Blue Monday

April 20, 2009

Today is a grey, crappy, rainy, blustery day.  As if my internal life were reflected in the atmosphere, you might say.

Had myself a blustery chat with Ye Olde Therapiste, wherein I talked about:

1.  Robot Boy’s grandmother, who has taken quite a decline recently, prompting him to schedule a quick trip to visit with her this coming weekend,

2.  Which has also put any vacation plans–to Costa Rica or anywhere else–on hold until we know what’s up with Grandma.

3.  My post today at Harpyness on not being sorry, and yet how I’m completely consumed with guilt and remorse and constantly feel sorry both for and about what seem like my unending failures, and

4.  Needing to meet both with my dissertation director, so as to more-or-less “come clean;” and the placement officer/career counselor dude, so as to be assured that the best I will be able to do for the fall is tape together a number of adjunct positions and thus earn a subsistence wage; and not feeling confident that I could do either of those things without having a humiliating meltdown.

It was not pleasant.

Afterwards, I went up to school for a quick errand, and saw that my diss director was in his office, and although 49% of me was thinking “Fly, you fool! Flyyyyyyyy!”, 51% said “Good god, woman, get in there and get it over with!”  So I went in there and said really all I trusted myself to say: “Well, the long and short of it is I’m burned out, and I don’t know how to get un-burned out.” I didn’t get into details of how long I’ve been struggling, how little I’ve produced in recent months, or the therapy and meds, but the cat was out of the bag.

I think I kind of shocked him (to the extent that he can be shocked), although I can’t be sure.  He paused, expressed sympathy (“I’m sorry,” and “it happens to all writers”) and then advised me to:

1.  Keep a scheduled, dedicated writing time (just an hour), even if I don’t write a thing, just to sit and think is necessary;

2. Try a different angle–a new section or chapter, a new and weird idea, just to see what happens;

3. Take a break–but not too long, as not-writing tends to breed more not-writing (and my life is a testament to that bit of wisdom); and

4. Take care not to strangle it (which is what I’m doing when I’m not ignoring its ensuing gasps for breath).

Nothing revolutionary, but true all the same.  He encouraged me to keep with it, that struggle is part of the process, that even if you’re not cranking out pages, or only cranking out shite, if you sit with it, work is happening in your brain, and if you can get out of its way, so to speak, it will come.  We talked about the undeniable crapulence of the job market, and he said that “slowing down a bit” (HA!  HA HA HAHAHHHHHAAAAAA!) wasn’t a terrible idea.  He assured me of my ability (or rather, he tried to, I can’t say I’m sold on that) and the worthiness of my subject matter, and asked me to set a time to meet with him next month and see how things are going.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do.


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