Recently something awful happened. I became ensnared by something I simply refer to as: “The Funk”. The Funk is a terrible, terrible thing. It’s not tied to anything so delightful and buoyant as the thrumming beat of funkadelic jazz. The Funk as I know it harkens back to the older meaning of the word. That great yawning abyss of empty futile hopelessness. I’m not depressed. Oh no, life’s just about as grand as it gets for me right now. This mood that’s gripped me is something pertaining more exclusively to the creative arts. It’s something quite different to writer’s block. Writer’s block is a situation where despite wanting to, you can’t think of anything to write. The Funk is something of the inverse; having plenty ideas to write about, but not the will to do so.
It’s that horrible lingering ennui you get when everything seems a bit pointless. That sense of weary listlessness you get when you wonder if it’s all just a great, big, steaming crock of shit. It’s taken a fantastic head of steam just to bring myself to write what you see here. The mood for writing has truly deserted me this day. The problem with this state of mind is that it’s fickle and capricious; as with all things in the world of words. It’s like being becalmed at sea or in a land stricken with drought. It happens. There’s not a great deal you can do about it (unless you happen to have an outboard motor or a deep ground aquifer handy) and you’ve got no idea how long it’ll last. You’ve just got to wait patiently. But waiting is tedious and dull. The fact you can’t bring yourself to write then boils into an anger and perhaps an escape, or more often than not a slump into an even darker abyss of ennui. Sliding deeper into the Funk’s Stygian warren.
In this particular instance I lay the blame at the foot of exhaustion. Not proper exhaustion mind you. Not the sort where you lie down and announce to the world “Shit guys! I can’t get up!” or at least you would if you could bring yourself to speak. Nor the sort of exhaustion where you look in your mine and go “Fuck. Where’s all the coal gone?” It’s more of a creative exhaustion. A fortnight ago I blasted through to the end of my latest short story about our good friend Mr. Callis. So feeling all warm and fuzzy I thought I was well deserving of a nice little break, so I took one. I think that was the problem. I stopped. It’s lead me to the conclusion that my writing is somewhere between running over swampy ground and a swimming shark; everything’s fine until you stop. Then you start to sink. Or in the case of the shark, die. Which is somewhat towards the extreme end of the spectrum. It’s only a metaphor though, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a little bit off the mark. Sometime’s that’s half the point with metaphors. Also everyone loves sharks. Sharks are cool.
But for now I’ll have to wait for The Funk to leave of its own accord, like an unwanted house guest that you’re too polite to tell to just fuck off. Eventually the winds will pick up and the rains will come. Hopefully without the need for killing albatrosses or silly dancing.