Episode 3: Existential Despair (with guest Andrea Bird)

So you’re writing. Or painting. Or dancing. And you’re struck by this horrible feeling: what am I doing? How am I ever going to find the form and create something beautiful out of this tangled mess that I’ve assembled? Or you start to feel that your work doesn’t matter. That in fact, nothing matters. Your creative endeavors amount to nothing. You are nothing. Nothing’s worth saying. No creative project’s worth doing. And that, friends, is existential despair. It happens. Most people involved in creative projects experience this state at some point, and it can be tough to get out of. In this episode, we wonder, can we avoid it? What do we miss if we avoid it? What helps us to return to a sense of purpose and passion? Our special guest, encaustic/mixed media artist Andrea Bird from Ontario, Canada, joins us for our game of two questions and talks about how that grappling can actually be what helps push our work to the next level.

Join our discussion of this episode on our Facebook page.

This is your body on existential despair … best thing to do is get away from the writing desk, into the sunshine, preferably on skis.

Episode Notes

Anna Akhmatova, Russian poet
Good to Go, Christie’s book on the science of sports recovery
A Hundred Falling Veils, Rosemerry’s daily poem blog
Andrea Bird’s gallery





4 thoughts on “Episode 3: Existential Despair (with guest Andrea Bird)

  1. the title of this episode grabbed my attention. i listened while I rode the stationary bike–part of my personal physical re-emerging form workouts. existential despair is always my dance partner in the creative process. nothing ever happens if we are not teetering together on the edge of some abyss or another. Ferlinghetti’s poem “constantly risking absurdity” has always been an expression of this little dance, only we are two of us “charliechaplin” beings in midair… perhaps that sounds pathetically stereotypical or melodramatic, but is no less true for all that. writing always has this incredibly dangerous aspect, that something is at stake i must not sacrifice. existential despair holds me accountable until we are “spread-eagled in the empty air…”

    1. Oh friend, what a gorgeous response … here’s to teetering on the abyss together. Can’t hold each other there, but it is good to know we are not alone. I will have to look up that poem, thanks for suggesting it. Rosemerry

  2. In this episode, Rosemerry comments that she sometimes wonders what use all of her daily poems are going to. To my mind, some of them speak to the Dharma, and I have used a number of her poems in my Dharma talks (with citation!). How’s that for a good use?

    1. Dear Kim,
      Thank you so much for this note! That’s a GREAT use! I am grateful for you.
      With joy,

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