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What Now?

There’s been a mighty lot of silence on my end here, and though I wish I could ascribe it to being terribly, terribly busy, that is simply not the case. Continuing issues with the manuscript have left me feeling utterly stagnant, inspiration-free, and — while I hesitate to use the D-word, there’s undoubtedly a big chunk of that at work here, too. In the face of mounting evidence that the project I spent the better part of the last eight years on may never see the light of day — or, may see it, but not in the form that I’m still pretty unreasonably cathected onto — I’ve been left completely stalled-out, unable to see why I should bother writing if I’m working in a field about which no one cares, least of all me.

Of course, as soon as I write all of that out, it begins to seem ridiculous, histrionic, self-dramatizing. Honestly, if I were never to write (or publish) another piece of academic criticism again, it would hardly be a disaster. The main issue is to figure out what I want to do, and then to decide how to go about it.

That I cannot figure out what I want to do — that nothing seems quite right, or quite possible — is the thing that keeps leading me to contemplate depression. I want very much to resist the suggestion that something like that could be at the root of what’s bugging me right now, in part out of a sense of been-there-done-that (fairly big depression many years ago; several years of therapy; problem solved!), and in part because I want to believe that, since work got me into this mess, work can get me out of it.

I’m taking a little time off from attempting to write, as an experiment, and immersing myself in some reading, hoping that I’ll remember why I picked this field and why I thought I had something useful to say about it. I may record some of the process here, if there’s something that I either feel is worth sharing or is something I’d like to remember.


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