March 28th, 2010

A Threadbare Lament

Over the past year, I've felt my reservoir of words dry up with increasing frequency. That condition has been manifest on my blog, obviously, but now extends to other areas of my life. Sometimes the thought of having to converse with people I know is enough to dissuade me from going out. That's part of the reason why I'm attending fewer concerts. It's not just that my interest in music is waning -- though that has also been the case -- but that I dread the in-between spaces. I know this sounds like a pretty cut-and-dried state of depression -- it's the diagnosis I would probably offer if someone else informed me of such tendencies -- yet am not convinced that the term really fits my frame of mind.

Because I have spent so much of my adult life trying to make up for poor childhood training in social niceties, I perceive an obligation to do the work of adapting myself to others, to be public in a way that doesn't always align with my private sense of things. I think I've become reasonably good at managing to engage with people in group settings. Yet the burden of having to continue being good -- or whatever state I've attained -- seems increasingly weighty. I'm contemplating going on a long drive or hike tomorrow in the hopes of nurturing the solitude that I've been seeking in a place where it isn't imbued with the aura of dysfunction. I'm alone anyway this week, so I have the freedom to exit everyday routine for a spell without feeling guilty about it. The only thing I wonder is whether such a carefully pondered decision will achieve the same effects as a spontaneous one, like the all-night drive I made last month from Louisville to Washington D.C. Does acting on a long simmering desire for escape differ from opting to flee on a moment's notice?