art vs craft

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few months about art and craft. They seem as if they should be interchangeable terms, as they go together so often in our language. Yet it is only art that we apply the term “fine” to. The “Fine Arts”: drama, music, writing, visual arts, etc.

This, to me, exemplifies the difference between art and craft. I believe Art is based in talent, a calling to create. It begins as a gift of creativity, an ability to transubstantiate emotion and thought into something others can experience. Creating something is an astonishing process, one Elizabeth Gilbert called, “Big Magic” for a reason.

Craft is more achievable to me than art. Craft is when you practice crafting something. It is ironic we call a craftsperson an “artisan”, a word that conjures up images of a handcrafted product. Craft is what we associate with making things, with shaping and perfecting aesthetics, perhaps, but ultimately with a functional product. That may be something as prosaic as a clay bowl, or as decorative as jewelry, but it is a tangible, functional item meant, mostly, for use.

In an age where so much work is now knowledge based, where does that leave us for craft? Are we no longer artisans? I believe that means we have to adapt our ideals of craft to intangible work. Knowledge work is now a craft. My expertise in digital marketing and in business is my craft. It is the work that produces something functional which I practice every day.

Art, however, remains art. The arts have always been a form of knowledge work, producing intangible, cerebral creations. That has not changed. That’s what makes art, the idea of transforming neutral, bland materials into full neural responses. And still – every art is also a craft. There is talent involved in art, but how does one become adept and skilled at transforming that talent into a chosen medium, unless one practices? That’s where art and craft dovetail again, in the requirement for practice, repetition, that constant refinement and polishing of words the same way a blacksmith would polish and re-shape a sword. It’s the challenge of making something that’s as perfect when formed as it was in it initial ideal. Without the same practice one would apply to a craft, art has far less impact and may not even be viable.

It is hard to create art in a form that one isnt innately familiar with. When I noodle on the piano in free-form mode, I still use music theory to pick out the harmonies and chords. I still calculate the relative minors and majors, dominant sevenths, diminished minors. I couldn’t create without that framework.

So an art must be practiced like a craft. Craft can also, at its most practiced, become art. Once an artisan has the practice of creation down, they can take it to the next level, embellishing and decorating, stretching the medium into something extraordinary. This is where craft becomes art, where the statements and thoughts, emotions and intellect, are added to a piece to make it resonate in our minds instead of merely functioning.

What are my arts and what are my crafts? I see writing as a craft. I see my work as a craft. I see music as my art, although I work at it like a craft. No matter what the medium though, I feel the same part of my brain light up when I translate a thought into a medium outside my brain. When I have the right answers at work, when I have just the right word for a blog post, when I hear music in my mind and replicate it on a keyboard, it all hits my brain the same way. It lights something up in me. Whether it is art or craft, do we not all need to have something that lights each of us up?

Perhaps I am thinking about this too hard. Arts and crafts are what each of us have, on some level, to make us extraordinary. It’s what lights our brains up and, if we practice hard enough, we can even extend that to other people and their brains. Both are miraculous that way.


Yay, winter solstice!

This will come as a possible surprise to anyone who knows me: I love the winter holiday season.  This is mostly because it is such a special time to spend with my family around the Northeast, as we do the loop from Brooklyn to Toronto to Pittsburgh to spend the season with the people we love the most.  But I also love this time of year because it is a season of light.  No matter which side of my heritage I’m celebrating, this is a season of kindling light.

Hanukkah is the festival of lights itself, during which we light candles for the sole purpose of looking at them and celebrating the light they give.  Yet Hanukkah is a festival celebrating a historical event, although it could well be related to the solstice.  Being from a dark northern climate, I also feel kinship with the solstice festivals that began millennia ago as celebrations against the dark.  What I love about the winter holidays is the celebration of light and life, the warding off of the cold and dark and the fear and sadness the winter elements bring.  I love the winter solstice festivals that are basically a giant “f–k you” to Death.

We’re gonna get at LEAST 12 days of NOT FREEZING out of this Yule log

Growing up in a household heavy in English customs, I also have a deep nostalgia for the heavy use of greenery during a winter festival.  We trimmed the living room with holly off the holly bush from the backyard, which was a nice counterpoint to the traditional fake Christmas tree (the kind from Sears, of course, that Dad bought in 1975).    The use of these symbolic plants dates back to the Druids in the UK, and show understanding and respect of the changing of the seasons.  I like having those traditions to celebrate and respect nature.  After all, even with all our technology, all our artificial light, we still cannot stop the days from becoming shorter every year.

Recently, in researching Santa Claus’ origins to explain to Ben, I also ran across a great article linking Santa Claus to Odin, and his eight reindeer to the eight legs of Odin’s horse.  I loved this concept.  “Don’t take the Christ out of Christmas” is not nearly as cool a statement as “Don’t take the Odin out of Yule.”  After all, the Norse were running England up until the Norman invasion in the eleventh century, and still had sizable pockets of influence well into the twentieth.  It is completely plausible to me that these old Viking beliefs merged with the German traditions into the codified Merry Ye Olde English Christmas imagery forever preserved as documented by Charles Dickens.

At the heart of all these traditions though, we still see the light.  We have the Yule Log.  We have candles galore.  We have the tradition of extravagance of light.  Imagine, in an era where materials for candles are limited to bees wax or tallow, where light is expensive.  Imagine lighting those candles with abandon, as a celebration of life, against the long, cold dark winter of northern places.  It’s enough to make one want to sing for joy.

We light the Hanukkah candles and eat fried foods in a similar sense of joy celebrating the miracle of the oil that lasted eight nights.  We say the prayers each night saying that we “kindle light”.  This is where the two disparate halves of my heritage come together, in the kindling of light against the dark, and in the celebration of the shortest day of the year…and in the time we spend with the people we love in the process.

Speaking of which, we are back from our long, cold loop around the Northeast!  It’s been another successful year of driving the wintry freeways from Brooklyn to Toronto to Pittsburgh.  Those adventures, however, will have to wait for a future post.



The author my son and husband BOTH dislike

Image result for perdido street stationOne of my favorite fantasy series is China Mieville’s “New Crobuzon” trilogy: Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council.  This is the steampunk and magic laced world with a corrupt capitalist government, where social, racial and cultural differences are exploited for the political and fiscal gain of the corrupt upper echelons of the city (a familiar story).  The city of New Crobuzon itself is an alternate existence of London, dense with neighborhoods that spiral out over time from a central point on its Thames, the Gross Tar.  Each neighborhood has a history, each neighborhood has its races and cultures, each one is distinct.  New Crobuzon, as a world, is as much about urban history and urban geography and urban sociology as it is a fantasy realm.

I love cities.  I love the stories of cities, how they grow, how neighborhoods are built and change over time.  Therefore, I threw myself wholeheartedly into Perdido Street Station.  I saw, in my imagination, the descriptions of each neighborhood, from the scientific quarter of Brock Marsh, to the abandoned projects of Dog Fenn.  I understood the backstories of how neighborhoods came to be occupied by specific immigrant groups.  I especially loved reading about some neighborhoods went from mansions to slums and back again, keeping tenements as museums to past poverty in their midst (we have one of those!).  And I especially appreciated that, as in all great cities, New Crobuzon grew along its trains, its El, the trains the commuters still take each day, the million ordinary people of a fantasy world, traveling to and from work in a universe full of monsters and magic, between their version of the Outer Boroughs and their white-collar jobs.

Paul was not as much a fan of this concept.  He’s fine with world building – he has slugged through King’s Dark Tower series, which I don’t have patience for – but not an urban studies textbook disguised as a steampunk fantasy.   His response was that Mieville spent too much time city building and writing a Lonely Planet: New Crobuzon and not enough time actually developing characters or plot.  I pointed out that the character development is great in New Crobuzon, it’s just that each character also has to function as a representation of their class, race and culture almost as much as they are a separate being in their own right.  Each character has to also either exemplify their people, or illustrate their community through their outcast or outsider status.  Nothing tells us about a people and their culture like those they choose to exile among them.

Therefore, I should not have been surprised when Ben flat out refused to engage with the children’s version of New Crobuzon: Un Lun Dun.  We’re attempting to read this right now as the nightly bedtime story, and I’m just not getting anywhere with it. There’s a lot of eye rolling, especially when I have to explain the English language:

Image result for un lun dunME: Binja!  Get it?  Bin…ja?  They’re bin ninjas?
BEN: They’re garbage cans with legs and nunchuks
ME: English people call a trash can a bin.
BEN: *eye roll*

I also love Un Lun Dun.  It’s not the flip side of London that Kraken is, but it is a travelogue through a London’s dreams, a city built of London’s cast offs, both material and thought, a city of random buildings and people, traditions and creatures.  There’s ghosts and monsters, creatures of all  shapes and sizes.  There’s houses made from M.O.I.L. – Mildly Obsolete In London – which means typewriters and cassette tapes.  There’s even a November Tree, a tree made of solid light from Guy Fawkes fireworks.  And my favorite part of Un Lun Dun is how it flips the heroine’s journey around, changing how we think of destiny in these kind of children’s stories.  Perhaps it is time that the world gets saved by the “funny one”, not by the chosen one.


The ab-city, with its houses and dwellings made of everything, in every shape.

Ben, however, is not nearly as charmed and interested in visualizing the ab-city.  I therefore blame Paul for this.  My husband is less into world building that I am.  I want all my books to come with an expansive geography.  I own a copy of the Dictionary of Imaginary Places.  I love maps, I love places, I love cities,  and I love imaginary worlds that come complete with entire sociological histories..  Paul, however, would like his books to be less of an atlas of a mythological land and more of an actual plot and character driven tome.  I suspect our son has taken after his father because attempts to pull Ben into the fantasy books with the best, most memorable and detailed worlds have been met with resistance.  According to Ben, Narnia is boring.  Earthsea was really boring.  (Middle-Earth we are still working on).

I’ll keep working on this.  I want my son to have that sense of expansive imagination, to be able to imagine other worlds, with their own history and mythology, their own rules of physics and magic.  We’re going to flip into Neverwhere on audiobook over the  break.  I’ve got twenty-plus hours to fill with Gaiman and Tolkein and Lewis…and we are going to get through the rest of Un Lun Dun if it kills me.  I just have to figure out how to get my son excited about exploring these imaginary worlds with his mama.


top eight things I really want to discuss at the expat party

Tonight is the Canadian Association of New York party at the Canadian owned Dirt Candy.  This is a restaurant that usually hosts informal Canada nights on Mondays anyways, so this just seems to be a super-sized one.  I am very much looking forward to spending time with other Canadians.  I’m going on my own, assuming once I get there, as I am at any Canadian expat bar, I’ll be welcomed.  Still, to ensure I do not backtrack into my socially awkward self, I’ve come up with a list of conversation starters that aren’t the deep, serious discussion of Socialism vs. Capitalism and Common Good vs. Individualism that I’d love to have with anyone else living here.

8.  Did any of us know as kids that the Man in Motion song is actually the theme song to St Elmos Fire and not just Rick Hansen’s theme song?

My husband failed to get my reaction of OMG RICK HANSEN this last time we heard this song in a bar.  I TOLD HIM SO.

7. WTF is with softwood lumber trading being a thing again?  Is this, much like Chinese steel, something Trump used himself to build his hotels and then decided to heavily tariff once he didn’t need to purchase it anymore?

6. If the crappy American bands are doing shows, like Better than Ezra opening for Counting Crows, why isn’t there a tour with the CLEARLY SUPERIOR Canadian bands of the same era? Actually, where are Our Lady Peace these days, anyways?


6. We are all still sad about Gord.

Canada literally shut down when Gord Downie died.  

5. So when someone says “lovers”, every Canadian’s knee jerk reaction is to say OH IN  A DANGEROUS TIME, right?

4. Alias Grace.  Wasn’t it an outstanding interpretation of the book?  How did it manage to be both psychologically disturbing and aesthetically beautiful at the same time?  Do we think Netflix will make anything as good with the $500M they’re investing in Canadian content?

3. Also in Canadian made TV…how the hell did Heritage Minutes beat out Degrassi on the Canadian most memorable TV brackets?

2. Why exactly are we all still in this country, run by a madman, where individualism and individual rights are prized more highly than the common good?  Have we not all considered going home to Canada, where our laws function on the side of greater society, and where our Prime Minister tries to set a positive tone to unite, not divide, the country? Oh, wait, I totally meant to NOT get into this…

  1. Seriously…the Most Memorable TV Thing!



the nightmare before christmas, live in brooklyn!

Last Wednesday, I took the boys to see the Nightmare before Christmas – Live to Film. It was the projected film, with live music and vocals by the original cast voices. That meant Danny Elfman, in person, belting out the part of Jack Skellington, in front of a full two hundred piece orchestra and backing vocal chorus, below the projected film. It was amazing.
Featuring famous Canadian Catherine O’Hara!
Nightmare, along with Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, are part of the goth canon for my generation. Burton’s early work is what fits with the whimsical, dark faeryland aesthetic of second generation goth, both due to the constant reference of death in imagery, and the elongated lines, dark curlicues, and stark contrast stripes. That is the the Tim Burton aesthetic, and Nightmare, with its horror theme, Halloween imagery and Danny Elfman soundtrack, is a pinnacle of goth entertainment.
It’s also worth noting here that, while Oingo Boingo are considered goth adjacent, I do not believe they are considered goth canon. Except for “Dead Man’s Party“, and that I heard more as the Last Dance cover at Bar Sinister. Paul, however, enjoys Oingo Boingo quite a bit, and, as he remarked to me at the end of the movie, this was the closest we would get to an Oingo Boingo concert for a long time. The fact that it wasn’t an Oingo Boingo concert though did not stop us from occasionally quiet-yelling “PLAY DEAD MAN’S PARTY” or “ONLY A LAD!”
Ben is not yet a fan of Oingo Boingo (Paul is working on it), but he loves Nightmare and even asks to watch it in off season (That’s my baby.). He likes the movie so much that he even took a second run at watching its cousin film, the recent adaptation of Gaimans Coraline. (Still too scary.) This event appealed so much to our family that I invested in the mid-range seats at the Barclays Center so we could actually see the performers.
We walked in to find genius product placement: Hot Topic ads featuring Jack Skellington. I dislike the appropriation of Jack Skellington as this sort of bad boy symbol in general, and I squarely blame Hot Topic. Still. Genius product placement.  Then again, Nightmare does inspire some things that sound like a Hot Topic imploded into a quasar of overkill.

Marilyn Manson is also NOT GOTH.
I read retroactively that “Barclay’s Center will become Halloweentown!” and that costumes were encouraged, but I didn’t see anything themed or otherwise.  I did see a handful of outfits and Jack Skellington T-shirts, but no effort on the part of the venue was visible as we walked halfway around it to get to our seats.
We sat down just in time for the warm up: Disney’s Silly Skeletons, with a live score performed by the orchestra. I forget how deeply disturbing some of these early cartoons are. Multiple points in this were nightmare fuel:
Image result for silly skeletons disney
The next piece was a medley of the score, with what I assume were Tim Burton’s original pencil crayon drawings. Ben was very impressed at the drawings and asked if Tim Burton was also an artist.  We had just finished explaining that yes, he was, but he was best known for directing movies, like the original 1987 Batman and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure but by then the movie had started.
Overture with drawings, which someone kindly posted on YouTube
Right away for the opening number, five cast members filed onto stage, whom we assume were all original score, launching right into “This is Halloween”.  It wasn’t until Jack’s first song that Danny Elfman came out, singing “Jack’s Lament” with an incredible intensity.  I haven’t seen Elfman sing live before, so therefore I was amazed by his depth of sound.  Also, like everyone else on stage, he was clearly having a freaking blast.  Despite singing a lament despairing of the sameness of every day in Halloween Town, Danny Elfman was still downright joyful.
That would prove to be the theme for the evening.  I have rarely seen a performer enjoy themselves as much as this cast was.  Ken Page, singing the Oogie Boogie song, was delighted to be there, and was having so much fun with his performance that it took all the fear out of that most nightmarish of characters.  Catherine O’Hara came out and sang “Sally’s Song”, perfectly note for note as she did a quarter century ago, emoting Sally’s tragic longing while still having a good time being on stage.  There is something to being at a show where the performers have that contagious joy at being there.
I was just so impressed with this production.  I can’t even begin to imagine the work to take the score and sound layers apart and put them back together to sync up to the orchestra and singers.  To do so, the original creators of the idea must have had to determine where the live music and voices would cut in, and give direction to sound engineers to specifically take track layers out at those moments.  It must have been incredibly detailed work that would require stress-testing with performers.
For that matter, I can’t imagine being in an orchestra performing an entire score all at once.  That’s insane, two hours of performing a score straight through without more than the intermission break, plus the opening cartoon and overture.  How would you have the entire score on your stand and manage to turn the pages and keep up and play flawlessly for that long?  I am blown away with the caliber of musicians that performed this soundtrack, beginning to end.
For all these reasons – for the concept of seeing a live-to-film movie perfectly edited, for the joy of the performers singing on stage, for the quality of the musicians who performed, I was so glad we were able to go.  It’s our way of celebrating the holiday season: by watching a movie where Halloween nightmares try to reproduce Christmas and end up terrifying everyone.  Every family has its traditions.  This was a particularly special way for us to celebrate ours.

cutting back on caffeine IS KILLING ME

A few weeks ago, my brain hit a wall.  That is the best metaphor I can come up with,  not just because I hit a limit, but because that’s what it felt like. It felt like my brain was actually damaged. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t process information or  communicate normally.  There were times when I struggled to string words together, much less manage to go into Marketer Speak Mode, in which I use buzzwords on autopilot to sound authoratative in meetings. (“What we need is a closed digital tracking ecosystem that mirrors the customer journey,” is the kind of phrase I throw out in that mode).

This isn’t an entirely new state for my brain. I am used to a fairly bad depressive jag around November, when the days get shorter and the time change happens. Layering seasonal affective on top of existing clinical depression creates an annual drop in dopamine and serotonin that I can’t keep in check with the same practices that work the rest of the time.

This jag, however, was worse than any other year in that it was not only mentally worse,  but that it brought a whole new set of physical symptoms. I get a slight vertigo when I am in a depressive state, a light dizziness combined with a sense that the world is on a 15 degree angle.  In addition to that, I had a permanent headache that Advil couldn’t fix. And I was completely exhausted,  lethargic in a way beyond my usual seasonal affective disorder. It was bad in that it actually kept me from doing stuff.  I went so far as to be tested for Lyme, and the doctor threw a thyroid test in to boot, but no conventional test could explain the problems I was experiencing.

After ten days of this, I was also running out of hope to get through it. What if I had done something to my brain?  What if I had actually broken it and my usual methods wouldn’t work ever again?  I am used to being able to control my depression with a regime I’ve spent the past five years working on, a base of medication that covers about half the problem, and then a series of lifestyle changes that cover most of the remainder.  But with the extreme lethargy and the headaches, I wasn’t able to get enough exercise, and exercise is a huge part of my mental health regime.  What if I never got past this?

I was complaining about this to a friend, about how I felt.  I told her the physical symptoms reminded me of the times I’ve gone off caffeine suddenly, like I’d been given decaf.  I couldn’t feel the impact of the coffee I was drinking, so I kept slugging back more of it.  Similarly, I couldn’t feel the effects of my antidepressant medication.  Her response was that maybe coffee was actually the problem.  Maybe coffee was over-stressing my brain.  Maybe that was causing part of the issue?

My immediate response when someone suggests I cut back on coffee is OVER MY DEAD BODY.  I’ve been drinking coffee since I was twelve.  I asked my mom if I could start drinking it, and her response was, “It will stunt your…..oh, have a mug.”  At twelve, I wasn’t freakishly tall, but it was obvious stunting my growth would Not Be A Problem, that I was trending after my namesake, “Big Jill”, my 5’11 aunt.  My entire adult brain has therefore been formed around caffeine.  I have a long history of it that I documented twelve years ago when I tried to quit the first time.  I’ve tried quitting in the past, and found that my personality doesn’t function the same way.  Gone is my innate Canadian Tigger-ness.  Instead, I’m much more like a Kanga, a risk-averse milquetoast mom.  (Obviously the last time I did this, I had a toddler.)

However, after ten days of my brain feeling like it was alternately too big for my skull, or missing entirely, I was willing to consider options.  So I did some research.  Turns out coffee can actually damage serotonin receptors over time! It turns out it can also wear out norepinephrine receptors.  I take Burproprion, the generic Wellbutrin, which is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (different than most antidepressants, which are serotonin reuptake inhibitors).  This keeps extra norepinephrine in my brain, which seems to be the missing chemical link in allowing me to function like a normal human most of the time.  Maybe by damaging the receptors with caffeine, I had actually canceled out the effects of the NRI?  Or I had made it difficult for my brain to process serotonin, eliminating a set of positive emotions entirely?  Or I had produced too much cortisol and was exaggerating the effects with coffee?  All the theories sounded like caffeine could be a factor.  Therefore, I decided to cut caffeine back and see what happened.

Ten days ago, I stopped drinking my afternoon pick me up cup of coffee.  And I itched for that coffee.  I would droop at my desk in the overheated client office around 2pm, and long to be able to go down and get an almond milk latte from the in-house coffee bar.  I still need a ten minute nap at 3pm because I can’t just slug back more caffeine like I have trained myself to do so I can push through. (Note that I do not always get said ten minute nap because work).

Last week, I cut from two 12oz cups in the morning to just one 12oz cup.  This would be fine at the time, but then I’d be sleepy mid-afternoon again, and be unable to go get a pick me up cup at 2pm.  On some days, the half-life would wear off as early as 11am and I’d be sleepy before it was even lunchtime.

This week, I’m down to one 8oz cup.  One normal cup.  Granted, I went through 3 cups of organic instant decaf yesterday (partly because I was mixing MCT oil in for a snack) but I’m down to less coffee than I’ve had in twenty-five years.   This isn’t easy for me.  I’m used to combating any fatigue with coffee.    I’m used to caffeine being what powers me through my day.  Now, I’m drinking organic decaf as a placebo, which is useless.  My brain is not fooled, and it wants that steady drip of something that fights off sleepiness through its entire day.

And it may be that the coffee was the problem because I feel better.  Actually, not just better, I feel joyful.  I feel like everything in my world is fantastic (true, my life is awesome) and each and every day will be a wonderful set of experiences.  Most of all, I believe that I will have the energy and the physical ability to actually go and engage with that world instead of being physically and mentally exhausted.  It’s a night and day change from the state I was in ten days ago, where I felt like the world around me would go by and I would just count down time in it, unable to rouse myself to move, and unable to feel anything positive even if I did.

Is this all due to the caffeine cutback?  Maybe.  It could also be the L-tyrosine I started taking.  It could be that this episode just ran its course and my brain healed itself.  I know part of the headache was actually allergies – after re-visiting my morning Zyrtec, those went away almost entirely as well.  But i’m still working on cutting back caffeine just in case that’s the dominating factor.  I’ll cut down that 8oz of caffeinated coffee to decaf on Thursday…and over Thanksgiving weekend, I will actually try to go without coffee.  (This is also why I’m staying home over Thanksgiving to detox and sleep)

Still, I’m just not willing to risk resuming that old habit just yet.  I’d like to see how much better my brain gets, how much I can heal myself.  I’m not ever going to not have to deal with depression, but at least I have done the work to alleviate the symptoms most of the time, and reduced a chronic condition down to an occasional flare-up.  Cutting back on caffeine may be part of that self-care regimen that I have to accept in future.

simulated caffeine withdrawal

Last Friday, I hit a wall.  I ran out of energy.  I thought it was a depressive episode at first, triggered by hormones, a unique facet of depression that only biological females have to contend with.  Then it stretched out for a week of exhaustion, of headaches and dizziness, of a slightly elevated pulse, of a need to constantly nap or rest.  Now I’m not sure what it is, if it’s depression that has extended itself into physical symptoms or a physical condition that’s causing me to be exhausted and subsequently depressed.  Given that cardio – either running or cycling or HIIT – is a key part of my self-care and depression maintenance, it may just be that my inability to muster the energy for exercise is making the mental condition worse, feeding into the cycle.
Whatever it is, I would like it to stop so I can have my life back.  It feels like I’m in caffeine withdrawal, like someone has swapped my two cups of high octane organic coffee with decaf.  It feels like the norepinephrine and dopamine that my antidepressants are supposed to keep in my brain are missing again.  It feels like any and all stimulants, whether from the antidepressants or from caffeine, are simply missing, leaving me in a state of withdrawal and misery and exhaustion.  It feels like my batteries are drained.  Maybe I’m sick, maybe I’m depressed – I have too many x– factors to be able to tell.
I thought it was enough that I already spent hours every week trying to hack my brain and correct the chemical imbalance I was born with.  I have a problem with my brain’s wiring, an inherited depressive condition that causes a complete lack of motivation.  Superficial research indicates that this is a problem with the receptors in my brain: I do not get any sort of positive reward for tasks accomplished or for actions that should give me joy.  Hence, a sort of Eeyore-ish response of “why bother?” to every possible action.  Why accomplish anything?  Why even get out of bed if there are no positive emotions to be had for it?
This is not the best way to live my life right now.  I’d like to have my normal existence back now please.  Perhaps there is a physical reason I feel this way.  I hope it’s something I can figure out, fix, and get back to my normal existence