The quarantine has been exhausting as I am sure everyone knows. The stress of having to keep working, and taking care of yourself while the dark shadow of the news pulls down your shoulders. It’s overwhelming on the good days and numbing on the worst, to the point of pushing someone to become distant. For me, that means watching movies and TV (all of ‘Mindhunter’ in one sitting for example).
Before I go much further, I am going to make my decision here clear: I am going to suspend my Patreon. I am going to stop charging people, what is here will continue to be left up but no new posts will be made for the foreseeable future. This has taken some thought, so this post will be public and is also a little longer than my previous written posts here. Over the past 2 months I have had a few important, or at least big impact events occur. This quarantine is one of them. The second is finishing my 2nd semester of college. The third is realizing that I have fallen out of love with creative work. All of these have congealed into an anxiety monster that has stopped me from accomplishing much of anything.
As some probably know, I am currently a student at Champlain College for a degree in Game Art & Animation. With the conclusion of the spring semester I have finished my freshman year (the first of the four for my degree). Fall was a thrill to be a part of and ignited an energy to work and get things done. I was finishing assignments, I wasn’t late often and I felt incredibly productive. This lead into winter break, where I wrote upwards of 8000 words of game text in mini supplements. With this I felt prepared for a new year and was confident in my ability to release some creative work.
When I started my spring semester I had fun: taking on new duties as an RA and with the assignments in my new classes. However, I quickly started to feel overwhelmed, this was mostly due to how I was viewing my assignments. I was finishing them at the last minute or with just the goal of “getting them done” but I wanted more than to just “Get them done” though. I wanted to enjoy the process. As I fell more and more behind the anxiety started mount to the point where I was sick. I was crumpled over, tired and crying, unable to pick up a pen unless I was absolutely forced to. My grades were ‘okay’, except for one class by the end of the semester, but finals week was the last straw that pushed me into disconnecting from my own creativity. In the process of finishing out my spring semester the quarantine hit. Normally whenever I had a downer mood, over my semester on campus, I would go outside for a long walk. Or I would go downtown to the bakery, or the coffee shop which was off campus. I couldn’t do that anymore though as I was no longer on campus and it was no longer safe to do so even for the businesses in my hometown.
I was stuck without my normal brand of Band-Aids for how I feel. That left me stewing with my thoughts and in a place where I couldn’t even budge on any of my ideas. I couldn’t even finish something to have it finished. In this “relaxed” state I ended up watching tons of movies and even watched all of Patrick (H) Willems YouTube videos (a very good video essayist on films and film-making). Which was great but even that wasn’t enough to keep me out of my slump, or to pull me out of where I was emotionally. It just was enough to keep me thinking about movies and the TV shows I have been watching.
In all of this I was able to start the process of taking anxiety medications with my doctor and will be working with him to continue to seek ways to moderate this anxiety. Which leads me to this…The work I did over this semester and during winter break was different, different than what I thought it was. What I wanted from creating was to enjoy the process and care about what I was making. To be proud of what I write beyond just hitting the finish line, which consistently has been what I have been doing. Each of the mini supplements I have written so far have felt like they had kernels of what I love and enjoy but I never felt when finished, fulfilled.
To remove the excess stress I am currently on vacation and learning about short meditations. I am also taking out of my routine excess stressors (such as my monthly Patreon commitment). This is in the hope that after I am emotionally reset or back to a state of normalcy I can create with the emotions that I desire. To make things and have fun doing so through careful time budgeting and reasonable productivity expectations.
That is it! That is where I am currently at, I will be taking extra care of myself to make sure that I am okay and able to reconnect with my creativity.
And now for a short Q & A!
I know that this leaves a number of questions for those who want to continue to follow what I create. This also brings up questions of what I will do on my Patreon going forward with it closed down. I hope I can provide some answers here, if you have more questions please comment or reach out and I’ll answer the best that I can.
Q: Are you okay?
A: I will be fine! I am only able to make these decisions because I am conscious of the state I am in and what I am able to handle. I am emotionally okay! I have been doing better as I have been preparing to write this post and as I am currently writing it. I actually am taking great care in how I am writing this post and feeling good about how it has gone. The summary of my state: I am good and have been getting better. I have a really good support network made up of my family members and my partner.
Q: What type of creative work are you going to work on?
A: For the remainder of the summer I will be working on whatever keeps me interested. Just work that excites me and is rewarding to finish and complete, this includes practicing 3D modeling, continuing the online math course I am working through, and learning how to blog all over again.
It seems important to me to set up small goals that can be accomplished but that I can also take my time to complete them. That way I can focus on my personal enjoyment over finishing a project. I am hopeful and confident that I can get into a positive groove by the time that school starts up again in the fall.
Q: How can I stay up to date on what you do?
A: If you want to follow what I am doing publicly (blog posts, art, game related works, etc), then I am going to recommend subscribing to both of my blogs for notifications:
As I will be sharing my latest work in blog post form here along with any announcements of products. The movies blog will be there to keep people up to date on what me and Beau watch along with our movie recommendations. My personal website will have more writing work, including short fiction and any articles that I work on. If I find any meditation tactics that work for me, they will likely also be shared there in reflection essays.
If you want to just get the most important information in batches sent to your email inbox, you can sign up to my mailing list here. http://eepurl.com/dHBnLT
My Twitter is @thomasanovosel (https://twitter.com/thomasanovosel) if you want to chat or see mostly jokes. However as I am focusing on my blog more I will be trying to take a backseat when it comes to my social media as it distracts me from my interests more often than it keeps me informed on my favorite subjects.
Q: Will you still be doing commissions and work for hire?
A: Yes! I will still be completing my current workload and taking on new commissions as I receive them through private messages and email. I still have a need for money to cover my personal bills and debts, so I can’t turn down any work. That work is what pays for my needs and also my entertainment budget (movies, books, documentaries, etc).
But I will be avoiding monetizing my personal work or hobbies when possible to avoid its connection to my financial status.
Q: Now for a fun question, what movies have you been watching? And what books?
A: That is a fun question which seems out of place and also very self-serving for my own interests. Right now I am currently reading Italo Calvino’s ‘If on a winter’s night a traveler’, Terry Pratchett’s ‘Hogfather’, and am working on finishing an audiobook of J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Drowned World’. Hogfather is a whimsical book, Calvino’s is poetic fantasy, and Ballard’s is a short apocalyptic sci-fi book.
As for movies, I have recently just rewatched The Invitation (2015) a tense horror movie about a cult from the director of Jennifer’s Body. I have also been rewatching The Birds (1963) for a writing project; I think that I have actually watched it 3 times in the last week and have dozen pages of handwritten notes on it. That project whenever it is finished will be up on my personal blog.
If you haven’t heard of The Birds, it’s an Alfred Hitchcock movie about the beginning of a bird-pocalypse where birds have started swarming and murdering humans on the California coast. It also has a romance plot that is fun!
If I was going to recommend some books, here are two that I think are excellent (keeping in mind that I like horror and so will recommend horror):
- Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones: This is the best werewolf book I have ever seen! I know that I have not dug incredibly deep into werewolf media, but this book sets an incredibly high bar as it imagines the life of werewolves when they are changed and when they are not.
- The Beauty by Aliya Whitely: This book isn’t incredibly long but it includes mushroom people having sex with people and creating weird human mushroom babies in an apocalypse that has killed all of the women. The twist is that the mushroom people grew from the graves of the dead women of the world.
I know that this is a lot of information. That some of this information is me being vulnerable and open with everyone who will see it, but I think that it is important for me to keep it open for myself. I also wanted to be open with my followers here as this shift could lead them to be worried about me. Being honest and detailed hopefully will reassure anyone who had those concerns that I will be okay and have all of the support that I need to work through this.
Until I complete a blog post or have more to say, thanks for being here! Thank you for understanding! The Patreon will be off so that it doesn’t charge anyone, I will leave up what I have posted so far and if anything big comes up I’ll be sure to share a link to it here.
- Thomas N.
This post was written up late night on Sunday the 24th. It is unrelated to any recent news. The reason that it was not posted then was so that I could have time to sit on it, reread and edit. As well as to make sure that the decision I had been sitting on for most of the month was a decision that I wanted to follow-through with.