When Nothing Satisfies

DISCLAIMER: I  WROTE THIS BACK IN DECEMBER. I’M MUCH BETTER NOW. Also, the song choice is supposed to be funny.

It occured to me back in December that if I’m not actually enjoying all the things I’m doing that I’m supposed to enjoy, then one or both of two things is true: 


1) there’s a disconnect between what I (and everyone around me) thinks I enjoy and what I actually do enjoy.


    2) I’m suffering from depression to the point that I really can’t enjoy anything. 

    I’m pretty sure #2 isn’t true, so I need to look more closely at #1.

    If #1 is true, it’s probably because I’m operating in bad faith, fooling myself and some of those around me, not being honest about:

    • my needs
    • The choices I’m actually making and why
    • The reasons I so often delay decisions to the point of advocating them
    • The costs of my choices
    • What I can and can’t do, really, in terms of my life

    I’ve done a lot of thinking about that (and working with it) over this year’s first three months. Next week, I’ll write about what I’ve discovered. 

      Rekindling the Creative Spark: An Experiment Upon Myself, Part 2: Proposed Treatment

      Yesterday,  I detailed a problem not only with my writing, but with my imagination overall: 

      I’ve allowed the pump to run dry,  so even if the well has water,  and even if I go up the hill to fetch a pail, I’ll have to do some serious priming to get anything drinkable. 

      And if I’m not careful, I might fall down and break my crown 🙂

      So what am I going to do? Metaphor aside, an imagination isn’t like a water pump or car engine. 

      Well, I  have a few ideas: 

      Listen to music that fired my imagination the past, musicians whose lyrics were poetic,  with imagery,  metaphor,  and complexity. 

      • Sarah McLachlan
      • Bob Dylan
      • Peter, Paul, and Mary 
      • Wyclef Jean 
      • Sting
      • Mary Chapin Carpenter
      • Rosanne Cash
      • Maria McKee
      • Leonard Cohen
      • Bruce Cockburn
      • Sarah Brightman
      • 10000 Maniacs
      • Beth Patterson
      • Rich Mullins
      • Jennifer Knapp
      • U2
      • And many others 

      Seek out more music by musicians who’ve caught my attemtion once or a few times in the past:

      • Amanda Abizaid 
      • Amanda Ghost
      • Martin Page 
      • Nina Gordon
      • Charlotte Sometimes
      • The Pogues
      • Shakira
      • Sara Evans
      • Annie Lennox, both solo and in that band my auto-correct won’t let me write. 
      • even Guns N Roses

      (It occurs to me how white this list is,  with the exception of Wyclef and Shakira. Maybe I should look in some new directions as I seek out new material)

        Seek out new music that may have the same qualities.  This is harder,  because it involves spring through a bushel and a half of disposable pablum. The old stuff comes pre-sorted.

        But this is not just about music. I need to read actual poetry. I also need to constantly read fiction, fiction with imagery, fiction that plays with language. 

        Perhaps most importantly, I need to take better care of myself. I need to get enough sleep. I need to get more exercise,  and I need to eat less refined sugar. 

        I need to clear space my mind. This isn’t about excusing myself from doing the things that need to be done. 

        It’s about clearing out the clutter, watching less tv, wasting less time on Facebook, Slate, etc. 

        It’s about doing one thing at a time. Multitasking isn’t just inefficient; it’s frustrating and depressing, too. 

        It’s about regeneration. But mostly about getting enough sleep. 

        I hypothesize that two weeks of adequate sleep, limited attention-splitting time wasters, and reaquaintance with nearly forgotten favorites will have back to my old self. 

        I’ll collect data and get back to you with the results. 

        Kicking Darkness, Bleeding Light  

        I have been feeling a little depressed lately,  for a number of reasons. 

        It’s nothing clinical or health –  threatening,  but is unpleasant,  and it makes me just not want to talk to anyone.

        As a part of getting my stuff together (In case you haven’t heard, 2016 is The Year Tim Gets His Stuff Together), I’ve been going through the houses in our storage room, or at least my boxes. 

        And tonight, I found a scrap of paper, probably a decade old or more, a scrawled note from a novel that never really came to fruition.

        And it was just what I needed to hear. 

        “Sorrow lasts for the night,  but the dawn will break.  You can choose to live under the night,  become a part of it, turn your back on the hope the sunrise brings.  And then when the dawn comes, where are you?”

        “I’m sure you’ll tell me,” Ashe said, glancing over his shoulder at Jack. 

        “If you don’t fight the darkness,  don’t allow yourself to suffer,  you can lose your love for the light.  And then dawn finds you crawling deeper into the shadows,  huddled I’m fear of the joy you once longed for.”

        Okay,  so it’s a bit unsubtle,  but I think i needed to hear it. 

        This has been a rough summer,  all around. I need to admit that,  and not start resenting a job I genuinely like 90% of the time. 

        Time has been right, but mostly, I just haven’t felt up to calling and starting better touch with my friends.  This is a vicious circle,  because it is a symptom of feeling down and a major cause of it.

        I have gotten hurt and sick a couple of times this summer, and that has put me off of exercise,  which is always a struggle for me. It is so much easier to just let it slide.

        And with the later hours and earlier mornings, of course I haven’t been getting enough sleep.

        But as I said yesterday, I am drawing the line on that.  

        The only way out of anything like this is through.

        As Bruce Cockburn sang, you’ve “got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.”