Last century, Ellen DeGeneres wrote the book My Point… And I Do Have One. Part of her comedy is her rambling, circular routes to her points. Boy, do I relate, but not in a comedic way (although the process is routinely eye-rolling amusing). This post, before it even is fully birthed into the blogosphere, is destined to meander while trying to reach its point.

  1. I’m depressed AF (DAF). No secret there. The noise of the soul sucking is cacophonous. The actual soul sucking has been so intense that it has turned me inside out, and it has reduced me to an unrecognizable, intert, slightly quivering blob of goo. If you mentally thought ew at that, then you’re imagining it correctly.*
  2. Amazon.com sent me an email informing me that my small credit towards the purchase of a certain selection of Kindle books was soon to expire. I thought I should at least take a look, although I’m very conscious of spending money right now.
  3. An online friend told me that she believes the Picasso quote about every child being an artist. I don’t happen to believe that. That notion renders the word art meaningless. What I do believe is that every child, every person, is creative. Not everything we create is art. Some people are more creative than others. Some people are more artistically creative than others. Art covers a wide range of things, but doesn’t include everything. I’m of an age where I’ve earned my right to be pedantic, so there.
  4. I’ve struggled mightily over the years with the label that I am, or am not, an artist. That’s a few other blog posts right there. (And I have blogged about it, years ago.) I have no problem stating emphatically that I am a creative person. Creativity pervades most things I do and that I react to. Being DAF (see #1), and that nasty pile of goo, has my creativity stuck. I have no life juice. There’s just this squelchy bit, over there, to the left, by that hole that used to be part of my soul. Poke it with a stick, yeah, no reaction, just a messy stick.
  5. I have a lot of mental health issues going on at the moment. I don’t know if it was nature or fucked up nurture, but I’ve been clinically depressed since childhood. I’m a fairly functional depressive. I’ve had various diagnoses (none of the psychologists ever agreed on a diagnoses, but they all involved some kind of “depressed.” Duh.). Then on top of that I’ve had these chronic, non-stop, horrible life situations to deal with, all of them dealing with basic survival in the form of money in one way or another (so that’s food/shelter/clothing, too). Toss in a bit of lack of social support. A pinch of health issues. A wallop of age.
    1. This is the recipe for being DAF (see #1, above).
    2. This teetering, ongoing uncertainty and its accompanying DAF, makes sense when viewed together. I’d be crazy not to be DAF.
    3. The even bigger problem is that just when being DAF makes a weird kind of sense, it is the worst time to be DAF. Looking for a job? Trying to be proactive? Trying to function? Being charming in interviews? Oy vey. The proverbial boulder being pushed up the mountain, which is very tough to do when you are essentially an inert pile of mucky goo.
  6. I’ve been trying to figure out small ways to take care of myself, so I don’t spin out of existence altogether.

Ok, so those are the pieces to this mental spot I’m currently occupying.

Back to window-shopping Amazon for the possible use of the store credit. It applied only to books marked Great On Kindle. I was hoping there was a Neil Gaiman book I’ve been wanting, but if it was there, then it was hidden. (Note to Amazon: Give a decent way to search those Great On Kindle titles.) I had given myself two ground rules to purchase anything: it had to be something I really wanted and under $10. It turns out the price wasn’t really an issue. With the credit most things were under $5.

I almost got out of there without buying. Almost. There are some good books there. Some I have read. Some I should read (but realistically won’t). Many were of genres I just don’t have interest in right now. Scroll. Next. Scroll. Next. Repeat. Almost done and then my eyes landed onto a book I think I own. If I still have it, then it is piled into one of several boxes still in my storage locker. (That’s another blog post.) It may be a book I got rid of during one of the myriad of house moves.

Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I read and worked it not long after it first was published, and I recall that it was worthwhile and not just for artistic stuff. It suited where I was at the time, physically in northern California and that state of mind. It has a very Santa Cruz vibe. The author wrote it in Taos. If you’ve been to both places, you’ll know what I mean. Aging hippy, arty, spiritual, geographically beautiful, refreshing with a tendency to being annoying as hell. Ocean breeze scented with patchouli. No one who has read my blog for the many years I’ve been writing would ever guess that there’s a portion of the Internet that once nicknamed me Dharma, after the character of the TV show Dharma and Greg. Dharma-me is still there, sort of. Changed but not gone. Dharma-me is definitely ensnared in the goo.

It took me about two minutes to decide to click purchase. 

I bought it not so much To Create Art and To Earn the Label of Artist. I bought it in hopes that it might nudge me a rung or two higher out of the pit of DAF. Anything straight forward, a self-improvement, logical, to-do list of “shoulds” would not survive the inertia of the DAF smear of goo. It would become one with the mess. It would cease to exists except as a sore spot, over there, by one of those bits that looks like entrails. (I recently posted about my desire to do something and the difficulty in doing anything while DAF.)

I downloaded the book immediately to my desktop, not my portable Kindle. This makes it Serious Reading rather than casual. It is bigger format. I can highlight and make notes easier.

This was the 25th Anniversary Edition. Well, that was immediately depressing! Twenty five years? In 2016. Cripe. Here, have a helping of You’re Old! to go with the DAF. I sat with that for a couple of moments.

I read all of the introductions and retrospections. I read the first chapter, highlighting here and there. At the end of the first chapter it states that the next one will introduce the two main tools, the morning pages and artist date. I decided to save that reading until today, and while both tools rang a familiar note with me, I had forgotten the details. Last night I was thinking I might be able to incorporate the morning pages into the blog. Today I learned, nope, no can do.

This post has already passed long, so I will wrap it up soon. I’m sure I’ll be back to the topic. The morning pages are non-negotiable, three hand written pages of stream of consciousness writing. They are not to be read by anyone else (which is why I can’t moosh them into a blog). They aren’t even to be re-read by the person writing until months later, at least at first.

I have made a commitment to do these pages for one full month (so ending on February 7). I have committed to the once a week date with myself. I go into this with no expectations, no goals, no nothing except the commitment. I have no idea if this will be the sideways relief to my depressive goo or not.

Today my job is to find a notebook in which to do the writing. Tomorrow I start writing. Today my job is to set a specific week day to have the artist’s date.

That’s my gift to myself: the book and the working it for a month. I wrote this post to keep me honest and feeling guilty motivated enough to follow through.

* To my imaginary grammar nerd who haunts me: I had to google whether if/then sentences need to have a comma to separate the clauses. They do.

3 Comments

  1. Good luck. Seems reasonable that it will help. Stream of consciousness is pulling from the place that tries to communicate with you through dreams. If you can tap into that good things will come of it.

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  2. Good luck with your challenge.

    If you’re looking for new material to read, most libraries have the Overdrive (or something similar to it) program, where you can borrow eBooks for free and read them on your Kindle. (If you already know this, ignore me. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not gonna ignore you! 🙂 Good tip. Also a good reminder. I really should get to the library more often. There are two in our town, the one closest is this cute archaic place and the one I prefer. Sounds like a great place for an artist date. (Also part of the project.)

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