Drifting on a Restless Breeze

1 04 2016
Misty Spring Morning

photo by James Samuel

I am in a strange space today. I don’t know whether it is the unseasonable warmth, the stirrings of spring outside in the smells, songs of the birds, and the emerging flowers. I don’t know if it is an effect of this long siege, or just some subtle shift in the mysterious chemical soup my brain steeps in. It has been building over the past few days, a mixture of restlessness and an inability to focus on tasks at hand. The urge to pack my tent and backpack and disappear into the mountains (not a wise choice—I have obligations this weekend, and besides, they are predicting snow).

Earlier this week I had an incoherent and thoroughly baffling email from a feature writer from a state magazine which will remain nameless which a.) presumed I was married to Marek Bennett (I’m not) and b.) made vague noises about doing a feature on us. In the ensuing exchange, I found myself so annoyed at the individual’s scatter-brained approach and lack of professionalism that I scolded him for being a git and refused to call him until he explained himself clearly. Not surprisingly, he dropped me and found someone else to inflict himself on.

Now, I should have been tickled silly at the opportunity to be interviewed by a major glossy magazine. I should have been polite, cooperative, and eager. But the fact that this guy knew literally nothing about me except the “Freelance Philosopher” tagline, and wanted to pose me in front of some sort of faux-Greek pillars or something (would I be required to wear a toga?) turned me off. I lost the chance for some free publicity. And part of me wrung its hands in anguish over the missed opportunity. Yet, on reflection, I found I really didn’t give a damn.

I’m looking over my ambitious spreadsheet, and murmuring, “What the hell?” How much of this do I really need to do, and how much of it is stuff I just have this vague urgent feeling that I “ought” to do, because it’s expected? Because it shows I’m a “serious” writer? What am I trying to prove, and to whom?

Well, the Archimedes Nesselrode screenplay project just got a whole lot simpler. A colleague of mine who is way more professional and savvy than I has expressed an interest in buying the film rights to it, and collaborating on turning it into a script. She already has the software, the contacts, and has paid the dues to join a professional organization. Hooray! All I have to do is consult. In the wildly remote event that we actually sell the fool thing to Hollywood (odds of this somewhere between the likelihood of me getting an agent and being blown up in my bathtub by Islamic extremists) we split the proceeds 50/50. (BTW, I know this woman and her credentials are excellent.)

The sequel to Awake Chimera? It’s a wonderful idea, a smart move professionally, and I’ve had some great material supplied by a fan/friend. But I don’t know if I can do it. Not right now. I don’t feel the sort of inspiration I’d need, the kind of 24/7 obsession that I feel when I’m fully engaged in a writing project. I want to do it, but the muse is busy elsewhere.

And I’m in a strange space. If there is a 24/7 obsession haunting me, it’s the awful domestic situation I’m stuck in and can’t resolve due to factors outside my control. I am doing what I need to do to get where I need to go; I’m on the road. But it’s like sitting in a traffic jam. There’s nothing for it but to wait patiently and amuse myself as productively as I can.

We can control our actions. Sometimes it’s difficult, and sometimes it’s damn near impossible to keep strong emotions from leaking out into our behavior despite our best efforts. But we can use logic and reason to keep us from doing stupid, counter-productive and damaging things most of the time. However, our feelings are, for the most part, outside our control. There may be things we can do that can affect those feelings—going for a walk, contacting a friend, writing it all out in a blog—and get ourselves back into a better space. But certain sorts of emotions and moods are too powerful to ameliorate with all the usual strategies. Nothing to be done but carry on the best we can until it passes.

Unless it doesn’t. And even if you know it must, because all things do, while you are soaking in the brine of such a mood it feels as if it will be like this forever.

Today my spreadsheet said I needed to post a blog. Voila. Now, what next?

What next?




4 responses

1 04 2016

I think you were right to let that ‘opportunity’ go by. The amount of work you would have had to put in just to educate that eejit would not have been worth it – neither for the publicity or your stress levels. Not giving a damn is perfect!
What next…try not to let the annoying Spring get to you. All that new and happy and fresh shit gets on my nerves, too, because I’m still old and cranky and need a damn shower! The only reason I like spring at all is because I grow things. Maybe that’s a next – go get a cheap packet of dwarf sunflower seed and plant a few.
Or I could be completely full of shite 🙂

2 04 2016

I planted hollyhocks. Going to plant lupines next.

2 04 2016
Mary Jolles

Your mood sounds partly like what they call “spring fever.” Second the motion on passing up your opportunity to be interviewed. You never know how people might deconstruct and reconstitute your words–better to speak for yourself. That “traffic jam” feeling…I’m with you there. Some things you just have to wait out. Part of the art of living is understanding that how you want your life to proceed and the opportunities to make this happen don’t always coincide.

Judging from what I’ve seen of other artists, productivity comes in waves, with inactive periods in between. I say, just float and meditate during the down time. Something will come to you. In the meantime, rake the yard, plant seeds, go for a walk, sweep the floor, etc.

2 04 2016

Thanks to both of you for seconding my choice to pass up the interview. It’s funny, I am reading the Harry Potter series (thanks to Nick and Mary!) and I had just finished the one with Rita Skeeter. Then, coincidentally, I watched with some friends the Reichenbach Falls episode of Sherlock, in which he is crucified by the press. All this on top of all the shenanigans with the media during our presidential election. I am feeling particularly antipathetic towards the press right now.

As for the rest of it, yes, spring fever in spades. Went out yesterday and spontaneously decided to build a bonfire in the back yard. Then ran down to the brook and splashed my face in the cold water. Began walking through the woods and got caught in a thunderstorm. Came home soaked, but feeling intensely alive.

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