Lurching and Tilting

That title expresses, more or less, the way I feel lately, trying to overcome my own distractedness while also being submerged in the noise from what I now have to consider the neighbors from hell. Much of the noise problem is intensified by the two houses being not more than about 20 feet apart, with my bedroom/computer room windows on that side — of course. Currently, the neighbors are having their utility building and house reroofed. Since the work is being done only in the morning, I can look forward to several days of not being able to sleep past 7:00, being trounced by whatever noises are necessarily involved.

The weather is making its own contribution to the noise problem. I can’t tolerate much heat, so as the temps rise I’m spending more and more time with the window AC running. I bought it in the belief that it was a “whisper quiet” model, but it roars and rattles like crazy, driving me crazy. At least it does cover some of the noise next door.

I signed up for July Camp NaNoWriMo in order to give myself an extra push to finish revising Camp Expendable, but it isn’t going very well. I do most of my writing in the morning, which is now impossible, and by afternoon, I’m so frazzled that I can’t pull myself together enough to write anything, much less do a major revision. With a goal of only 6,000 words, and only eight more chapters, it should be a walk in the park. Best intentions and all that hooey.

The one thing I did accomplish this week, maybe because it was a mindless job involving only hundreds of mouse clicks, was deleting the last of my Live Journal posts. It went fairly quickly and contributed only marginally to my right hand’s ongoing deterioration. Skimming over some of the posts, I came to the conclusion that the ones without any comments were usually personal stuff, or about the writing process. Most of my readers hung around, pure and simple, for the free reads. Going back and back through those posts, I now find it unbelievable that I actually posted entire novels. Not something I’d do anymore, for sure.

The big question now is whether I can finish Camp Expendable this month, and get on to something else. I won’t be taking any bets.

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14 thoughts on “Lurching and Tilting

  1. The good news? You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to do. If the Camp seemed like a good idea but is now driving you nuts, pack up your bags and go home – at least you tried it.

    I had the same problem with noise, and still do occasionally. But, as I explained to my daughter (who says she can’t do what I suggest), I have taken matters into my hands as much as possible because you just can’t leave them in the hands of other people, people who really don’t care. If you type ‘sensory deprivation’ into the search box on my blog, you’ll get four posts about me and the noise problem in suburbia. Some may help.

    This is the one that sums up MY solution: https://liebjabberings.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/portable-sensory-deprivation-system-for-writers-and-people-with-cfs/.

    I can’t fix a lot of the noise, nor block all of it out, but when I use my double system – headgear AND ear plugs together – I find that after a few minutes all I hear is my heartbeat, loud, in my ears (I’ve switched my focus to it), and after a few more minutes, I don’t even hear that (because, I think, I’m used to my own heartbeat, and blocking it out).

    Maybe it would work for you – at least better than the alternatives.

    It doesn’t block out the very low frequency sounds – I have to ask the husband to turn off the extra set of speakers which put them out (woofers?) from the TV – if they are vibrating the bed frame or the house. But it makes such a huge difference. The minute the neighbor comes out with the leaf blower, or someone starts chainsaws on trees, stump grinding, wood chipping or mowing lawns, I reach for my system, knowing it will at least be better. The control helps – I’m not at the mercy of the noisemakers, not completely.

    Good luck with your temporary solutions.

    1. The camp really isn’t the problem. In fact, looking at my unmoving stats is about the only thing that might get me past the noise hump. I want to finish the darned book this month, with or without the camp.

      Thanks for the link to your post. Thank goodness, my Mac Mini doesn’t have a fan, so that’s one less aural assault. And I can usually ignore visual distractions.

      But there’s nothing I can do about the air conditioner because I have to have that just to survive the summer. I”ve been thinking about using earplugs (I do have some) but I find them very uncomfortable, and distracting in their own way. I should give some serious thought to noise-cancelling headphones. In my old apartment, I sometimes had to run the AC around the clock for days at a time. Every so often I had to turn it off and endure an hour or two of heat just for the silence.

      To your question about noticing how noisy people are? Yes. But most people aren’t particularly noise-sensitive so they don’t really notice either their own noise, or the noise around them. I was awake past midnight on the Fourth because of the neighborhood idiots who insisted on setting off firworks. One particularly, was a flare that lit up my room and startled me out of my drowse because it was set off only every 20 minutes or so. Too much startle response for living around lots of people.

      Just did some research. Forget the “best” lists — prices are way out of my range. Looks like $70. is the magic number for a high-rated pair on Amazon. Just sent in a big order for needed stuff, so I might wait until next month — if I can hold out. I’ll try the ear plugs first.

      1. My head gear was a lot less on Amazon – but it’s not the expensive noise-canceling stuff, it’s just the kind the gardener or jackhammer guy uses. $17 if I recall correctly. The earplugs reduce the noise further. My daughter claims the same thing, that she can’t wear them. I find the soft orange 3M 1100 ones that are cone shaped are better than the cylindrical harder ones – and the cheap CVS ones don’t work at all. You roll the smaller end into a tight tiny cylinder, insert (but not too deep), and they expand to completely fill the space. If you put them in too deep, you can hurt your ear drum. If you don’t roll the end tightly first, you can’t get them to stay in and actually block the noise. The MRI technician gave me a few extra pairs when I asked.

        The headgear I use is NOT electronic, and it sits tightly against your head with foam around the edge of the cups.

        The alternatives are worse, for me. YMMV

        1. At first, I couldn’t understand the huge price difference — speakers! I do need something better for movies since my DVD player has to run through the computer. Have ear buds with pretty good sound, but also annoying like the ear plugs. But think I’ll spring for the ear protectors for now. Much thanks. Not keen to spend more big bucks right now, especially since I haven’t been watching movies lately, anyway.

            1. It’s the difference between ear protectors and earphones. I’ll want a good pair of the latter eventually, but they’re certainly not a priority. And, just to cap off a horrible day, my old external hard drive died last night. I can save daily work to a thumb drive, and Dropbox of course, but a new hard drive is next big priority item. Sigh. It never ends.

              1. I’m so sorry about your hard drive. It does seem you’re getting far more than your share of explosions lately.

                To make this work for you, I’d wonder what is so powerful about the book you’re trying to write that the universe is avoiding its birth as hard as it can.

                Use what you have – I just wondered that about PC: Netherworld. I have had so many EXTRA detours, I’m wondering what’s going on.

                1. I’d love to blame the universe, but the drive was old and had given signs of eventual failure. I should have had a replacement ready to go, but — money.

      2. Sorry your stats aren’t moving. I usually write out why I can’t write, and keep digging until I figure out which of my old friends it is (fear of failure, fear of success, long list…), or simply figure out why a scene doesn’t feel complete or deep enough – and the writing comes back.

        I’m sure that doesn’t work for everyone, and I have no idea what you usually do, but I hope you can try things which have worked in the past – or find something new.

        If you weren’t really a writer, you’d just quit. And not even worry about it.

        1. It’s really only the noise that’s keeping me from writing. It’s very stressful, and by the time it quits for the day, I’m in no shape to write. Hopefully, the ear protectors will make a difference. At least they aren’t a big investment. Ordered a different pair, slightly more expensive, but seems to be better quality. (Maybe I’ll vacuum more often instead of avoiding the noise.)

          1. That is too bad – hope they finish their roofing soon. I can only write in the mornings because the brain cells refuse to dance after about 2PM, which, for a night owl, is a problem.

            Unfortunately, I have to give up carbs again. When I relax, and eat what I want to, they take over – and I can’t afford the little extra they remove from my mental clarity. Oh, well. What you need to give up for art.

            1. I’ll try the ear plugs tomorrow. They’re the soft foam ones, but I still hate them. I did manage to crank out 200 words this evening. Pathetic, but maybe it’s enough to get me moving again.

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