inspiration

Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on the source of a funk. Or perhaps there could be many sources and that in itself is kind of overwhelming and funk-inducing. So you just don’t think about it.

I haven’t been writing. At all. Well, that’s not true. This weekend, I wrote a 10-page paper on the construction of truth in 18th century travel writing and how it legitimated European feelings of superiority over non-European peoples abroad.

Still awake? Anyway, to sum all that up, I wrote a paper. Papers have a tendency to suck the life out me. Bor-ring! But besides the paper and the 2-3 weekly letters I have to write to my classmates on their writing, I haven’t written anything. This, despite my Two Pages! Declaration, which was the subject of my last post, oh these many weeks ago.

I haven’t blogged. I haven’t really even thought about writing. I haven’t wanted to write. I haven’t, to be honest, wanted to do much of anything. I’ve been watching TV, which only occasionally leaves me feeling as though my time has been well spent. I’ve been playing Cubis (addictive! evil! so irresistible!). I’ve been doing a lot of reading for my travel lit class, mostly excerpts from snotty British travel writers from the 18th and 18th centuries looking down their noses at the Greeks or the Turks.

I’ve been moping about this lack of creativity, lack of productivity, and my complete inability to use my time positively. I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve been staying up late and sleeping in. I’ve been going to a lot of coffee shops and not actually getting much done while sitting in them. I have been chalking this blah, uncreative period up to the fact that it’s my last semester in Boston and I just want to be done with school (this is true) and medical issues (don’t worry, nothing too serious) which have been leaving me feeling icky or going to doctors or calling doctors or stressing about doctors.

But these things, while probably not helping, are not the problem. This morning, I did something I haven’t done in a few weeks, which is read some of my favorite blogs. I was browsing one, and it hit me: I have been uninspired. I don’t actually know the woman who writes this blog, but I’ve been reading it off an on for a couple of years. She started an MFA program the same time I did at a school in the Bay Area. Anyway, I was reading her blog this morning and I realized she often writes about the things that inspire her or that she loves. I felt some affinity for her, and I recognized myself in some of the things she wrote. I suddenly felt inspired. And then I realized that I hadn’t been inspired for weeks and weeks. It’s weird how you don’t remember how something feels that you’ve lost until you have it back again. If that makes any sense.

Anyway, with all of this new inspiration, I am back here writing. And thinking about why I haven’t been inspired. I mean, you’d think being in a graduate program full of writers would inspire me, right? But it’s not really, at least not this semester. I am starting to feel burned out by the repetitive nature of workshops. From reading the above-mentioned blog and seeing the writerly conversations that occur there, I realized that while I have definitely benefited from many things about being in an MFA program, one disappointment is that I haven’t formed any close relationships with any of the writers in my program, only with the students who are studying publishing. I like my friends who are going into publishing. But I am missing that understanding that comes from friendships with other writers. I suppose that’s my own fault, but it’s also just the way things worked out. Who can explain why friendships form and when?

In any case, I am dreaming up more things to read, listen to, see, etc. to inspire me. After that comes motivation. I am about to head back to SF for a couple of weeks to take care of the aforementioned medical issues, so I am thinking that recuperation will include a lot of reading and, hopefully, writing.

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