We’ve got to put the sun back in our hearts
It has been just about a month since my last post, though in truth it feels even longer than that in my mind. The radio silence is down to several reasons, both personal and professional which left me little time for contemplation about what I wanted to write about. The list of potential ideas is still growing in my notebook which is great for the long term of course, but the way of getting them out without feeling like I am forcing them has not been. This past month my head has just been stuck in a fog that refused to let go. Every fleeting thought I considered seemed to collapse shortly after. It was not writers block, but more like a block preventing me from focusing on those ideas.
The truth is, since I revamped this blog last August, focusing on writing shorter and more concise posts (compared to the longer ones I used to do), I have been working really hard at it. For months I was averaging a post a week, and on a few occasions, sometimes more than that. Perhaps a crash of some sorts was inevitable at that pace. Not to go into full on tortured artist mode here, but I felt overwhelmed. For the first week or two I did not panic about it. I figured with so much going on I should just accept that a break was okay. As a little more time passed I began to worry. In the past when I have been uninspired, I went to some of the many other blogs I follow. Not so much for inspiration, but just as a reminder of why I have stuck writing my own. But even that seemed to be getting away from me and I did not feel engaged with so many of the excellent writers and artists that fill up my blog feed. Everyday I asked myself, are you ready yet? Ready to look at that screen and begin writing again? But everyday I felt more overwhelmed and said, maybe tomorrow…
Well tomorrow has come thankfully! It started off on Sunday with a ferry ride from Queens to Wall Street on a beautiful sunny day accompanied by my wife and one of her brothers who was visiting New York for the first time. Something about being on or near the water is always good for the soul and it started the day off right for me. Obviously I had my camera with me, snapping photos the entire day. It continued with a little tour of downtown, followed by a few stops for a beer at some of our favorite places. On Monday night, we followed that with some sublime music by our friend Christa Gniadek who I wrote about here playing songs from her forthcoming album. I paid the price for all of this yesterday and felt thoroughly exhausted and worn down. I went to bed fairly early for me and woke up this morning feeling the better for it. In the midst of this month long funk, I took up running again. Not every day as of yet, and the most I have run so far is only 3 miles, but it has been a start to feeling better physically. Plus running is good for clarity of mind, so it has helped me through this time for sure.
For anyone who has ever jogged, or run longer distances, you probably have encountered that moment of starting out when you wonder how you will feel that day. Will it be a struggle to run a mile or will you feel better as you go along. Or will you feel great right from the start? That is what happened to me today, and as my mind was clicking away while the miles clocked by I thought about the positive events of the last few days. And suddenly there it was-a photo I had taken on Sunday of sunlight rippling off a pier we were walking past in Gantry State Park. Along with it was the song I wanted to use. Just like that, from a month of silence to an instant solution.
The song is Put The Sun Back by British band The Coral, a group I had entirely missed out on when they became popular well over 10 years ago with hits like ‘Dreaming Of You’. A chance encounter with them at a festival in England a few years ago turned me into a fan after seeing them perform live. Stylistically their music sounds completely contemporary, with a healthy dose of 60’s psychedelia, folk and guitar crunch that gives it a feeling of a song you have known your whole life. 2016 has seen the release of a new album after a few years on hiatus, so if you are unfamiliar with them I definitely recommend checking them out as they are a truly excellent and underrated band. Put The Sun Back comes from one of my favorites by them, Roots And Echoes. Even though the song is clearly about a troubled relationship, I could not help finding comfort in the chorus quoted at the start, of putting the sun back in our hearts.
It is funny when things happen so rapidly that a path closed mere hours before suddenly becomes open. But that fleeting spark of an idea this morning has altered my fear of not knowing when I would write again, to almost relishing writing another one once the dust has settled on this post! The solution was there once I put a little ‘sun’ back in my world after a hard month of work, travelling, and other issues. All it took was breaking the cycle and finding some space to let the ideas flow again.
How do you clear your head from the clutter that takes over sometimes?
Put The Sun Back-Written By James Skelly
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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle
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