly addictive. So is the adrenaline of a service rush. You want to talk let down, have a quiet night when you were expecting busy. New years….. I was running on such a high. From getting glammed up, to having a bunch of fun orders and the speed of getting them done before midnight, then fireworks. I was on cloud 9 till suddenly I mentally crashed and groaned at the smeared eyeliner and mascara.

Most people I talk to do not have a clue about the world I am in. I don’t expect them too, but it can be an insane world. One of the reasons I love Scarlett’s character of Hades is he is a metaphor. His scenes are incredibly appealing to me, especially the vulnerable ones, because he has his highs and lows and frustrations. He doesn’t sleep well. He is up at all times of the night. He’s addicted to whiskey. He’s addicted to Persephone and sex… Not that that’s a bad thing with her, but he is addicted.

I know chefs that go to bed at 3am and are up by 8am. Burnt out is an understatement of what is going on with them. We all get burnt out at some point. Right now I am exhausted. An instagrammer I follow was asking how my new year was going and I said I was trying to be more mindful and healthy, but I am 3/4 of the time exhausted. Cut back hours and I am more tired than when I was working a 40 hour week. There is a lot of mental instability right now with shut downs, and take out, and attempting to maintain products with no pattern to sales.

And this is why even though I am not the executive chef, I have middle of the night panic attacks. I was panicking before work today because I forgot to let Astro D know that we had blown through a specific weight in dough. The two of us are pizza first and foremost, so that is where we back and forth problems. The oven was being a bitch today. The dough was needing to be rerolled. The dough was over proofing. It was too big. And so on.

Existential crisis might be hyperbole, but at the same time, here it is 3:30 am and I’m drinking wine in bed while I write this. Mulled, but wine nonetheless.

Maybe I am Hades….

(Scarlett said I was when I showed her my glass of whiskey at 3am a few weeks ago)

Kate

Note:  I recently started following Culinary Love, a platform for discussion about the culinary world. From taking care of our cooks to discussing the hard things like depression and addiction. I haven’t delved into the whole blog, but I follow one of the chefs who was part creator. I highly recommend checking it out if you are interested in finding out more about methods to dealing with depression, and if you are a non service industry person, a good resource for finding out some of what our world is like.

Click the image below to take you directly to Culinary Love . Or click the link right there.

 

A Writer’s Depression

Writers have been known to have trouble with depression and yes, suicide. I think it comes with the territory. We are melancholy people to begin with, though I have to say I do have my giddy moments. But everything has a melancholy twist to it. The ying and yang of life.  The light and dark. I used to dwell much more in the light of life, and my writing reflected that, but as time goes by, I grow up, and write more, the dark has a way of infiltrating.  While I hate to admit that at times I get depressed, it’s a fact of life. From the self doubt that comes with the whole writing thing, to just general depression in life. Not enough to go and end anything, gads I’m not that desperate, and I am not mocking people that are. It is a very serious thing.

I hate to sound like one of those people that thinks they know everything, but I really do think writers struggle with the down moments in life more than other people. Maybe it’s all the thoughts jumbled together. Maybe it’s how we look at life. But there is something to be said for true writers having the down times.

For me, I can definitely say that is my issue.  It doesn’t help that my muse is 19 time zones away and it feels like a solar system or two in distance. It doesn’t help that I’m a woman and well, women always have those down times of the month. Mix that with cold weather, the frustration of where to submit one’s work, and the self doubt that “my work isn’t good enough to ever be published…”

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by George Charles B...

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by George Charles Beresford

Heck, just writing about being depressed is depressing, but come, we all know it happens. I actually started thinking about it because of a post Nathan Bransford did a couple years ago. It was more the suicide thing, but still it applies. See here  Writers and Suicide.

That being said, I’m not going to say that all depression is a bad thing due to the fact that I feel depressed writers write the most amazing things. Would Keats have written half his poetry if he had been with Fannie? And they were a happy couple with money and no worries?  I doubt it.  Granted, Virginia Woolf is another story.  And Ernest Hemingway had a medical condition. So I give him some leeway.

I have written four or five poems in the last week. I’m horrible depressed, but it’s doable. And if I can type out poetry because of that, well, so be it. My forms of depression are usually short lived. Thankfully. Usually donating blood helps. I actually have one of the genes that is related to why Hemingway killed himself.  Hemochromatosis is a disorder where your body stores too much iron in every part of your body. Including the brain. And iron oxidizes. Just think of your brain on a rusty nail. No, I do not have hemochromatosis, but Mr. B does, and I happen to carry the one gene that tends to make one absorb and store too much iron. Hence why I donate blood at least 4 times a year. And it helps, but that doesn’t take into consideration my general nature. And that I’m a woman.  Getting the picture?

So, once my muse is back stateside and I can actually feel like I can contact him….. the damn man….. and physiological things level out, I should be fine. For now, the depressing poetry shall continue… I just can’t seem to write light things. I am not Tyler Knott Gregson.  Yes, I am using his name all the time, but I keep reading his book. Sorry, but it’s just too perfect. And sometimes way too cheery, but I can always use cheery.

Kate