I’ve been struggling with mood swings the last week or so – cheerful and peppy one moment and depressed and unmotivated the next. 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. (That sounds awful, I know, but it’s how it manifests for me.) I can only conclude that I’m suffering from postproject letdown. 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. 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. In the interim, I alternate between being cheerfully energetic and morosely depressed. I’d like to say that I’ve found a handy way to manage this, but I haven’t really. 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. 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. 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 something useful, or interesting, or both. So I started testing Thermofax screen exposures. I ran through a number of tests, and finally concluded that the screen was not fusing evenly to the photocopy. I opened up the machine to clean it, and discovered that the carrier belt was dirty, off-center, and rippled. I’ve ordered a new one, and it should arrive soon. Hopefully that should fix the problem.