Put The Sun Back

 

Gantry State Park, Queens

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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33 thoughts on “Put The Sun Back

  1. Interesting because I always figured you got your inspiration from the song first, then the writing and photo would naturally follow. I guess that’s just how my mind would work if I attempted a blog post like yours! Glad you have the sun back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I have done the song first, and my Photo Shuffle series is all about letting my Ipod choose a song I then pair with a photo, but mostly, the photo comes first. I like finding the right fit and feel for any given photo. Something that fits the mood, or the lighting, or the season of the photo. Of course like everything it has evolved! Appreciate the comment 🙂

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  2. Very glad to have you back. Great post. Thanks for being so brutally honest. I know how you feel. I call lit spurts. I post in spurts and then I go for a while with none. I just try to roll with it and not feel too guilty. I try anyway…

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    1. Thank you so much! Ironically, the first year and a half,when I wrote longer posts, they were spaced about a month apart because I did a lot of research typically, and really spent a lot of time working on them, and I thought nothing of it. Then when I changed it up the writing became easier and I was able to post more. It was probably inevitable, and it is healthy to take breaks from most everything in life I think. The worst thing is that I feel like I have slighted so many of my fellow bloggers the last month. If I left comments I can barely remember them because it was all some big haze over my head. Always appreciate the comments you leave, and I’m off to do some catching up…including with you!

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      1. Do your best to just have fun with it and not feel stressed. I would hate to see you quit doing it because it wasn’t fun anymore. Trust me, I am there right now too. I just got back from Paris and I have tons of beautiful photos. I just need to find a few days to get motivated and inspired to start writing about it. I look forward to seeing you out there in the blogosphere.

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      2. In general I don’t feel stressed by it. At the end of the day it is something to do for fun, but it has sustained me the last few days. Something to look forward to that I control, that I created. I don’t have kids, so its my ‘baby’ lol. I can’t wait to see your Paris posts. I have seen some of them on Instagram and they are so good!

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    1. Thanks so much Jacqueline! That is what happened but I’m glad I did not force it. I was beginning to worry, but it was a great feeling this morning having that light switch go on again! Appreciate the comment

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  3. Lol @ tortured artist mode. Don’t be surprised if you realize that you’re not completely all the way there yet. I agree with Bulldog Travels with the mention of “spurts”….sometimes that’s really what it is. Think all of us bloggers can relate….well, except for Jackie who is always full steam ahead!! lol….can’t recall her ever taking a real “break”….but she’s the exception…not the rule lol

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    1. Thanks buddy! You are right about Jacqueline alright. I can’t keep up (cue the Wayne’s World We’re Not Worthy bowing in her presence lol). Spurts makes sense to me. There comes a time when you just have to realize life will interrupt you. Always appreciate your thoughts my friend!

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  4. It’s different everytime. I’ve been in a slump as far as the blog for more than a month before. And I just wait till I felt good about it because otherwise, I hate the way it reads. Staying completely away from anything blog related helped me the most. I needed to miss it and remember how much I enjoyed it to begin with.

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      1. It was late last year/early this year where I felt “Meh”. It could happen again because burn out is likely when you juggle a lot at the same time. But I think living without thinking about it is the best solution for the meantime. Recharge the battery.

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  5. You mentioned running Robert. Running helps me a lot. I run five times a week and during the running I get new ideas for writing all the time. Sometimes I don’t feel like running but “I just do it!” The good feelings come afterwards.
    I also think it’s better to have something urgent to write about than just a big amount of posts. I really like your honesty in your post.
    As the other commenters say: “It’s so good to have you back”

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    1. That’s great Maria! It used to be such a big part of my life and I’m glad to have it back and what you say is true. Sometimes the clarity comes after the fact as I wind down. I agree about the urgency of writing. Best to save it for when you have that good thought, and have that first paragraph written in your head. Appreciate the comment!

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      1. I’m horrible with titles! Sometimes its based around the song lyric, sometimes its based around my own thought for the piece. Its almost always the last thing I do. Usually I have the first couple of lines and the workings of an idea, or on rare occasions I sometimes can even do an outline. Never the same twice though!

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      2. Interesting to hear that we do things differently! I think so much is stored up inside me for many years. I had a job as a health visitor and had to listen and adjust to so many situations. Ayer I retired the lid has gone off and all the stuff want to come up in the open

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      3. That is great that you have so much inside ready to get out. I suppose I do to because for years I always wanted a creative outlet but never did, or never could figure out how to do it. Eventually I took up photography, but then I wanted to use my photos in a different way, which is where the writing came in. I’m happy I did 🙂

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      4. It will come out when you let it. Photos are such a great way of inspiration. Even if we don’t have a present journey we have a lot of former journeys with lots of photos to use. So we have the resources at hand

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      5. Very true. Funny that since I wrote this the other day, I feel completely unburdened with other things too. It also helped getting out there and taking some new photos. That also helps drive the inspiration as well.

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  6. Pingback: Soundtrack Of A Photograph-Photo Shuffle | Soundtrack Of A Photograph

  7. Pingback: Soundtrack Of A Photograph-Photo Shuffle | Soundtrack Of A Photograph

  8. Rob, you are madly prolific to my way of thinking. I have no idea how you find the time. It is hardly surprising that you are exhausted. As you know, I only manage four or five editions of my own blog per year, at decidedly irregular intervals and despite my best intentions. Anyway, glad to hear that you feel you have emerged from the fog, even if it does mean that you will once again be putting my own work rate to shame! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind of you to say that Alan, thank you! I think for me once I restructured my blog and then also took a course here on WP, something clicked and rather than holding ideas in, I just figured-why wait? I also keep a notebook with me at all times which has definitely helped me with getting things out in a more timely fashion. But if I slow down again it will be okay, but what was alarming was that fog was pretty overwhelming. As to your excellent blog I remain awed by your writing, however frequently you manage to write. Your posts are always enlightening and I truly believe that someday you should assemble them into a book. Yeah…they are that good! Thanks as always!

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