Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

14 August 2006 @ 2pm

A Dearth of Inspiration

I’ve stared at this emp­ty box for more than twen­ty min­utes, just look­ing at it. I’ve exam­ined all these drafts I have float­ing around, but I feel they’re stale and old and use­less. Every but­ton above this text, where I can make all sorts of HTML mag­ic hap­pen: they’ve all been clicked and previewed.

I’ve been read­ing Jeff Har­rell’s excel­lent “Unti­tled” series. I’ve been wait­ing, refresh­ing, hop­ing every morn­ing that there’s anoth­er install­ment in the incred­i­bly dystopi­an sto­ry he’s writ­ten. It’s not dystopi­an, it’s worse. It’s ter­ror and pain and fear, raw emo­tions; dystopi­an to me means “soma” (a la Brave New World) and con­stant his­to­ry rewrit­ing by Big Broth­er’s min­ions. There’s noth­ing clean and san­i­tized about this.

By the way: his colophon alone makes my entire blog look like trash.

I’ve been work­ing on my home­page a good bit late­ly (read: star­ing at, refresh­ing, hop­ing bits will mag­i­cal­ly evolve into some­thing pret­ty). No, real­ly. Can’t you see it? I’ve put up three or four incred­i­ble designs. They just dis­ap­pear when any­one looks at them…

I thought, maybe, my lack of progress on the blog was my inabil­i­ty to write. I then real­ized, “Wait, I can form most­ly com­plete, gra­mat­i­cal­ly cor­rect sen­tences. That’s more than 90% of Live­Jour­nal and Xan­ga can man­age…” Then I start­ed to blame it on my time man­age­ment: “I nev­er have time to write!” But I’ve stared at the Word­Press tool­bar for 20 min­utes. I’ve got all the time in the world.

I’m a bit chal­lenged in the Depart­ment of Men­tal Focus. I bounce from idea to idea, one respon­si­bil­i­ty to anoth­er, just wan­der­ing in search of some­thing easy to do. In the time it took me to write that sen­tence, I had four dis­tinct thoughts:

  1. I need to sign up for intra­mur­al ten­nis for the fall semester.
  2. I’m glad I got my car inspect­ed today.
  3. Hm. When will I get an oil change and my tires rotat­ed and balanced?
  4. Jade’s not due into the vet until…November?

I have a ter­ri­ble time pay­ing atten­tion to any­thing. But this is noth­ing new: I’ve been cop­ing (enjoy­ing, real­ly) with it since I was young.

In a nut­shell, my lack of abil­i­ty in design, writ­ing, or any­thing cre­ative (bar­ring per­haps pho­tog­ra­phy) stems from a lack of inspi­ra­tion. When I see an emp­ty Pho­to­shop win­dow, a blank desk­top, a prop­er­ly marked-up HTML doc­u­ment with no CSS, I don’t dream of fan­cy text over­lays and beau­ti­ful typog­ra­phy with ban­ners and image back­grounds and nice margins.

I think, “Wow, that’s dull,” and I move on.

How do you make any­thing beau­ti­ful if noth­ing inspires you to a high­er form? I’m spin­ning my wheels in a rut of mediocre appear­ances and lack­ing ideas.