Before the Flood (in my case, two of them, the Big Thompson Flood and the Lawn Lake Flood), I used to love a rock group known as “The Mamas and the Papas“. They had wonderful voices, quite lyrical, and a rich style, unique for the time, sounding much more well-produced than many other contemporary groups, which, following “The Rolling Stones“, preferred a rougher edge. One of The Mamas and the Papas’ earliest hits (after “California Dreamin‘”) was a song entitled “Monday, Monday“. It was a very ‘Monday’ song, about treachery and betrayal. It pointed out that the day might leave, but the Monday feeling hung around. I’m not sure why Mondays feel that way, but this one sure does. I was confident that when I stopped working at the day job, Monday would once again be the bright start of the week, not its lowest nadir. But some Mondays just are nadirs, and that’s all there is to it.
Sometimes nothing works except Tuesday, but there are a few things a person can do. Running away to Australia (where it already is Tuesday) is probably not an option for most of us; it isn’t for me. But writing is always an option. For instance, I didn’t know when I started this post that it would end up being about writing, or actually about anything having to do with getting over a Monday. I thought it was just going to be a complaint, about weather and not enough sleep and having to run errands and do chores and pay bills, to say nothing of political emails that I will truly say nothing of, but that I’m very tired of getting. Instead, my thoughts turn to the psychological benefits, let alone the artistic benefits, of writing out one’s less than stellar or chirpy moods. That’s what I’m in the process of doing, after all, and it’s working.
Whether in a blog or simply a private journal, writing about what you’re (I’m) feeling helps in a number of ways: First, for me at least, it helps me figure out what I am feeling, and often I’m not sure. I may have just a case of the blahs, kind of “itch”, as Connie Willis so beautifully puts it, a kind of existential angst that can afflict anyone. But writing about it can often pinpoint what is really going on. In my case, today, it combines not enough sleep with a meeting I’m not sure I’m ready for and then stir in just a bit of waiting for an email and then getting an email, not even remotely the one I’m waiting for, that seems to come from the bowels of political nastiness and you’ve got that Monday feeling. Or at least I do. But there have been times when the bad mood went a lot deeper, and writing made it possible for me, eventually, to see what really was bugging me.
Second, at times writing about the problem can help you (me) find a solution. Sometimes, of course, the solution is just to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with life. At other times, when the problem goes deeper, the mind is searching underneath consciousness for a solution, and writing, especially the kind of writing you can do on a computer in a journal, can help you get out of your own way so you can see what you need to do or feel or be to resolve the issue. Here, the trick is to simply write, without the little critic we all have living in our heads yammering away about the quality of what you’re doing (somehow the little critic never seems to think that the quality is good, darn it). It’s hard to shut him or her up, but it is possible. Just keep writing, let the words come out, no matter how silly or self-serving or mindless they seem. Eventually, your mind will settle down to the hard work of letting you know what’s wrong. It’s kind of like therapy, only using touch-typing instead of psychoanalysis.
Third (one of the smaller tricks of writing is to realize that the brain likes things in threes, so when you provide, in an essay, lists of options or whatnot, make sure there are at least three of them), when the time comes, and it inevitably does, that the solution does not appear right then and there, save what you’ve written and let it sit. Put it away and come back to it on another day, preferably not a Monday. Not only might you realize there is a resolution somewhere in that storm of words that you didn’t see before, but also you might have an essay, a blog, or a part of a greater work just sitting there waiting for you to refine it. A double blessing. And even if the solution isn’t forthcoming, you will probably come to realize that it was just Monday, after all, and things are better simply because life is change. (Plus, you might still have a usable piece of writing!)
Like the song, “Monday, Monday.” I have the feeling that composing that song took away the writer’s blues. And even if it didn’t, he got a great song out of his dreary Monday.