I hit a sort of writing slump recently which always causes anxiety to well up until I’m in over my head, trying to keep myself afloat above the swell. I’ve thought about the half-finished pieces I have digitally gathering dust and I feel a sense of failure because I know what I should be doing, but just can’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I’ve been reading. I just started on my fourth book this month, a biography of Slyvia Plath after finishing Faulkner’s A Light in August, Paley’s Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, and a second reading of Plath’s The Bell Jar — I never juggle three books at a time, let alone two, but I’ve been feeling flighty lately and it just seemed to work.
But for me, literary pursuits operate like a WWF tag team; only one can be in the ring at a time while the other waits behind the ropes, hoping maybe to get the chance to hand a chair or other object to their teammate to bash the opponent into submission. It’s a strange analogy, I know, but finishing something, whether an article or novel, gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Almost like I’ve vanquished another foe in my quest to move forward. I tend to hit benders where I do nothing but focus on writing for a month, only to abandon that for a month of book slaying. I wish I could find a happy balance, but I’m still working on that.
Things have been all over the place lately but it seems I’m making progress in the right direction at least. This summer is already shaping up to be a busy one with a lot of travel. I’m going to a work conference in Atlanta next month for a project I devoted one day a week to for my former boss in TB control, then most likely am heading to Montana sometime in July to see my grandparents. I’ve been in touch with the refugee camp in Calais, France about volunteering to work with the kids and teach English — apparently my experience in Spain makes me better suited for the more organized school in the Dunkirk camp so I was directed to them. I’ve volunteered to help with data analysis, that I’ll work on from home, for a presentation the legal team is putting together, as well as working with the kids when I get there. I’m tentatively planning to arrive in Dublin first to find an apartment, then will head for France in early August for a minimum of two weeks. The timeline seems chaotic, but with the right planning I think I can make it work.
I found a friend to take over my bedroom once I leave so that is a huge relief. I need to start making repairs and all that, but this has been the biggest stressor so I’m glad it’s taken care of. Plus, I know both the people who will be staying here so I can leave a bunch of my furniture; a smaller storage unit means less money each month.
It took almost two years but I finally replaced the camera that was stolen in Madrid. I didn’t get another DSLR, instead I got a “bridge” camera that looks like a DSLR and has a lot of the same functionality but without all the hassle. I took a few test shots on Saturday when I got it and was really happy with the image quality and zoom. I’m hoping to get out this weekend around the harbor and really see what it can do. Mostly though, I’m just itching for all the beautiful landscapes I’ll get to capture in Ireland.
I’ve been aware now in the past few years how dependent my happiness is on new things; and not even “things” in the material sense. Mostly it’s new experiences and new people that keep me going forward. I feel like recently, with these future plans and the addition of an interesting individual, I’ve felt more optimistic than I have in awhile. Like I’ve mused before, I’m not sure if this constant need for change is especially good or healthy, but it seems to be the cure for what ails me, and for now that suits me just fine.