Collecting Fireflies

I’m flolloping around in the doldrums of the wake of finishing my first draft.

There’s depression here. An aimless, impotent feeling. I’ve gone from working tirelessly on a singular project day in and day out to … well, not. To working on side projects, to taking a little time to refocus and rethink your goals for the next few months, and I’ve felt a little lost.

It’s a lull, to be sure; a haze as transient as the weather. Still, it sucks at the feet like a bog, a slow inevitable creep of inertia. I sit back wondering if I’ll be able to make myself do it again, if I can make myself go through another six month draft, another three month edit, a brand new project, a rehashing of an old one. And I don’t know! I really wonder if I have any more good ideas in me, any more stories waiting to be told, or if I’m deluding myself that the ones currently in the telling are worth the time I’ve spent on them. Maybe every idea has a bit of validity, but by the same token, every candle in the darkness gives off a little light. The hope, of course, is that I’m not a candle in the darkness, but a raging forest fire, or at least a cozy little bonfire around which some lucky individuals might sometime warm their hands and their hearts.

But these times of respite are important for the body, mind and soul. Because as I find myself not exhausting myself on a capital “P” Project, I find there’s a little more time in my day for thought, for aimless and okay-to-be-aimless writing, for reflection, for the cultivating of new ideas, for the reviewing of old ones.

I keep a little Evernote file for potential future story ideas. (If you’re not using some sort of brain-dump software like Evernote, you should be.) Some of them are just a couple of words, some are great sprawling paragraphs. Any time an idea strikes me (and ideas striking are about like neutrinos striking screens deep below the earth — they happen millions of times a second, but only incredibly rarely does matter actually contact matter and cause a reaction) I jot it down.

Well, today came one of those lightning flashes, so I reached for the old bottle. And while I was stuffing this particular lighting strike into the jar, I took a peek in there. And there were over a dozen little fireflies buzzing around in there, dinging off the walls; some with the reckless lunatic energy, some as massive and indomitable as barges.

So I feel a little bit better about the lull I’m in. It’ll pass soon enough, and it’ll be time to get back to work, catching more fireflies, stuffing them into my jar, selecting some for release back into the wild.

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