Apparently that’s the term for what so many of us have been experiencing over the last 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Foggy brain, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, lethargy. In a New York Times article, Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, the author of “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife, says, “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”
That’s certainly been me throughout this time. I would have thought with so many hours, days and months at my disposal, I would have written and painted up a storm . . . but no, I have produced very little. Only now with summer upon us I’m feeling inspired again.
On June 26, I took part in my second year of a 12-hour Poetry Writing Half Marathon. If you love poetry, consider signing on for this annual event. It’s free to participate, you receive feedback from other writers and get to submit two poems (one of which may be chosen) for the annual printed anthology. Last year, I went in without a proper focus and many hours I scrambled to come up with an idea, occasionally relying on one of the hourly prompts. This time, I used 12 of my paintings as prompts. The results in many cases surprised and delighted me. I might have begun with an idea in mind, but the poems often took on lives of their own. Here is one example entitled, Welcoming Woods based on my painting of the same name, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 30 inches, copyright Wendie Donabie.
The forest beckons me today
to come and wander and weave
my way through paths of sun-speckled, twisted roots
and sheltering boughs.
A raven’s shrill call invites me
deeper into his
wary of my presence
hoots and twitters
coos and shrieks –
Are you friend or foe?
I settle on the stump
of an ancient oak
its rings of life still solid, strong.
I close my eyes
Whispering boughs rustle overhead
A gentle breeze kisses my cheek
The scent of rich moist earth
and fresh pine fills my senses
My heart rate slows
to the forest’s rhythm
I am one with the life around me.
You can check out all the poets and poems on THE POETRY MARATHON site. Let me know if you’re joining us next year. You can choose to do the half (12 poems in 12 hours) or full marathon (24 poems in 24 hours). It’s a stimulating and creative experience and has lifted me out of my state of languishing!
Next I’ll return to the easel to finish two projects on the go with many more on my To Do List!
If you are visiting in Muskoka over the next few months, we would love to see you. Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery is now open on weekends from 10 am to 4 pm. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors again and showing off the new work by our artists.
Take care and continue to stay safe!