Ooh, a pit! We love pits! Cuz…Edgar Allan Poe, y’know?
The Pit of Discomfiture
Or, Where Creatives Fall into Despair
by Julie Zhuo
The last time I fell into the Pit was a week ago.
It happened because I got Internet-lost, which is to say I was following links across the web indiscriminately when I stumbled across an old hauntand inspiration like an aurora borealis struck me: I used to draw! And I wasn’t half bad! So why don’t I make like Monet, bust out the trusty ol’ Wacom, and whip up a nice little piece of art? With a few loose strokes, I could paint a sunset masterpiece, some golden fields, a capybara or two…
This is how it starts. Your eye sees something that moves you, so your hand yearns to create: a photograph you cannot put into words, a passage of pure poetry, a finely-tuned composition, an insouciantly tucked shirt, a stroke or two of wisdom, a speech that ricochets in your ribcage long after your eardrums have stopped vibrating.
See, the world holds things of such beauty that once you are made aware of them, you think—foolishly, perhaps—that maybe it is your calling to create such things as well. You think—stupidly, of course—that because you picked up the pen or the instrument or the handbook and because you are bathed in the light of inspiration, the place you want to get to will be easy. You can see the destination clearly, after all, and it does not seem so far away.
A few steps in, you realize how wrong you are. The road beneath you crumbles, and suddenly you fall into the Pit of Discomfiture.
The Pit of Discomfiture is a place with which I am well acquainted, having spent a good number of years here on the way to every conceivable destination, all the while pretending I were someplace more pleasant, like on a sandy beach or up along a mountain ridge, anywhere other than this dank, dark pit of self-loathing.
I was in the Pit weeks after designer became a part of my professional title and, having little clue what that meant, I embarked on an hours-long argument with a fellow designer about the merits of Windows versus MacOS.