Monday, July 02, 2007

Cycles and epiphanies

As the years roll by and I get older, I begin to notice more and more how parts of my life run in cycles. Reading, for examples, runs on a cycle. For weeks or months at time I won't read anything except web sites and occasional newspapers. And then suddenly I'll pick up a novel and I'll be a reader for a period of weeks or months, devouring the first book I picked up, and then another, and then another, and then another, sometimes even going out of my way to buy a batch of books because I've run out of stuff to read.

And then as quickly as it started, it'll stop again -- no reading.

My writing tends to work in the same way. For a period of weeks or months I'll be desperately passionate about some new piece of writing, and I'll work on it constantly -- sometimes every night, if things are going particularly well, but at least every second or third night.

And then, almost out of blue, I'll hit a period of burnout. I wouldn't touch the book if my life depended on it. I fill my free time with movies, video games, and mindless web surfing. And I'll go on like this for weeks at a time.

Inevitably, though, I'll begin to feel guilty about these time-wasters. I'll begin to feel the untouched book actually starting to die from neglect, and I'll put the games and the movies and the web down and get back to work again.

I got back to work tonight.

I tried to play some video games, but they just didn't hold any appeal to me. I sat on the sofa and I stared at the Xbox and Wii and I knew that they weren't going to provide any enjoyment. But I tried anyway. Fifteen minutes on this game, fifteen minutes on that one, but nothing. The book beckoned.

I should have seen it coming. I've been sitting on the edge of something not-so-pleasant for the last few days. Not a depression, exactly, but I haven't been terribly upbeat either. I felt, in fact, like I was on the verge of an epiphany, and it didn't feel like a terribly good one.

Epiphanies come in all shapes and sizes. And, I think, differing levels of clarity. This one was vague. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was, but it stirred up some memories, made me question what I'd been doing with my time lately, and made feel -- once again, because this is something I've felt quite often -- that my life is filled almost entirely with mistakes.

I felt the overwhelming need to change something significant about my life. But I didn't know exactly what.

So without any clear indicator of what needed to be changed, I wrote. Because that was something I could change, and is always something worth changing -- doing a bit more work is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, that feeling -- the feeling that somethings significant needs to change -- remains. Which leaves me little choice but to flail around trying to figure out what it is, hoping that either the answer finally arrives, the feeling leaves me in peace.

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