The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul of 2019 hung on longer than usual.
Douglas Adams coined the phrase in Life, the Universe, and Everything to describe the ‘wretched boredom of the immortal being Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.’
Adams described the term this way, too:
In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn’t cope with, and that terrible listlessness which starts to set in at about 2:55, when you know that you’ve had all the baths you can usefully have that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the papers you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.
Adams, Douglas (10 October 1988). The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. UK: Heinemann.
It’s that bit on Sunday afternoon when the weekend is over and Monday is coming and there’s nothing you can do about it short of world annihilation which seems a viable alternative but who has the energy for that on a Sunday afternoon.
This particular long, dark teatime of the soul began when my daughter had a baby. This would shake anyone’s universe, but add it to the fact that the glorious event (and it was glorious) happened in Germany and you have something else again. Flying on a very cheap airline, I left the US for the first time and arrived just in time to be with my daughter through labor and beyond.
My triumphant return to the blessed realm of Missouri happened just in time to deal with doctor’s visits and tests and general mucking about with health care in the US, which resulted in a pacemaker for my SO. The six-hour drive back and forth to the hospital complicated the process.
To top off the winter, I got the flu. Not the charming 24-hour flu, but the full-blown influenza. I was a huge baby about it—fueled by fever-induced hallucinations of my imminent demise– but my warrior-goddess antibodies girded their loins and defeated the bastard viruses. At the end of February, I felt semi-alive again but by then the annual madness of winter had a good strong grip on my enthusiasm—and my intestines.
I spent the better part of March staring at the wall, babbling partially incoherent snippets from Emily Dickinson, and thinking deep thoughts.
I thought about blogging and whether or not I wanted to keep doing it. For a while, I didn’t. Not because it was particularly hard, but it just seemed useless—The Dark TeaTime of the Soul effect.
And then an awful question occurred to me.
Did I even want to keep writing books?
That scared me. Writing books is something I’ve Always-Always-Always intended to do. If I felt ambiguous about that, what does that say the rest of my life? The horrible empty feeling of giving up that dream seemed like drowning. My crystal ball fogged up and got hot every time I approached it. I took that as a bad sign.
In May, my daughter and now eight-month-old granddaughter came to visit. I think that was a turning point. There’s something about a baby—especially a baby as intelligent, cute, and perfect as this baby—that renews your faith in the future. By the time they scampered back to Germany, I felt human again.
So—long story short– Sorchia’s Universe, the blog, is back on track. Novel Magic posts go live on Mondays and my own posts on Wednesdays starting in August. Be on the lookout for new books and authors, giveaways, and stuff I cannot begin to predict.
As for the writing of books, I’m working on a new series of mystery novels—still early days. The title of the first one is All the Pretty Knives. The second will be Birds of a Feather. That’s where I am so far.
From what others tell me, a “dark tea-time of the soul” happens to artists, writers, everyone. Has it ever happened to you? How did you work through it? What snapped you out of the blahs and back into life? My spot of bother was relatively mild compared to some, but I benefited from advice online and elsewhere. So leave a little guidance in comments. You never know who needs to see it.
Thanks for visiting Sorchia’s Universe. Check out this week’s Novel Magic post and enter the Giveaway for TWO free books. If you are an author, you can find the guidelines and sign-up to be featured in a Novel Magic post here.