I’ve never been good with the in-between times, the days or weeks after one thing has ended and before the next has begun. The transitional periods are to reassess and rethink what you’re doing, a time for introspection, and I just hate it. I function best when going by feel, with no plan or pre-game plotting. But since hanging my portrait show three weeks ago I’ve felt kind of unmoored.
I’m still reading books, going to movies and concerts and museums all the time, but it all feels like a dodge to avoid work when I have nothing of my own going. It’s one thing to be inspired by what others are doing, but kind of hollow and unrewarding when I’m not making anything in reaction or counterpoint. Part of my current restlessness has to do with a growing dissatisfaction with some of the ways I’ve been cobbling together a living. Reviewing books and movies hasn’t been a complete waste of time but neither has it always felt worthwhile. Criticism will always feel like a secondary craft to me. Even my most subtle and ingenious opinion will always pale next to a third-rate Hollywood star vehicle or the most forgettable airport novel because those were made to stand on their own, whereas what I write can only exist in response.
More than anything, whether painting or writing, I value working from life, trying to make something with what’s before my eyes and within range of my ears. There’s no way that writing reviews can scratch that itch. Not that I went into it thinking it would, but after doing them awhile it becomes a matter of diminishing returns. I can’t quit the racket completely because I need the money but I’ve been wracking my brain for other ways to get by. I may end up having to pick up another bartending shift or two to regain my equilibrium.
There are other frustrations which are keeping me from diving into the next thing but they’re not worth going into here. I try not to make this a forum for bitterness and whining. If history’s any guide, I’ll snap out of it soon and get on with the business of documenting the world out my window. That’s what I’m here for. I just forget sometimes.