I am also having trouble getting back into the mode where theoretical speculation comes easy. During the holidays, I found myself shying away from all reading -- exhaustion and an excess of sugar being the likely culprits -- but especially the sort of dense, philosophical prose that normally inspires me to avoid taking the world too superficially. I'm starting to think that my decision to post a piece to Zeek every week, rather than every other week as I had originally proposed, is having a deleterious effect on my mind. I have talked with "real" journalists who bemoan the difficulty of navigating in deeper waters when they have several deadlines each week. Am I suffering the same problem on a timeline that most of them would have regarded as a vacation?
Another struggle involves the resentment that I've had difficulty keeping at bay lately. Although I have long prided myself on the ability to perform "invisible labor" on behalf of people I care about, I suddenly find myself periodically flooded with bad feelings when I think about how much time I've spent doing work that only I will ever be able to quantify in full. While I am happy for the people I have helped, that experience of vicarious pleasure is increasingly overwhelmed by a brand of self-loathing, rooted in the conviction that my life would be a hell of a lot better if I'd pursued my own interests with a tenth of the energy with which I promoted those of others.
And then there is the frustration I feel at not being able to make a firm decision about how I want to develop my career as a writer. If I am no longer satisfied doing assignments to assist ventures that seem sure to push me into the margins, what do I wish to pursue instead? I am confident in my ability to craft a variety of sentences, but lack a clear sense of how that repertoire might be collectively mobilized to a single end. I have plenty of ideas, mind you, but am having a terrible time committing to any of them.
Well, that's enough complaining for today. I had considered discussing my more earthy vexations as well, but think it best to continue keeping that part of my life private -- or at least only obliquely public -- for the time being. For one thing, I continue to deem it possible that if I can finally turn the corner and begin doing the work that I value most and for which I am most likely to be valued, the personal challenges I have faced in recent years will eventually fade away. Then again, I once thought it probable, so some of the sea ice on which my external façade secretly floats is starting to rumble. One of the few friends in whom I feel comfortable confiding insists that it's just a matter of time until I find myself on an iceberg cast adrift on the high seas. I don't yet want to agree with that conclusion, but am starting to wonder whether my resistance to entertaining it isn't the source of all my other struggles.