That deafening sound is the huge, sucking vortex that was my February. Where the ever-loving hell did it even go? It went to the Olympics and my new obsession with curling, I suppose. Figures, it’s a Scottish sport. I can’t get by a week without something Scottish grabbing my ankle, interrupting me, disrupting my attention.
I hate to say it, but mostly I frittered the month away. I didn’t finish one, single book this month. Not even The Ballad of Peckham Rye. I was, and am, at most 20 pages from the end, but have I turned that last page?
Why no. No, I haven’t.
I’ve re-engaged with it, though, started over and I’m enjoying it more – probably because I’m paying actual attention. It’s funny, quirky Muriel Spark, no trace of the nastiness of Memento Mori. Did I mention I didn’t like that book?
Because I really didn’t like that book.
Peckham Rye features a Scot who may or may not be the devil. On his head are the stumps of horns. He jokingly – or is it joking? – tells people he is the dark one. Is he? Give me 20 pages and I’ll tell you.
Oh, Jaysus. More Scots.
Books I Was Reading, but Did Not Finish, in February:
The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Ruby by Cynthia Bond
Other stuff I touched but didn’t get far enough to include in the count.
Barracoon is about one of the last surviving slaves to cross the Atlantic, written by one of the greatest southern writers of all time: Zora Neale Hurston. I’m full to bursting thinking about it.
There’s more, but pacing. Pacing, as in they’re all over the house, and I’m sitting comfortably. Or, not so much comfortably, but settled. I’m old; it takes effort getting off the floor. Do you mind if I tell you later?
February was pretty much the month of who cares. The black dog came sniffing at my door, bringing a thing that’s very much occupying my mind. A thing I cannot control, which is usually where depression gets you. If it were something I could control, I’d have done something about it. As it is, my hands are tied.
I know, I know. It’s not fair teasing. Uncharacteristically, I’m not forthcoming. That tells you it’s something that really matters, that’s precariously perched.
Something I hope will resolve in my favor – for the best, rather.
The reading thing, though. That really bothers me. Reading is my refuge, and when I can’t retreat to that I go a bit crazy. Instead, I filled my time with volunteering (a good thing), TV (not great, but forgivable for the Olympics) and hanging framed photo prints on my walls. The majority are from the UK, but a couple from Paris and Brussels, even Niagara Falls, made the cut. I culled my hard drive.
I really did diddly squat in February.
How can I turn all this around in March? Well, the days are lengthening. That helps the mood. The fire is rekindling, that’s crucial. The Olympics are over… no more curling. And, I’m again losing myself in books, if only for short spaces.
March will be better. Not perfect, but better. Three steps forward, 2.5 steps back. That’s still progress.
For one thing, I have five days off at the end of March, my birthday through April Fool’s Day, and oh my god that just occurred to me HOW IRONIC. I’m going somewhere, I just don’t know where. When I go, you’ll know. I’ll photograph the living hell out of it.
I will finish some Muriel Spark, A Clockwork Orange, Ruby and Barracoon. I’ll read more about Muriel Spark in the bio by Stannard, and finish or make peace parting with the stragglers. I’ll start outlining an Ian Rankin novel, which I mentioned months ago, to study its innards. Then, I’ll start planning the next crop.
I’ll volunteer, I’ll write, I’ll engage in activities that don’t involve TV.
So long, February. I can’t say I’ll miss you.
Welcome, March. I have a feeling you’ll bring much better things.