Hoping for inspiration in Anaheim

I had a great two-week vacation (discussed briefly here), sorely needed after two years without a real vacation. Didn’t do any writing (didn’t have a computer). Other than checking on work email every couple of days, didn’t do anything involving the web or computers. Read seven books–three nonfiction, four fiction–and three SF magazines. Saw lots of glorious scenery. And so on…

One off note maybe told me something: For the first week, every night I was having truly boring and irritating dreams–”procedural dreams” that went on and on, not nightmares–and they all involved the workplace (a composite of the few places I’ve worked full time). The second week, not so much.

Got back, refreshed in body–but still a little down, both in energy and (more important) in inspiration. Not so much as to be hopeless, but enough to be tired and to find it tiresome. The last two-three days, I could use the unseasonable heat as an excuse, but “excuse” is the right word. (Looks like the hot spell has subsided; we’re back to the mid- to high 70s from the mid to high 90s, and supposed to stay there for a week+..)

I think I know what’s going on. The dreams are a clue. I’m finally processing last year–what happened and what didn’t. I learned a lot about the worth of two careers, the library systems one and the writing one. ALA Annual 2007 was in some ways a defining moment, and that was probably unfortunate.

At the time, I was involved with enough different projects and enough ongoing ideas that momentum carried me for a long time. The challenges of a new editing gig helped as well (and the PALINET Leadership Network continues to be worth my time and your attention).

So it took a while for it all to sink in. I think–I hope–that’s happened. I hope–I believe–it will start getting better. For the moment, though, there’s sort of a lull. It’s partly timing. It’s partly inspiration. It’s partly, to be honest, thinking about impact and reality–wondering whether the work is still worth it, and particularly whether any ambitious ideas are good ideas or just plain stupidity. This is a complicated area, one I might (or might not) write about between now and ALA.

I’m hoping ALA Annual 2008 will mark a turning point, that I’ll emerge with more inspiration and recovered energy. Maybe just as a milestone; maybe because ALA can be inspiring in its own odd ways. Based on past experience, I assume that this, too, will pass. If not, of course, there’s plenty of time to think about what does make sense for the future. I’ve always said I’d keep writing (and, when invited, speaking) as long as people continued to be interested in what I have to say. Raw numbers suggest you still are, although there are fewer links and comments than in the past–but that formulation leaves out one other “as long as”: “and as long as I’m still inspired to write.”

See you in Anaheim? Say Hi. I’m terrible with names and still an introvert, but I’m almost always approachable and ready to chat. And if I seem to be in a hurry…that’s just the way I walk, and shouldn’t carry any deeper meaning.

5 Responses to “Hoping for inspiration in Anaheim”

  1. bowerbird Says:

    > there are fewer links and comments than in the past

    people are starting to experience blog-overload all over.

    -bowerbird

  2. walt Says:

    True enough.

  3. Dorothea Salo Says:

    I think the malaise you describe is going around among librarians. I’ve got it. You’ve got it. I know one or two other folks who have it.

    With luck, we’ll figure something out.

  4. David Wright Says:

    Ah, Walt – I feel your pain, feeling at kind of a low ebb myself lately, for professional reasons not be visited here.

    I wonder if this isn’t partly symptomatic of the American way of work. If you think about it, among postindustrial nations, we’re one of the few who would think a couple weeks off was something noticeable, let alone unusual. I bet after a couple of MONTHS off, you’d be feeling refreshed and feisty and dying to get back to the good fight.

  5. walt Says:

    Except that I don’t work full time anyway. And, frankly, I can’t imagine taking two months without writing… well, yes, I can imagine it, but I’m not sure I’d start in again.

    I do notice that, even in a malaise, I’m getting stuff done. Just not as inspired or energetic as I should be.


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