Haven't been writing much the past few... weeks? Months, really. This time, it hasn't been because I've been too busy - actually, the other way around. It's been too lonely. Quiet. I wouldn't call it a sinking spiral of depression or anything like that - there have been good times, happy moments - but most of the time, I've just been sort of going along, existing. Eating because it's time for lunch. Working because I knew I should be trying to do something useful. But no fire, almost no passion, no spark... I woke up in the mornings for days in a row and didn't jump up and do something I was inspired about, with the exception of last weekend's workshop at CCSCNE.

That was - is - terrifying. Life was no longer in Technicolor. Life was... normal. Dull. My god, was this what happened to adults - was this what it felt like when the world just got to be another thing, not because you fought something and lost, because you'd at least then have something you believed in, tried for - but because you never tried at all? It's like a quiet, subtle fog - nothing's quite wrong, you're doing stuff, but... where was the Mel I liked, the happy one that saw all sorts of possibilities in everything, the one that ran around and saw things and learned things and was inspired by people and kept on growing? I felt like I'd stopped growing, had stopped learning, didn't know quite how to start again. Once in a while - getting and writing emails from old friends, my last few posts on language learning - that spark would sputter up... and then it would die. I wasn't sure what was happening to me. I'm still not. But I'm not happy about it - I've become boring.

Temporarily, that is. You can't fix a bug until it's reported - sitting around feeling sorry for myself and moping is dumb and won't get me anywhere. (Sebastian phrased this somewhat more tactfully last night, but the underlying "stop moping and go do something about it" message is still true.)

Let me try this - what have I been inspired by lately?

  • Diana Kimball writing her heart out about the collision of random ideas she's come across, sharing music that's touched her lately.
  • Sumana Harihareswara getting out there and starting her standup comedy performances again. 
  • Matt Ritter's attempt to restart the Action Trumps Everything alumni network - I'm poking around on Facebook for the first time in a while now.
  • Erin Dowd and George Jemmott and language-hacking - it's wonderful to find people just playing around with this stuff too!
  • Andrea Lai's future adventures in New Zealand biotech. My friends go to some pretty cool places. :)
  • The seemingly inexhaustible ability of Leslie Hawthorn to attend and speak at events one after the other and still stay atop blogging and email. I need to lower my standards for replies - a fast, imperfect answer is better than a perfect one that never comes, or comes late. Really, Mel. Really.
  • Asheesh Laroia's ability to keep hacking on the front lines while keeping up the sort of travel/speaking schedule I would love to get back into again.
  • Sacha's experiments with doing her talks online, remotely... actually, I might want to try doing that - classes mean my ability to physically travel will be restricted, but why should it get in the way of speaking?
  • My brother Jason, whose lightchimes project got covered by the Make: blog. He's the one with the buzz cut on the far left of the video still - I remember crashing on his couch last summer looking at some of the early prototypes and asking him about the epoxy they were filling the tubes with. And yeah, his handwriting and drawings and sketches have always looked like the ones shown in the video, except I'm used to seeing them on things like ID cards and immigration papers for our stuffed animals (we were strange little children) rather than, y'know, featured on a major hacker blog.

Dammit, I need to step up my game and make cool stuff again. Somebody challenge me!