Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Midsummer Doldrums

I find it painfully awkward to explain to people what it is that I do during the summer and why it's so difficult.  Most folks, my family included, seem to envision languid days by the pool and nights ensnared in video games.  And my standard, "I'm working on a paper," just seems to evoke memories of working on a college term paper over a long weekend.  It doesn't capture the solitude of the writing, the daily & hourly disappointments with one's own work, or the tediousness of some research.

This weekend, I finally found someone who understands.  The weird first stanza to the Avett Brothers' song Talk on Indolence is the best description I've come across of the highs and lows of the writing process:

Well I've been lockin' myself up in my house for sometime now
Readin' and writin' and readin' and thinkin'
and searching for reasons and missing the seasons.
The Autumn, the Spring, the Summer, the snow.
The record will stop and the record will go.
Latches latched the windows down,
the dog coming in and the dog going out.
Up with caffeine and down with a shot.
Constantly worried about what I've got.
Distracting my work but I can't make a stop
and my confidence on and my confidence off.
And I sink to the bottom and rise to the top
and I think to myself that I do this a lot.


Steve Clowney


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