It's that not-so spectacular time of year, between winter and spring, when my muse flips me off and walks out. I hear about people who suffer from seasonal disorder (winter downs), usually during winter. Me? It's always between the seasons. I'm okay between summer and fall. Autumn to winter is the very best time for me. But winter to spring hits me like a boomerang and it takes almost a month for me to climb out of the artistic graveyard.
It's not just writing that's affected. Oh no, I'm not that lucky. My interest in almost everything falls off the planet. I can't draw, can't paint, can't read and nothing on TV interests me.
This is depression-my depression-at its lowest. I've grown clumsy, my sleep patterns are screwed up and I can't concentrate on anything.
It's difficult to wade through this time of year. I'm one of those weirdos who feels she has to be constantly doing something. Accomplishment is success to me. It might be that part of the dilemma is I haven't been out walking. I miss that. This winter has been especially cold, as anyone here in the Snow Belt can tell you. One night the temps hit -29 F. Not kidding. That's effing cold to me; never been in Missouri where it's sometimes reported to hit -40 F. I like the winter. Really, I do. It's just that -40, is the point at which your hair freezes up and falls out, your nipples turn into deadly weapons and you have to stick your head into a microwave to thaw your face. Not exactly my idea of a good time.
Lack of accomplishment leaves me with a sense of guilt; nothing's getting done. I am mortal and I want to finish something before I die. So that guilt turns into frustration. No, I don't want to watch TV. No, I don't want to read-oh that's another matter of late.
I've worked very hard over the years to be the very best writer I can be. I've studied techniques and taken a few courses and the one course I've taken-journalism-has sharpened my skills as a writer like a katana. (whoa! spellchecker doesn't know what a katana is! >.<) It's awesome knowing how to write in such a way that every word counts; there's no baggage in the sentences. However, no one warned me that learning how to do so will make it difficult to read other people's work. I'm a picky reader to begin with but knowing how to drop helping-verbs and prepositional phrases and the like has made me into the critique from hell. For example:
"I tried to forget what Ma Sinclair had said. Conal was already too careful, too nervous for my taste; I almost yearned for a decent bar brawl to brighten up my life." (excerpt from Gillian Philip's Firebrand)
It reads just fine, really. Any college English teacher would let this pass with flying colors. BUT "... had said" is a helping verb. All that the writer needed to use was "...what Ma Sinclair said." The other one: "... brighten up my life." The preposition "up" is not necessary. Does anything 'brighten down'? Where is the sun? where are light fixtures located? usually above us, right? So "up" is just an unnecessary word.
So I want to read but I can't turn off the English professor in me. It too is frustrating. My inner critic is having a field day. sometimes said critic tries to nag at me with my journal writing. I tell it off; free writing doesn't count.
I am considering using the time neither drawing nor writing to work on the house. I have pictures and photos to hang, a carpet that needs shampooing. All the while, my inner critic will yell at me that I need to get some writing done; that I have readers waiting for the next story.
I wonder how much it'd cost to mail an inner critic to the Antarctic. It can bitch at the penguins there.