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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whither Inspiration?

As I sludge my way through the oppressiveness of winter, it occurred to me this week that the one sure-fire solution to my seasonal blahs is to find inspiration -- in a project, a goal, a challenge. Unfortunately, inspiration has been tougher and tougher to come by as the dreary months slog ever-onward.

(One or two days out of each week I find myself feeling under the weather, as if a virus is looming -- in my sinuses, the back of my throat -- but not quite emerging into full flower. I find the phrase "under the weather" particularly apt, as my current sense of myself is of being pressed upon, flattened, immobilized by the grey skies and brittle cold. I am UNDER the weather literally and metaphorically, heavy with dullness and unable to move without huge effort. Like the old lady in the late-night commercials, I can't get up. There should be a LifeLine for seasonal depression. "Help, I'm depressed and can't find the motivation to fold the 1-week-old clean laundry! Send the EMTs!")

Since fumbling through the holidays with no mojo, I've been struggling to find sources of inspiration. Entertaining usually does it for me, as do gardening, baking, and theatre. Reading. Sometimes, even, writing. No dice this year. I had a flash of inspiration regarding redecorating Quin's room, but it was fleeting. (No, the room's not done yet. Yes, it will likely drag on for weeks, if not months.) I have a theatre project on the horizon and am having to force myself to confront it and get ready for rehearsals in February. And all of the usual stuff that needs dealing with still needs dealing with. (Plus, more frocking plumbing issues. Kill me now.)

But I'm trying. I've been thinking about music and how much less of it there is in my life now than 20 years ago. I played classical piano for about 10 years (with forays into violin and piccolo), sang in several select choirs in high school, and was always surrounded by classical music as a kid. It's been literal decades since I've had music as a daily part of my life, partially due to inattention, partially due to the protective blanket of silence that I wind around myself when overwhelmed.

This evening I'm going to the orchestra with my father -- something I haven't done in decades. He burned several CDs for me of my old favorites for Christmas, and I am using them as poultices against sluggish inactivity at work. And for the first time in years, I sat down to the piano a few evenings ago and spent a wonderful half-hour revisiting some of my old pieces. It was a balm, temporary, but soothing. Something I should do more often.

What inspires you?...

6 comments:

Lauren said...

Entertaining, getting new houseplants, getting together with friends for a drink, exercise. Currently, I feel a lot like you. I avoid big projects and fritter away my time.

Do you see a girls night out in the near future, maybe just local bloggers/friends?

AnnL said...

Oh, that's wonderful that you're re-discovering music. I hope that this is the start of a journey that will lead to more discoveries for you.

May I caution you on saying things like "something I SHOULD do more often". Once you say "SHOULD" it becomes a judgement and if you don't do it, you judge yourself as bad or inadequate or whatever you sub-conscious judgement is. Say it's something you would like to do more often. No failure if you don't do it, but perhaps great joy if you do do it. :-)

jules said...

I get inspired by craft projects with Ronan now.

I came to a similar realization about music recently. As a family, we tend to watch more tv than listen to music, but i think this is something that only happens because of the family dynamic....otherwise, I think I would opt for music over tv more often. I seldomly watched tv when single.

I can relate to the sluggishness at work. This winter as cold and snowy as it is so far has been challenging. And never had the sluggishness affect my work productivity before this year, but its good to hear that you are having a similar experience...makes me feel less alone with it.

Magpie said...

Tell me you played the flute. Because no one plays JUST the piccolo.

Magpie said...

Tell me you played the flute. Because no one plays JUST the piccolo.

Kelly said...

I've been looking into food blogs, really enjoying the inspiration I get from the commentary and photographs. Of course, my end products don't look nearly as good, but the apple tart I made last weekend was delicious.

Ugh, winter. Spring will inspire, but we just need something to bridge the gap between January and April sunshine.