Sky Blue and Black


Although I strive to be serene and even-tempered, the truth is that my moods do swing wildly from blue (optimism) to black (pessimism). I don’t think this is some sort of chemical imbalance as much as a reaction to specific circumstances. Take today, for example. I’ve been really tired lately, even though I have managed to get a normal amount of sleep most nights. But yesterday I literally crashed at 8PM. I went to bed then and woke at 4AM with a raging migraine. IDK why. It could be anything from too much sleep to too little, from the weather to to caffeine. I know it can’t be alcohol because I haven’t had any in ages. Point is, I was in a really dark mood from this nauseating, throbbing pain. I decided I would take a sick day and cancel on my friends tonight.

But then I took sumatriptan and anti-nausea meds, plus put some magic Chinese green elixir on my neck and forehead. Idk what this magic elixir actually is, but it helps, even though (as my doctor points out regarding Icy Hot, which is very similar) it could simply be a way of agitating my nerve cells so I don’t notice the pain so much. It’s not a drug, so it doesn’t really DO anything, except it seems to alleviate some of the worst pain, that’s all I know. And by the time it began wearing off, the migraine med had kicked in. So I went from feeling really bummed out to being happy or at least feeling neutral and deciding I’d go to work after all and hang with my peeps tonight.

These mood swings happen with my hobbies. I was so into painting for a while and spent a bunch of money on art supplies. I painted every time I had a free day. But none of my work came out as good as that random rainbow tree I did at my daughter’s house. I guess that was pure luck. I hate everything else I’ve done and have thrown it all away. Every time I go to the art tutorial Facebook page I see all this FABULOUS stuff, with people going oh hi this is my very first attempt… what do you think? Idk if it’s BS or what, but these pieces are all SO GOOD. This has made me super discouraged and I haven’t painted for over a month. I don’t feel it’s irrational. It is the absolute truth that my painting isn’t good; it’s also true that you can’t improve without practicing. But I’m 60 and have no desire to spend decades practicing art. My idea was to have a few fun hours painting here and there and end up with projects I liked to look at. That hasn’t happened, even when I try to closely follow a tutorial. It’s like when I was 11 and spent a summer drawing doggies from a you-can-draw-doggies book. No, I can’t fucking draw dogs! ARGH!

As far as writing, I swing wildly between believing I write well and that I’m just awful. This isn’t a compliment-fish; there is nothing anyone can say to change my mind either way. It’s all about my mood. I recently reread Switching Positions and think it’s really funny. But then I read a couple of my more “serious” romance pieces and think they suck. I can’t seem to portray the intense visceral chemistry and unbreakable emotional attachment between my protags the way other romance writers can. Maybe because I’ve never experienced that in real life, lol. Actually, in Ghosted, I got close (though it’s more of a mystery than a romance) ~ I put a ton of work into Ghosted, and it’s OK, I guess, but then I read Jodi Picoult’s Vanishing Acts a few days ago and am like holy crap this is so excellent! I can never even dream of writing anything on that level. Now I don’t feel like finishing any more of my crap in progress. My OCD screams at me to finish, but I don’t always listen to my OCD. Maybe I’ve written enough and should just start watching TV like a normal person, even if my selfidentity is kinda wrapped up in the writer label.

I feel like turning comments off for this post because I really DO NOT want any compliments about my writing. They’re just going to seem patronizing to me right now. I’d like to hear commiseration on mood swings though. Then I might not feel like such a weirdo. Do you one day decide you’re great at X thing and the next day believe you are terrible at X? Please elaborate. I really don’t enjoy the motion sickness of careening between blue and black. Jim’s prompt of sky today inspired this word vomit, so you can blame him. I immediately thought of this Jackson Browne song when I read his post, and no I’m not going to C&P a pile of Wikipedia text here when everyone is capable of looking up JB facts themselves if they are interested. I’m just writing about ME and, to me, this song is about the search for self, whatever that is, and while mine sometimes seems clearly defined, other times it’s as elusive as a whisper in the rain…

You’re the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You’re the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain
You’re the hidden cost and the thing that’s lost
In everything I do
Yeah and I’ll never stop looking for you

In the sunlight and the shadows
And the faces on the avenue
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
Sky, sky blue and black


Image is mine (I think).

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

34 responses to “Sky Blue and Black

  1. I’m not a fan of looking back at what I’ve written. It often sounds kinda stupid. Then again, most readers haven’t read my stuff many times over like I have, so it’s a rather skewed perspective.

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  2. This is really a lovely song. I read that Jackson Browne wrote this song when his relationship with Daryl Hannah came to an end. You didn’t mention anything about hot flashes, so I assume that your mood swings are not related to menopause. I figure that it is not being caused by pregnancy, so that leaves hormone imbalances, stress, substance abuse, psychological disorders and behavioral conditions, but this could also be an indicator of an underlying disease, so Paula please make an appointment to see your doctor.

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  3. I really liked ghosted! The romance scenes were good too. A rant is good for the soul.

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  4. I tend to oscillate between thinking my writing will make me rich and moderately famous (I don’t want to be famous famous, which is more trouble than it’s worth, but I’ve always liked the idea of people taking my thoughts seriously) and thinking that I’m just a terrible hack who should never be let near a word processor. The “terrible hack” feelings tend to dominate when I’m actually reading my work; the “rich and famous” thoughts are more when I’m day-dreaming.

    There’s a Snoopy cartoon where Snoopy is writing to a publisher and saying something like, “I sent you my manuscript so that you would publish it and make me rich and famous, but you rejected it. What part of this process did you not understand?” That’s probably going to be me…

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  5. I have a brain that tricks me into thinking “ooh, I could be really good at this!”, then when I try, my brain says “that’s crap! Why are you even bothering? Leave it to the people with real talent!”

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  6. I don’t have mood swings so much as “give a shit” swings. Sometimes I just switch into “I DGAF” about things that were/are important to me. It’s like the symptoms of depression without being bummed🤷🏼‍♀️ I question why I’m so apathetic all of a sudden and I have no answers.
    Blogging is the biggest with me right now. I LOVE my WP, but it’s like I don’t even want to sign in🤷🏼‍♀️ I’ve got tons of ideas for posts, tons of pictures, lots of stuff I could post, but I can’t be bothered to create a post, and I read from the blogs I follow sporadically.

    The only thing I can come up with is that we’re all having delayed reactions to the whole pandemic stuff. Even if we had it fairly easy, it was stressful and a big change, and the election stuff in the middle of it. “Is it *really* okay now? What else is gonna happen?”🤷🏼‍♀️

    I try to remember that whatever is going on with me took time to get this way, so I should give myself some time to understand it. Just go with it for now, keep trying, not make any rushed decisions.🤷🏼‍♀️

    I really liked some of your paintings a lot! Sucks that painting isn’t fun for you anymore☹

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    • That makes sense. I may be overdoing the socializing lately and am feeling burnt out. Just because I missed over a year of 3x a month doesn’t mean that I can now do 3x a week. Gah! Not that I don’t enjoy it! But it takes a lot of emotional energy. Hopefully, I will want to paint again, since I bought so much stuff. I do miss your bloggery & cool sky pics… 🙂

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  7. I actually thought the paintings you posted on your blog were quite good, Paula. As to writing, I rarely look back at my old posts except when I search for one for my Flashback Friday prompt. And when I find one and read it for the first time in possibly years, I sometimes ask myself “what were you thinking, Fandango, when you hit PUBLISH on this post. It should never have left your draft posts folder. Or better yet, it should have been permanently deleted.”

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  8. I don’t think you’re alone–if that helps. When you read something you previously wrote and see flaws, it might be because over time you have become a better reader, and more able to think clearly about writing. If you don’t like something you wrote earlier, it might mean that you are smarter now than you were. That should be a good thing.
    Sounds like I’m flailing around. Like I said, not alone.
    I think this: whatever amount of native talent you have, if you self-identify as a writer, then you should be dedicated to fixing flaws you see. Don’t give up, and becoming better is inevitable. When I think of it like this, the only problems that remain are, how much more time do I have to write, and how much energy and ambition?

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  9. We’re all our own worst critics. Not an original thought, but a true one. I understand where you’re coming from, though. I like King Ben’s Grandma’s point of view:I don’t have mood swings so much as “give a shit” swings. Yep, so true.

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  10. I hate mood swings, and ya aint alone, I’m right there walking that line between blue and black and red and all in between…and it sucks!

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  11. Grey Scotsman

    Blue or black (with or without red), Eeyore or Tigger (as we used to call a colleague based on their daily bounce level….or lack thereof), thanks and hugs – I think I’d opt for the hugs everytime 🤗…and keep enjoy the reading🤓.

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  12. Hell is comparing ourselves to others. Some of us go to hell (and back) too often. And the irony and shame of it is that is an illusion. But that is the other hell: anxiousness and all loss of perspective that comes with it. Which is to say: Others appreciate you and what you do more than you realize. Our salvation lies in seeing ourselves as others see us. Love you, girlfriend! May future darknesses be put in their place!

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  13. “As far as writing, I swing wildly between believing I write well and that I’m just awful. This isn’t a compliment-fish; there is nothing anyone can say to change my mind either way. It’s all about my mood.”

    Just so. Oddly enough, the last post over on my blog was about a dark time completely unrelated to writing, but still…I can speak to mood shifts.

    As for writing, I swing wildly back and forth across that line you describe. Maybe it’s a function of age, but I seem to be in a place where upwards of 75% of the time I’m pretty agreeable with both of the utterly incompatible ideas that I’m really pretty good and that I’m a fraudulent hack.

    Whichever is up front that day only rarely distracts from the pleasure of writing either way. However, the occasional “What’s the point?” mindfuckery continues to be a pain in the ass and can shut me down tighter than a [insert crudely obscene descriptive phrase of choice] for a month or two at a time.

    [shrug] No helping it, I suppose.

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