I have never been less productive as an artist than I am right now.
I was writing something in early March that excited me. It was the kind of groove that made me look forward to sitting down at the computer. When I was about halfway through the first draft, the pandemic hit and I dropped it like a hot rock.
Since then I have tried so many times to pick up where I left off. At first, I would re-read what I had written and not recognize it as my own work. That was alarming as hell, and I would shut the computer and rake the lawn.
As the weeks dragged on I worked my way up to re-reading everything with a view to continuing work, and I would get to the end and feel like everything was pointless, and I would shut my computer and go rake the lawn.
Our lawn looks great, by the way.
During all of this I have spent a lot of my time working with colleagues to defend and preserve our artistic institutions and the individuals that make them flourish, and that, given the urgency of the situation, seemed to make sense. It still does. It’s hard, but it comes to me easily.
But inside, the feeling of not being able to create something is a kind of shame that I didn’t know I was capable of. A great fear that I wouldn’t be able to get that feeling back ever again was something I wrestled with every day. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t. I didn’t even want to.
In the last week, It started to come back.
I don’t know why. I don’t even care. But I have written some things that aren’t awful. And I recognize the person who wrote them. And I’m ok with it. I’m not back to full speed. I’m still raking the lawn. But I know I can create something again.
I have never been less productive as an artist as I am right now.
And that’s fine.