I was talking with someone the other day, a fellow artist, about what they were up to creatively. They described a long drawn out "winter process," caught somewhere between languishing (thx NYT) and malaise. There were glimmers of ideas percolating, but then they'd slip back underground and out of sight. There was something like grief that came up between the cracks now and then. There were seeds of hope... small visions for the future. But then again, perhaps these seeds were just shadows of things that used to be: past selves masquerading as the future in some twisted slight-of-hand that only old Winter knows how to dole out, forcing us to take another deep, long look inside. My friend talked about the possibility of possibilities, but the overall feeling they described was one of intermediary unknowing. I knew what she was talking about.
It's the Winter Slump – otherwise known as the wide unending field of immobility that underpins our minds, bodies, and spirits during this time of year. I’m feeling it too, and well, it can feel like hell. I have to keep reminding myself it’ll pass, that there's always a way out that appears at some point. But some days – as happens every year – I forget where the door is. Please someone point me to the door. WHERE'S THE ****ING DOOR?!?!??
This month’s offerings are for anyone who might also be looking for a door – be it out, through, or within. In the spirit of reframing listlessness as a creative act of radical boredom, I’m sharing a few things that get my wheels turning, even when I forget I have them. If nothing else, they may simply help soften the edges of these midwinter hours. What if the entire point right now is to wander aimlessly? To come up with your greatest ideas and then do nothing about them? To release yourself from any internal expectations and just be exactly where you are? The Winter Slump is honestly the worst, but it’s also a blessing if you can make yourself at home there. At least that’s what I’m telling myself ♡
Intentions this month were clear: intentions are, for the time being, dead to me. I added any song that gave me pleasure in the moment, and this is what emerged. Tired of winter? Pop this on in your car or while you ride the train through layers of gray and see what happens... at the very least they'll be a new companion to the last dark days as we collectively wait for the clocks to change.
Old haunts live inside in this music video for the title track of my record, Following the Light. Created in another era altogether, I slapped the song behind this video in a fit of creative exasperation and somehow it just works. Thank you, Winter Slump. Maybe new isn't always better, you seem to say. In any case, I've always loved this project and I hope you do too ♡
Burnt out on your own fishbowl process? Lacking motivation to even try anymore? Existential dread got ya down? Maybe these interviews are for you. It's a series of short and readable artist talks about their process, struggles, and mindset hacks. NOT a self-improvement thing... just real stories abt the good, the bad, and the ugly of making / making meaning. Kickstarter puts it out (I'm not affiliated, just sharing bc I dig it), and if you sign up here you can get a new short, readable interview dropped in your inbox each morning. I find it grounding to read first thing, and it often lifts me out the Slump just a little, which seems to count for a lot. If you're sick of thinking about yourself and your own ideas, try these on for size!
Again, this is just something I enjoy and has been keeping me company this winter. It's not new, it's just good, and musicians or audiophiles will surely enjoy it. From their website: "Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. Each episode is produced and edited by host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway in Los Angeles. Using the isolated, individual tracks from a recording, Hrishikesh asks artists to delve into the specific decisions that went into creating their work. Hrishikesh edits the interviews, removing his side of the conversation and condensing the story to be tightly focused on how the artists brought their songs to life." – Listening to others break down their creative and technical processes is, to me, both soothing and inspiring. It's a reminder that even when it doesn't feel like it, something can indeed come from nothing. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or the Song Exploder website.
Sending you all permission to languish and love it,