Friday, May 14, 2010

Focus, Please! (or This Blog Isn't Dead, Just Napping)


Because it has been quite a while since my last post, I thought I'd grace my faithful readers with an update regarding recent events (or lack thereof) in my life.

Shortly after my first solo art exhibition (at the Adams Town Hall Gallery) opened at the beginning of April, I started feeling a bit tired of painting. I kept working on some new pieces after I hung the show, but I was having a difficult time committing to these projects. That's nothing new, but usually I could manage to paint even if I had trouble working on other creative projects. Lately, I haven't been able to motivate myself to write, compose, practice, doodle, or what have you.

In fact the only thing I have been able to focus on has been reading. Among other books, I've read Running with Scissors and Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs. I became interested in Burroughs by reading John Elder Robison's Look Me in the Eye. Both authors (who are brothers) had experiences and feelings that resonated with me. My family life was certainly not nearly as dysfunctional, but it had its moments. I don't have many happy memories from my childhood, and I constantly felt like a misfit (I had very little in common with my peers, so my friends were few and far between).

I devoured The Tipping Point, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell has a great ability to relate small things to a larger context and an ability to use seemingly disparate elements to reinforce a larger point. I never would have considered some of the pairings he makes, but they seem perfectly logical when viewed through his eyes. I sincerely hope he will publish another book soon.

Yesterday, I started The Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs, which is not only hilarious but brings back memories of the time I read a dictionary when I was a kid. Of course, it wasn't one of those fifty-pound hardcover dictionaries; it was a concise, flimsy paperback one. Needless to say, I forgot most of those words just after I learned them. Jacobs may have been motivated to write that book by the quest to accumulate all the knowledge of Encyclopedia Britannica, but I've personally found serious reference tomes quite stimulating. Without having a specific goal in mind, perusing random information can be quite exciting, a feeling I get when I wander around aimlessly in Barnes and Noble or in my local library.

For now I'll keep reading. Sooner or later, I'll have some ideas and regain my focus.

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