D is for Distancing
by Lee St. Clair
April 15, 2020

I’ve been hard-pressed the last month… forcing myself to engage with this computer everyday has been a challenge. In fact I’ve started to write this “D is for Distancing” piece at least four or five times. I try to get going and plot out some words but I get so frustrated I walk away or hit the delete key. A rambling rant about this or sophisticated prose about that seems unimportant right now. Every morning I wake up to death numbers, nurses wearing garbage bags, toilet paper shortages and another palm to my forehead when I hear about last night’s Trump tweet. My projects are hanging like the blade of a guillotine. Shiny and glistening in the sunlight a few feet above the scrawny neck of my GPA… just waiting for the chance to drop. I know I’m not the only one feeling this. Emails and web meetings are the new norm and my house is now my studio. I’m muddling through for the most part but I’m realizing how important being on campus is, or was. Some of my best ideas were formed out of conversations with others during critiques or began life as a hallway chat I had with my professor. Here at home those conversations are with myself and trust me when I say this: I can take the piss right out of anything without much effort these days. I can turn my back on it, walk right out and in less time than it takes to type this grammatically incorrect sentence… I’m so gone I didn’t even hear the door slam. This isn’t like me and I know it, but I’m feeling uninspired and caged. So I go for a bike ride when I should be writing this. I go for a walk when I should be working on my zine project. I take a nap when I should be coating paper to make cyanotypes. I walk the dog when I should be writing songs. Then I do some laundry, which I hate. Then I help make dinner and before I know it the entire day has slipped away. Then I get mad at myself for not finishing anything and wasting time. Projects sit untouched and as I walk by them I feel distanced from them. How do I reconnect? How do I find the spark I’m lacking at the moment to pull an all night art marathon instead of going to bed early? How do I finish out this semester and feel good about the work I make instead of feeling like I’m just checking boxes in a mad scramble? How do I prepare for the fall semester? I feel like there’s a good chance UNCG will still be remote this fall so it’s time to adapt or die I guess. I’ll confess that I do a lot of my best work when I’m backed into a corner and right now I feel each shoulder blade starting to push into the drywall. So when is the reaction coming? Who knows, but it will. I always pull through and at the end of this jumbled up word mess, I know I will. It’s just that I have a ridiculously bad habit of making things harder than they need to be a lot of the time. Hopefully I’ll hit my “work at home” stride soon and put some distance between me and those old inclinations of mine. Until I do though, I’m gonna go for a bike ride and when I get back, I’ll make some dinner and then I’ll walk the dog and probably do some laundry.

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