Tuesday, January 27, 2009


"I must create my own system or be enslav'd by another man's."

William Blake

1. Inspiration...or the lack thereof. Like any good postmodernist, when no lively subject compels me, I can always write about the act of writing.

2. For a while now I have been cranking out a post per day, despite work and other responsibilities (Mrs. Novalis might say, "What other responsibilities exactly?" but don't mind her). Sometimes I think the self-imposed "pressure" (a bit melodramatic I know for a hobby) does help to keep the ideas flowing, but at other times it seems constricting and arbitrary (why not a post every other day, or two posts per day?).

3. Why call this "Psychiatrica" when mental health topics per se constitute only a minority of posts? Well, good question. To some degree I think that being a psychiatrist certainly shapes my approach to a number of issues, so I guess psychiatry is meant to be a kind of central organizing principle, although that doesn't mean that being an M.D. gives me any special insight into poetry or politics or whatever (except when it does).

While work is not disagreeable and sometimes is even interesting, inasmuch as the blog is a vehicle for creativity I often find myself wanting to express myself about matters other than work (otherwise it might start to seem like, well, work). And particularly after I added my name to the site, the use of clinical information no matter how disguised became more problematic.

It is often said that, more than others, Americans identify themselves with what they do for a living, so maybe that motivated the title as well.

4. Even before I added my name to the site, of course, a number of friends and family were aware of it, and this obliged some discretion. It would be a rather different experience I suppose to have a truly anonymous blog, identifiable by no one (except for the Google/Blogger voyeurs), in which case it would be a strangely quasi-private cyberjournal. On blogs where everyone pretty much uses his or her own name (like some of the arts or literature blogs I follow), it seems rather absurd to leave a comment under the pseudonym--sort of like showing up at an office party in a mask.

5. I think I'll take a day off from the blog every now and then (applause). The blog may be undergoing a reincarnation at some point, but I'm not sure. One can't rush inspiration in that respect either.


Anonymous said...

I personally endorse taking time off between posts -- a day or two here and there does the mind, and the muse, much good. Few are the bloggers that can keep up the frantic pace that someone like Andrew Sullivan does, but then again he's being paid to do it. Aside from that, it's evident that you invest genuine and considered thought in your posts, so the mind-energy drain is more significant than for someone (like Sullivan) who is throwing up news bits every hour (he does write some more considered stuff too, to be fair, but most is straight up news and opinion). All this to say, given the nature of your content, taking some time should be expected, and certainly well deserved.

Anonymous said...

Mid-blog crisis?

Do you find yourself inexplicably drawn to the idea of creating an even faster, flashier, convertible blog with all the bonus accoutrements? Do you feel the need to embellish your blogs with hipper, more youthful slang and gibberish jargon that only the privileged few in the know will understand? Are you working-out more these days?... Hair transplant? Nose job? Face-lift? Liposuction? Collagen injections? Boob job?(!) Are you thinking of going commercial? Google ads?!?!!....OMG!

Ok, you better have your time off to recharge/exorcise or whatever it is you freakish people do who 'need' to take days off between blogs(!)... we don't want you imploding - a shrink imploding may be the world's nastiest work of art, splattering all sorts of unresolved demons (your own & otherwise) that have parasitised you in the course of your working life.

Alright, we'll allow you only ONE nose job...and you need counselling beforehand to make sure your're doing it for all the right reasons...no sex change, not even a boob job...I'm sorry, but you need to have a consistent identity, otherwise you'll develop attachment issues - and possibly become bi-polar with a schizoid type personality.. and then really, it's a one way ticket to psychopathy.

...And definitely no more Billy JOEL!!

Novalis said...

You KNOW you enjoyed the Billy Joel post, and if you can't admit it to yourself I can't help you.

I have a mid-blog crisis every ten posts or so; this is nothing unusual.

In our consumer culture it is nice to identify even a few things one can safely do without even without mental effort--in my case plastic surgery would qualify.

Anonymous said...

I've found as more family and friends get to know about my blog it's become more banal. I'm also using it as a way of avoiding other work (studying for example). But I like your idea of using it as a place to express your creativity. It doesn't always need to be directly psychiatry related. That was is madness!