Balanced: An Inspired Melancholic

10 Jan

It’s Sunday and it’s raining. Yesterday the grey of the clouds were charcoal-colored as I drove to the Catskill mountain area, about 90 minutes from home.  Parts of the area are quite pretty, but the cast made it dismal.  Although my temperment doesn’t need any help in feeling glooming, I didn’t mind the clouds.  Melancholy is a state with which I’m well-acquitanted, but I’m beginning to accept that this isn’t a bad thing. A few months ago, I came across an article in the Times, The Case for Melancholy, that vibrated in my soul.

When I was leaving the baby shower for my niece-in-law that evening, I looked up and saw the house was enricled by 50 foot,  lanky, bare trees–I thought it was beautiful. My daughter and best friend, probably thought eerie, but remained mute as I voiced this observation.

“Melancholy, distinguished from grief, is not caused by events, like losing your job, the passing of beloved pets, your miscarriages or health problems. Nor does it vanish when you receive excellent news, like a big film star optioning your novel, or being invited to an all-expenses-paid trip to Venice for the Biennale,” wrote Laren Stover.
One thing I know for sure is that when I’m feeling inspired by something, whether it’s simulating company, a sentence, a book that moves me or when I’m able to write consistently for uninterrupted periods (hardly ever!) I’m not sad. Things that  speaks to my soul acknowlege the complexity feelings.

I can feel good and my melancholy is right there, in the room lounging on the chaise, welcomed.


“It was reassuring also to see in the recent animated film “Inside Out” that Sadness, the gloomy Eeyore of emotions, saves the day with the perky persistence of overbearing Joy,” Stover wrote.

We need both. (If you haven’t seen the movie, where joy, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, are characters, do.)Stover says melancholy requires reflection: a sort of mental steeping, like tea? I like that image. I reflect. It’s what I do. I like that about me. What I don’t like right now is that I’m not feeling inspired and I know at this age, I’m hardly alone.

I’m trying to figure out what to do about this. I’m interested in hearing from you.  If you’re introspective and over 50, 55? What inspires you?

3 Responses to “Balanced: An Inspired Melancholic”

  1. Ruth January 10, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

    I loved “Inside Out” … and it made me realize that while Joy and Sadness are linked, and we do need both (because the alternative is to live a flat-line), and they do live together … the one thing that truly crowds out Joy is resentment. And I also think that resentment is as poisonous to creativity as it is to everything else it touches. So that is my personal goal — to say to myself, “No room for resentment” — to do the same with comparisons (another creativity-killer) or envy of people who actually are succeeding creatively.

    • Benilde Little January 10, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

      Dearest Ruth,
      Thanks–wonderful stuff here! Yes, get rid of resentment (hard) and comparison (not so much).

    • Ruth January 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

      PS …. I should add that I mean “succeeding creatively” in my subjective opinion, because all those people I think are “succeeding creatively” are probably as consumed with self-doubt and other issues as I am!

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