I am unmotivated today.

I got some stuff done, mostly small, got two and a half pages written on Black Dogs (which sounds almost inconsequential to me, but I dunno how much writers write a day anyway. It seems like I used to get more done, but if so, it wouldn’t have taken me four years to write four hundred pages. So maybe that was fine.) Got the majority of a Digger done. Did a little work on a painting, hardly any, and as much as I liked the sketch when I started, now that there’s a wash or two on there, I find the fires of enthusiasm have largely guttered out. They may re-ignite. I took a longer nap than usual today, suffered through dreams of gigantic, chitin-encrusted beetles the size of dinner plates, their carapaces elaborate and whorled and dirty, like a baroque calliope that’s seen better days. They sound sort of neat, described that way, but they were pretty freaky, crawling around on a concrete floor, occasionally spreading their shell cases and flying. Some of them were so large that there were other, more conventional beetles, like broad cockroaches, perched on their backs, two and three to a baroque beetle. I didn’t know whether I wanted to run screaming or take a photo. Then I realized that one had crawled up the back of my chair, and I could actually feel the legs brushing against my neck, and woke myself up with a twitch.

More weird birds in my dreams. The other night, it was some kind of duck that looked like it had been crossed with one of those giant alligator snapping turtles, the ones that look less like turtles and more like gigantic eels hunting from a conveniently mobile rock. The duck had an extremely broad head, and a violet-pink organ of some sort on the end of its bill, sort of like a starnosed mole, but…err…not quite. See, I remember these things, but I cannot draw them. It’s like an out of focus photograph, with one or two clear spots, but most of the whole just isn’t there. Once upon a time I was frustrated that I couldn’t remember these things from my dreams–they seemed like they would make such fabulous paintings, and yet, I could never get it right. Now I realize that they probably weren’t actually realized in my dreams–I haven’t forgotten key details, my brain just never bothered to make them up in the first place. I am probably remembering what was there fairly clearly, but the illusion of complexity shreds when I wake up. In some ways, it’s easier to write–I can describe this all, hit only the high points, and there it is, an alligator-snapping-duck. If I had to paint it, I would have to not only create the parts that weren’t in the dream, but make them somehow fit the vague, blurry shapes of the dream, which is nearly impossible. Probably there are some artists out there, surrealists more likely, who can accurately paint the architecture of dreams. At this point in time, I’m not one of ’em.

Anyway, despite having gotten some things done, I feel as if I have been spectacularly unproductive. Then I feel guilty. Then I have no motivation to do anything to assuage the guilt. Then I feel guilty for not being motivated. Then I feel mildly annoyed for wallowing in guilt.

Eventually, I tell myself to shut up and read a book. So it all works out.

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