I’ve been bored recently. That kind of boredom were nothing seems right, nothing is worth doing. Even when I know I could do things. I could write my book or a short story, I could read, I could even watch something on Netflix or anything. It’s just that it feels like I can’t keep still and focus on those things. On anything. David Foster Wallace, my favourite writer, talked about boredom a lot and linked it with depression. I think he used that in Infinite Jest, mainly as a joke (that’s what I loved about his writing, it could be the most severe malposition but it doesn’t matter as long as it’s funny). His last book, The Pale King, went more into this and he wrote: “If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.” It’s an absolute anchor to be bored.
I took up drawing recently because I suppose it’s easier to think of something than when writing. I have one of those ‘Hemingway’ Moleskin diaries that a friend got for me when I left my job last September. I didn’t use it all this time because I guessed it was expensive and didn’t want to ruin it with crap. Anyway, I got bored one day and went for a walk. I live near a beach (not as Hollywood as you’d think, it’s kind of dirty) and it was really cold. I sat on a bench and thought I’d doodle the ducks there. I’m not much of a drawer but I found it relaxing and I made some notes so I guess I was still writing. I walked up to where the beach is and there was just a constant wind up there for some reason. I sat on a ledge and drew the railings in front of me and the beach. There were a few people walking dogs. My hand got numb and I walked again.
It’s really difficult to think of anything new sometimes. I have a small collection of short stories I hope to get published soon. I’ve been trying to get my novel published for a while now but I guess it has to go through some rejections first. That’s how it works, right? Because of this, I’ve been working on older pieces of writing just so I’m not thinking of new ideas. One of them was meant to be a large sized novel – I’d written about 60,000 words and it was only halfway. I wrote another 10,000 and put it aside again. It’s just a pain in the ass to not have things finished, but the thought of spending ages working on it only to be told No, it’s not getting published really stops me in my tracks and makes me think it’s pointless.
My girlfriend is good at writing scripts. We were working on a TV show together. She likes comedy, I like drama. So we mixed it up. We decided to use this idea I had from my old job and made it into a dark comedy but we had a disagreement on one of the scenes at the start. Then that put us both off the thought of it. We’ll write it. We’re quite ambitious and I think we’ve got some good ideas and she’s good at putting screenplays together anyway.
Recently, she and I went to Manchester to see Augustana at The Deaf Institute, which was a great little venue. I was really impressed as well. Especially with the Dylanesque harmonica-on-neck-bracket bit. The next morning, while waiting for her in the shower, I decided to draw while in bed. I’d been reading Keith Richards’ autobiography and he mentioned, I think it was Charlie Watts, who liked to draw hotel rooms. So I just drew what was in front of me. I don’t know, I suppose there are always going to be ups and downs, but it helps to avoid the boredom – the anodyne days – just try and do what you love doing and stop thinking too much. Even if it seems pointless, it’s not, because you’re finding enjoyment out of it. And if you work hard at it and enjoy it, everything else will fall into place.