Not Today

This summer, I was so excited when I joined The Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. I spent hours brainstorming, listing, visualizing, drafting.

Earlier this week, I stopped by the art store to pick up some paper and glue. I figure if I assemble my collages and glue them in, I won’t need to worry about ruining the book.

The guy working behind the counter was adorable: cheerful, energetic, handsome. He asked me what I work with generally.

“Oh! I have no answer to that question. I’m just — I — I joined the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project. And so — I’m — I’ve got this paper and glue because I’m afraid I’ll–”

“Don’t be afraid. Just have fun.”

He gave me a marker. So sweet.


Yesterday and today, I sat down with my supplies and my new marker. Just pulling my art stuff from random corners of the apartment reminds me of how disorganized I am beneath the surface. I have so much useless crap stored away that needs to be thrown out.

I’m miserable.

I remember what it feels like to create, to communicate with images, to get lost in the process, but something’s going on with me right now and I just can’t seem to find my way there. I feel cut off from my best self.

My negative voices are super loud, super rude, super strong.

Forty three years old, under-employed, hungover, low energy, playing with markers and scissors as if what I make will add up to anything.

I ate dessert four times this week. What is wrong with me? Who am I? Where am I going?

It’s not supposed to be like this. None of it was supposed to be like this.

I thought I’d push through and just get one page done. If only I could get started, it would be better.

But then the kitten girls joined me and suddenly it was too crowded.

I’ll have to try again another time.



12 thoughts on “Not Today

  1. I’m feeling the same way. I like the way you wrote about it: My negative voices are super loud, super rude, super strong. (I also like the comment about dessert).

    I’m feeling like my moods has partially to do with the change in weather and season. The rainy days are upon us and I’m feeling a bit rainy too.

    I hope the art project goes again another day.

    1. Thanks so much, iRun. Sometimes I try to talk myself out of writing mopey posts like this, but then I rationalize that perhaps someone else will take solace in their own moods knowing they aren’t alone.

      I’m not giving up on that damn sketchbook….I’ll post pics when some progress happens. Thanks for your encouragement.

  2. No worries, inspiration will come! Last year I participated in the project too and although I planned to work on two pages every week and to spread the creative work, I only managed to do a lot at the very last moment. And at that very last moment (during a long night, in which my dinner table and part of my living room looked like a studio), just before the deadline, I got in a flow and even changed the very little things that I created already. At 3 am in the morning, I was satisfied: I did it and was pretty pleased with the result.

    This year’s sketchbook arrived rather recently and is now lying next to me. I do have some ideas but just wait until the ‘right’ ideas cross my mind and I know it will happen! Maybe it’s a good idea to have a little notebook with you all the time: often inspiration comes on moments we are outside, walking or enjoying a book, having a cup of tea accompanied by the delight of silence …

    Can’t wait to see how this project will evolve … Good luck!!

    1. Oh, how wonderful that you’ve done the project as well, and that you’re doing it again! Did you have your sketchbook digitized? I would love to see it. Thanks for your suggestion. I do keep an idea journal — and have narrowed the scope of what I will do with this particular project. It’s going to be dark (and hopefully funny at the same time). x

      1. I would love to see your former sketchbook as well! Mine has been digitized but you can see it also on my blog. These are the links:
        I do have an idea for this year, but it’s still growing … We could support each other!

        1. I love your book! It’s so cohesive. Thanks for the links. This is my first year doing the project. I signed up for the category memoir – and will be focusing on childhood memories. Teaser: Age 3 — I hit a baby. :) I did. I was a little brute, apparently.

  3. I know you know this, of course, but the writing teacher in me can’t help it: create something. Anything. It doesn’t have to be good. But you can’t wait for inspiration. You have to create it. By writing. By producing. By failing. Then, you’ll have something to work with.

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