Rob C., you aren't alone. Grief and depression and "stuckness" happen to most people. If you can join a non-photography hobbyists' group (eg, community chorus), or go to church/temple/mosque and work on a community assistance project with fellow congregants, or volunteer as docent at a museum or zoo, or... any activity that isn't photography and gets you out among people, it might help with the depression and stuckness. I am not being a pollyanna, this is what I have done in the past and present to get out of major depression and stay out. Sciemtific research, or photography, or any single pursuit, can't provide everything to a person's spirit.
Thanks for the interest, and it really is appreciated, but the trouble is that I’ve never been much of a ‘joiner’ and this LuLa thing is about as far as I’ve ever gone into habit! I did find myself invited to join a local ‘art’ group a few year ago, and I did so along with maybe eighty other people. Within a year the numbers had fallen to a core of perhaps twenty or fifteen, the eighty never turned up at any meeting, just on paper prior to the inauguration, and even the original president walked out at the end of the first year: the reason was language. The guy was from Madrid and didn’t speak the local patois which is a version of Catalan. The ‘official’ language is supposed to be Castilian but on this island there is the same heady sense of isolation and nationalism that affects many other tiny groupings who find themselves washed up on the edges of the main national identity, and they take refuge in being difficult. In effect, though most local people speak both versions of Spanish perfectly, they refused to continue with the lingua franca everyone else foreign to the island understood… so, when the second year began I realised it was all going right over my head – intentionally. I didn’t return after the first meeting of that second year, and left them to carry on speaking in code.
I didn’t leave much. During the first year they organized a series of shows and absurd events over a couple of weeks of peak tourist season. At the first meeting post-events, the folks at the helm were praising the shows as a success. When I asked how many painting, photographs, sculptures etc. had been sold, the answer was one. I replied that in my sense of definition, that wasn’t success, it was financial disaster. I was greeted by a nervous giggle… who needs this crap? Fantasists.
Actually, one of the greatest problems faced is time: it takes forever to get out of the apartment every day, and I don’t really want to venture forth unwashed, a mess of breakfast dishes and unmade bed (hmm… sounds an idea) awaiting my return! That leaves half a day to think self, and I do my best with some luck at times and often none at all. The thing is, working for a living is a thing that brings its own unavoidable disciplines, but messing about as a retired old geezer is something very else! For a start, one no longer has the energy or physical strength to cart stuff around very far. But anyway, on that score, I long ago concluded that it made more sense to venture forth with a single lens and do what one could with it without the distractions of ‘choice’.
I understand your point about looking for something outwith snaps, but to tell the truth, I have a limited set of abilites, and though I’d enjoy getting into music, I have no talent for that, and even the pros that I used to photograph have had next to no gigs this winter nor yet this summer. The crisis. Nobody spends anything they can avoid spending. Not much MFD about these parts, but I could be mistaken and have just never seen it.