Happy Good Friday.
A bit later in the day, I’m off to listen to some Bach, and I have hot-cross buns cooking (recipe: Nigella’s one)*. Tonight, the family does a usual GF ritual. We play a board game (Settlers of Catan is the choice du jour) and watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian. We’ve been doing this for years – the board game, the film that is. The Bach is an addition this year, as is the me making the buns.
But last week was a pretty extraordinary one for me. I read or listened to something significant each day, Monday through Friday. It wasn’t planned that way, it just worked out, but by Thursday I was thinking to myself ‘what will it be today?’
Here’s how it went:
On the Monday it all started with a George Saunders piece in the Guardian about what writers really do when they write. I haven’t read his Tenth of December, nor have I read Lincoln in the Bardo. I have both books though and just need to devote some time to George. After reading his article, and getting a little teary in one part (where he mentions empathy, and the connection between writer and reader – I found it very moving as a reader) I realise it is truly time to get serious about George.
Tuesday I started the S-Town podcast and became immersed right from the beginning. I think I listened to three ‘chapters’ lying in bed. On Tuesday I also read an article by climate-change scientist James Lovelock *great name, by the way… the family in my upcoming novel are Lovelocks*. Lovelock the scientist says that we need to enjoy life because in twenty years ‘it’ will hit the fan. I found reading the article both depressing and uplifting. You can find it here.
Wednesday I finished S-Town. As I said on twitter: I’m not going to even try to form a précis about it; what it’s about, what it does to and for the listener. But I will say I cried (again!), that it is very literary and novelistic in the way it’s edited, how it’s character-driven, concerned with ideas and that it makes you see empathy in the world of John B McLemore in such a deep and moving way.
Thursday I woke up thinking: what’s in the day ahead? Turned out to be a Brainpickings post about the art of walking and perils of a sedentary lifestyle. Henry David Thoreau published a book called Walking. He wanted to remind us of how the ‘primal act of mobility connects us with our essential wildness’; that ‘everything good is wild and free’ and that it’s not about transport or exercise but some much more than that. I have loved Thoreau’s quotations for years, and I loved Into the Wild that was based on his words and philosophy.
And on Friday it was a TED talk, on emotional correctness.
Any one of the above would have been significant and singular. Cumulatively it made for a hell of a week. These things made me think, and feel, deeply. And realise things. That yes, I will just go for it and really plan and book that trip for next Christmas. Yes, I will make sure I keep my walks going, make them longer, and continue to look up, down and around. Yes, I will continue with my gut health and food adjustments. Yes, I will read those classics that I keep putting off.Yes, I will continue to attend to my writing and really devote to it, keep on prioritising it and try to reduce distraction, the static that gets in the way. Yes, I will install the Freedom App that I’ve known about for years and have been intending to get onto. And yes I will use it. And finally, yes, I will delete Goodreads.
* The buns are good!