Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Burning out

The problems of the world are weighing heavily on me today. I'm feeling pretty down. I think it's because I'm suffering from burn-out. I haven't had a proper day off since I started my current job 5 months ago. Oh, I was sick a few times, and there was the day I played hooky all morning and went swimming with Beth, but basically, the whole summer has gone by and I haven't done anything fun that I wasn't covering for the paper. I'm hoping to take off a couple of days in the next few weeks to go to Tiberias/Lake Kinneret, and see a bit of the Galil. Other than 3 hours in Tzfat to interview someone, I haven't been to the Galil since I was 18 years old. I love my job, but it's prevented me from enjoying Israel very much. It seems silly to take off two days when my (temporary-from-the-beginning) job is ending in a couple of weeks anyhow, but I've earned the vacation days and I need to use them now.

Today I took out my little box of index cards that I use to file my freelancing ideas (very low tech but it works for me). I've hardly looked at it since last April. I weeded out the stories that are old, or which I'm not interested in anymore, or which I now realize are simply weak ideas that won't sell. I also added in a few new ideas, or jotted down better angles to old ones. I was happy to see that many of the ideas in there are still good, and after I finish my current position I'll have plenty of pitch letters to develop. So, no need to worry about starving to death. Not yet!

Part of me is looking forward to returning to the freelancing lifestyle. It's so much more free, and since I'll be working for myself again, I'll be able to go to the Kinneret or to my favorite beach spot in Netanya any time I darn well feel like it. But, I'll miss the excitement of having a staff position. I've interviewed so many fascinating people: diplomats, hippies, government officials, religious leaders, athletes, and all sorts of quirky characters. I've exposed a couple of gross governmental inefficiencies. I'll miss that.

But I won't miss my weekly Wednesday-night-letdown, when I have several stories to write, all due the following morning, and I'm trapped in my house with a bunch of computer files and notebooks and somehow have to form it all into something that won't embarrass me or my editor. See, when I'm not burned out, I see it as a "creative process" or whatever, not a chore. I don't mind the writing part, just the fact that it comes up relentlessly, every Wednesday, without variation.

I've got a lot of deep thoughts running around in my head about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and settlements, and right-wing and left-wing people, and angry people, but I'm too tired and blah to write about them. I seriously need a vacation from everything. From my house, from Jerusalem, from my work, from my head. I . . . need . . . the . . . beach . . . .

water . . . water . . .

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