The State of the Thing*

Well hello there.

I haven't blogged in a long time. I mean, we all know this. Some (very kind) people have asked me to write something, and I promise you: I've thought about it. I've even tried! But I've been a bit preoccupied and also, if I'm being honest, a bit uninspired. But a very wise friend said to me once that creativity comes in seasons. There are times when we are in full bloom and can create and produce beautiful things at a remarkable pace. Then there are other seasons where our creativity lies dormant, and we can use this time to rest and nourish ourself, until we are able to start making things again.

So that's where I've been. Dormant.

There are a few reasons I've not been writing. The first is quite practical: my new apartment. The place I moved into last November ended up being an absolute nightmare. I don't have the time or the energy - or the bandwidth - to detail all the problems I had. A fresh hell arose every week with something in my apartment, or with the property management company, or with the building as a whole. A small sampling of what I had to deal with:
  • my apartment was over 35 degrees in early January; 
  • the fire alarm went off for two days straight; 
  • I nearly ended up in a legal battle over road salt; and 
  • several building-mates had face-to-face encounters with bats.
The good news is that I've since moved to an apartment I love in a fantastic neighbourhood. But in order to get out of my first lease, I spent the past six months becoming an expert on Ottawa bylaws and landlord-tenant laws. I spent hours and days reading through legal text, talking to other tenants in the building, and looking up bat sounds on YouTube to verify if the noise I had been hearing in the walls all winter was, indeed, bats (still unsure about this one).

The second reason I haven't felt particularly inspired is that I think I've been in recuperation mode. If you read my last few blog posts, you know that 2015 was a really difficult year. I felt emotionally raw, and I spent most of last year in survival mode. And while the past six months have certainly done their best to challenge me, I also feel like I've had the time for self care. I've read a bit, and watched lots of documentaries. I purged a lot of my makeup and clothing. I went to the doctor and got a prescription for orthotics. I made a commitment to use up all the food in my fridge before it goes bad, so I've been spending a lot of time with recipe books. I adopted a cat named Benedict Cumbercat, and he brings me more joy than I could've predicted. I'm seeing a counsellor who makes me feel very calm. I've been listening to lots of podcasts - some on faith, some about storytelling, others about justice and truth.

I didn't really realise it until now, but I guess the past few months have been my pruning period. I needed some time to rub some balm on my soul, let it lie fallow.

But I've been feeling reinvigorated lately, and I'm inspired to start writing again. I've been working on a novel sporadically for a little while, but it's laid pretty much untouched for months; I'm getting excited about it again, and have begun working on it. I have a few blog posts that I've been tinkering with, and I'm writing another article or two for publication in online magazines. I've also decided to start bullet journalling, which I hope will help me organise my thoughts so I can actually build on little threads of ideas before they disappear from my mind.

I've also been thinking a lot about the future in a way I haven't really had the luxury of doing before. I am finally in a state of mind to be able to think about what my life might look like in the long term - the sort of work I want to be doing, and how I can achieve it. I've spent some time thinking and planning for the next three- to five years, and it's been exciting for me to actually be able to envision the things I want beyond the immediate future.

(I realise this all sounds very vague, but I'm hesitant to share details on my public blog. Not right now. These plans feel very intimate, in a way; I feel like I'm following direction from my very soul. Right now, I'm enjoying just ruminating on it and being hopeful.)

To conclude this very circa 2010 blog post, I'm just going to throw in a list of things I've been enjoying over the past few months, because why not?
  • I loved the book (and the documentary of the same name) Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. Scientology is scary and fascinating and insanely complex, and Wright does a spectacular job exposing and explaining. It's one of the best books I've read in a very long time.
  • I've been watching YouTuber Casey Neistat a lot over the past two months. He's made a video every single day since March 25, 2015. At first I hated him because I thought he worked too much and never saw his family, but I've grown to really enjoy his daily vlogs.
  • Aloe juice. Delicious.
  • I've been trying to eat better the past month, so I've replaced chips with Goldfish crackers, and I almost can't tell the difference. (Almost.)
  • I've cut back on the amount of makeup I wear daily, and I often go out without any on at all. I'm loving the freedom of being able to rub my face without fear of Panda eyes.
See you all back here soon,
Jill

* The title is a reference to the emails I get monthly from the website Library Thing, which are called "The State of the Thing." I never read those emails.

Comments

Read this and thought of the recent Oatmeal comic on creativity: https://www.theoatmeal.com/comics/creativity I totally agree that you need to take the time to "breathe in" so you can breathe out all sorts of creative goodness!
It is wonderful that this kind of problem went only benefit. It seems to me that you have been to devote much more time to your lifestyle.
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