Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In a Lull

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

These periods of being stuck are nothing unusual for me and I am getting better about handling them; but, I sure as heck don’t like them.

How best to describe where I am? Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Call it a funk; call it burnout; call it a lull. I have been stuck. I have been pretty much tongue-tied with nothing to say that is fit to share in a family-friendly blog. Most of you know what I am talking about because you have been there. I have been distracted by this business of keeping my finger in the dyke to hold off an impending collapse of my messy storage system. Besides that, I am working on a couple of projects that are taking more time than I expected and I have let that frustrate me. I haven’t been at my best, physically, and I am having an unusual, for me, problem: not sleeping well. And, I confess that it really ticks me off when I virtually lose a day of life, because I am exhausted from a sleepless night. My computer is running slow—bloated with files, and is if all that weren't enough I was having real problems getting anything done on the web.

Finally, it all piled up and morphed into one of those fits of dissatisfaction with everything that I do. Nothing I write is worth saying, much less publishing. All my photos stink—no, I mean really stink. New ones and old ones. Why am I struggling to save any of them from drive failures? How did they get so awful and why did I bother to process them, much less hang on to them, or back them up in the first place? Maybe I should toss all of them and begin fresh. Never mind, the next batch would be just as bad. See what I mean?

At any rate, lest this be contagious, I need to quarantine myself for a couple more days until this fog lifts, the fever subsides—whatever. Perhaps this is just something brewing. Perhaps I will emerge from the malaise energized and produce like crazy. Or, maybe not. At any rate, I will be grateful to go on to the next phase whatever the heck it is.


  1. I'm sure that it's no laughing matter, but I laughed! That's a great way to get it out. Vent! I know of what you speak. Believe it or not, I've been in a funk for a few months. Personal problems; however, somehow, I just keep pushing, even when I don't want to ... which is most every day. When I go out with the camera I wonder who I'm fooling, certainly not myself.

    I just keep telling myself: This, too, shall pass. This, too, shall pass! But, sometimes I just don't believe it. My volunteering is an effort to get out of this self-pity and self-induced funk and hopefully make life better for someone else, myself included.

    Believe me, I know what you feel my friend, but ... This, too, shall pass! :-)

  2. Paul - Oh, I love it that you laughed. I hoped I was managing to whine while demonstrating a somewhat sensible perpective. There is no denying that this shall pass. Thank goodness! Still I confess that, like you, when I am deep in the trough I have flickers of doubt. I wonder if some of us need these "down" periods for gathering and sorting? I have gotten much better at embracing them for that reason, but I have a ways to go with this particular aspect of self-improvement. It's a challenge, since there are so many things on that list that must be addressed.

    And, see, when you are struggling,you just keep on keeping on, steady as she goes. Meanwhile, I flouder about bumping into walls. I think it's more than a matter of style.

    A little more time and I will be over this hump. Whoopee!

  3. Can I suggest a somewhat contrary solution?

    Go take pictures of your frustration. See if you can turn it into something. Just an idea. Embrace it, don't fight it. That'll teach it.

  4. Anita, In some small way I feel your pain. I wasted the entire day attempting to update my laptop; boy they sure don’t make the process easy! My original intention was to slap some paint on the house but it rained and ruined my plans. Who would ever think that the weather forecast would be “spot on correct”?

  5. For my part, sometimes I get my head so far up my umm.."projects" I lose perspective. What looks close up to be huge, a bolder I tell you, from a distance may have only been a pebble.

    My "chores" which don't get done normally do so for one of three reasons, my expectations were unreasonable, I didn't work hard enough or I didn't work smart enough. For me, frustration comes with reason one or three--both requiring time to contemplate the error of my ways. ;-)

    Hey, a good time to taste some wine, or go see a good movie or take that husband of yours out on a date--perhaps do all three! :-)

    Not to make light, but tomorrows a new day with new opportunities and even perhaps the inspiration you need!

  6. I got a good laugh, too. You wrote down exactly how it feels from time to time, and we all suffer from this, I certainly recognises myself in those words. I'm getting there soon, I'm sure of that. I can feel all those signs that usually precedes this feeling of lack of meaning. My rescue will be the restoration of our fine and “charming cottage”, which starts in October. After that, I will be full of energy again, I'm sure about that... uhm... perhaps not energy, but inspiration to do what I used to do, again. Don't you have a sweet cottage that needs tender care?

  7. Gordon - I'm starting a search right now for my boxing gloves. It's time to beat up on this thing.

  8. Steve - The weather forecast was accurate?! That was a banner day. Some days are like that, aren't they? Things just pile up.

    It's amazing isn't it, how many computer-related jobs end up taking hours rather than minutes. It always sounds so effortless, doesn't it?

  9. Earl - I love your description of what happens when we lose perspective on a project. I am guilty of both not working smart enough and setting unreasonable expectations. You seem to have an accurate read on me. That's scary!

    The Husband was hard, hard at work, hence there was no date in the schedule. But, I did a second best thing and took a walk this morning. It was a great tonic.

  10. Ove - I know what you mean about the signs that one of these is coming on. I suspected that I was headed for this, but nothing I did to avoid it succeeded. At least in my case, I think by the time I recognize the signs, I am too far gone. I think the vent was the best thing I could have done. It "cleared out the pipes".

    Goodness, yes, I have a cottage in serious need of tender care. As much as I trust that strategy, it wasn't working this time. Often, it's the perfect solution, isn't it, and always worth trying. I certainly hope it works for you. You are facing a big challenge, but we all know you will triumph.

  11. Spoken like a true artist going through the inevitable struggle, with the minor exception of the statement "I have no talent".
    Gordon is onto the best solution I have found. Pick up the camera and go for a drive or walk and just burn up some of those digits on the card. No expectations or preconceived ideas. Use it as a sketchbook, not as something for the final product.
    In other words, give your mind permission to play. Works for me most every time.
    All my best and I know it will pass.

  12. Steve - I know that strategy will eventually get me through the tail end of this. I am on the way back now. Thanks for another nudge in the right direction. The sketchbook concept is a good one.

    And, what makes you think I wasn't sure of that no talent bit? :)
    Fortunately, I don't spend a great deal of time worrying about that one. If I don't have talent there isn't much I can do about that. However, I do believe in my determination and willingness to learn, and I am convinced that those things are important. Sometimes talented people don't produce.

  13. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. I know exactly how you feel, I was there just a few weeks ago and anticipate returning sometime soon.

    I have to tell you, what you feel about your writing is not what I see when I read it. If anything, the more I read, the more I think how much I enjoy your ability to express yourself. Even when you write about not being able to write--its very worthwhile reading.

    This too really shall pass, Anita, and I will look forward to listening and learning. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Anita, Oh, but you do have the talent for making lovely, meaningful images, so that is a non-issue. I, on the other hand have often lamented that B&H does not offer talent or a good eye as part of their merchandise.
    You are right about not letting the talent issue get in your way and thanks for that bit of insight.
    This past year I have worked with a diverse team of artists and watching the ebb and flow of their creative has been a eye opener. For a varying period of time they create pure magic, then a lull, then sometimes a real 'blue funk' sets in and then back to the magical creations. It is as if the body and soul need time for rest and reflection.

  15. Mary Ann - I am so happy to hear that you are on your way back. I am always hoping for a new post when I visit your site.

    Thanks for more encouragement.

  16. Steve - You have dashed my last hope! I had been thinking about breaking down and ordering a really big package of talent from B&H. How about Adorama? Adobe? Anyone?

    Long ago, it finally dawned on me that I hadn't been consulted about the amount of talent I should receive and there were no do-overs. I decided to leave that one alone. It was a big relief. I learned to concentrate on other things.

    Your story is wonderfully inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing that. When I am deep in a funk, I do try to keep reminding myself that my creative self is recharging. (Unfortunately, I admit that sometimes I don't listen to myself.) This story is an excellent one to remember.


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