I’ve been struggling with mood swings the last week or so – cheerful and peppy one moment and depressed and unmotivated the next. Â Fortunately, it’s not bipolar depression – it doesn’t have any of the usual hallmarks, and I haven’t had any particular urge to commit suicide, which is usually one of its first signs. Â (That sounds awful, I know, but it’s how it manifests for me.) Â I can only conclude that I’m suffering from postproject letdown. Â Or, as Mike sympathetically-yet-unsympathetically says, “You’re probably just depressed because you don’t have something big to stress over.”
Usually I go through a few weeks of this between Big Projects. Â Getting something Autumn Splendor-sized out the door is no mean feat – it takes months of focus, and once the center of that focus drops abruptly through the trapdoor of completion, it leaves me creatively off-balance for several weeks at least. Â In the interim, I alternate between being cheerfully energetic and morosely depressed. Â I’d like to say that I’ve found a handy way to manage this, but I haven’t really. Â This creative cycle has been going on since high school; the only improvement in the last twenty years is that I no longer panic about it. Â To me it’s kind of like a menstrual period: you get to spend three or four days feeling like your insides are being scraped out with a dull spoon, and there’s really not much you can do except hang on and know it’ll be over eventually. Â It would be nice not to have to go through that, but it’s certainly survivable.
At any rate, after spending the first half of the evening being morosely and pointlessly depressed, I decided I was bored of moping and should at least do somethingÂ useful, or interesting, or both. Â So I started testing Thermofax screen exposures. Â I ran through a number of tests, and finally concluded that the screen was not fusing evenly to the photocopy. Â I opened up the machine to clean it, and discovered that the carrier belt was dirty, off-center, and rippled. Â I’ve ordered a new one, and it should arrive soon. Â Hopefully that should fix the problem.