I have dayjob tasks today and I know there will be drag marks on my way to doing them. So I started the morning with pledging to Terri Windling's brand new Patreon page. If you are a fantasy reader you would have heard of her and likely read some of her works. Do give her page a visit and see if her magic-making is something you would like to help become in the world. ^_^
I am slowly recovering from a two-week slide into a spirit & energy slump. I have not been entirely unproductive but I could have done more if I were strong enough to fight through the fog of exhaustion and quiet despair. In any case, as in all cases, I had to pull myself out of it, and I fear I'm running out of tricks to trick myself.
Sometimes though, I suspect that the slump-time is my self shutting down on its own to go on a retreat, and then return bearing gifts (sort of). Like when I was finally able to sit down in the studio again without wanting to cry and run away, the solutions to problems I have been trying to figure out presented themselves with minimum fuss. Complex tasks became simple. The scarcity which has been the root of many of my challenges receded in the background as work-arounds and reinventions came to the fore.
One example is the 100-day project (which I still have to catch up on, and will do this week). I have been meaning to post the first batch of original pieces on my Etsy shop except that I could no longer afford to buy enough frames for all of them (which I had intended when I first decided to do the project). But then the simmering slump brought me the idea of just making the frames in the simplest way possible (I googled DIYs but they were still too complex so my brain worked out its own method that is more third-world-friendly). I ended up with being able to put the paintings in a pretty-enough frame that cost very little in terms of materials, effort, and time. It will also be easier on the shipping too because the materials are light.
I will admit I felt a bit sad not being able to frame the paintings more "properly", like in wood and glass. But now is not yet the time to be able to that. And surely I cannot let it stop a project or compromise a creative work.
Now, this small solution for the small art has planted a seed of solution for the bigger art. One of my challenges is to frame all the paintings I want to put in the Exhibit and if I can't yet afford frames for the small ones, what more the big ones? Yet here is a way to work with the limitation of funds, and still allow me to move forward with the exhibit without looking too shabby about it.
The slump session also, apparently, has been working on my Sketchbook Project theme. It's still raw but the basic bones of it are there. Won't share it publicly yet but when I've started sketching I'll share the process and progress. My blank sketchbook is still on its way to me. I hope it arrives safely.
Warming up from the slump led me to restarting with small artful things, which in this case turned out to be bookmarks that I will also post on Etsy. I believe I already have a customer waiting for them, which is a pleasant surprise and for which I am eternally grateful. ^_^
One more thing before I close this post. Being in a slump somehow also releases inhibitions. Like when you get so emotionally worked up that you start saying or doing things you would not normally say or do if you were in better control of yourself and had better confidence in things. Being in a slump makes me feel like I've nothing much to lose and so might as well express a few things out loud, or out online as in the case of introverts like me. One such small rant triggered a response from a friend who is a follower, and the response offered a solution. It has something to do with being able to publish my poetry book into a larger audience. I still suck on the art of asking and this unexpected turn is certainly something I would not have dared to ask for. So, dear friend, you know who you are, thank you for opening up a possibility. ^_^
Hence despite the seeming stagnation that a slump is, perhaps I can start looking at it as also necessary to the process. I may not like its symptoms, and it may quite a pain to go through it, but Things are happening beneath and between the silence and the emptiness, beneath and between the fatigue and the frustration. It all goes back to trusting my own process, and perhaps slumps are a crucial part of it after all. It is nothing to hate or be ashamed of. It does not make me worthless or lazy or useless. Yes it is something to endure, but it can help bring about the things to celebrate.