Friday, February 12, 2016

Doing, reading, listening, etc

Gold Digging, by Euginia Loli

Doing; meh. It's been one of those fortnights where a stomach thing turned into a head thing turned into a glands and shivering thing and people say 'oh! The days are getting longer! Spring is coming! Isn't it wonderful?' but actually I feel shittier than I did all winter and am getting nothing much at all done and I need those people to stop talking.

I'm learning to drive (for the third time) but this time I live on a island where there isn't a driving instructor so I'm learning with Nye. I mostly don't hate this situation. He's a good teacher, takes fairly kindly to me asking him to please shut up, accepts my yelling at him when his instructions ARE NOT CLEAR with good grace and most importantly - I don't have to give him £50 every time I get in the car with him. Handing over money that I could have spent on something that didn't make me stressed, embarrassed and brimming with fury was pretty much what killed learning to drive for me that last time around. Fitting in a few hours of practise was about as productive as my week got.

Oh and I did a blog post with beach photos, taken with a real camera and edited on a computer and everything. I forgot to promote it anywhere so literally no one has seen it. How do you know about new posts now that Reader is dead? Instagram? Twitter? Facebook?  (I know, Reader has been dead for a long time, I'm in denial about blogging being O.V.E.R. Should I just stop this nonsense and write a newsletter? That's what the cool kids are doing.)

Writing; meh. This week I did three mornings instead of the five I swore I would. On those three mornings I did not do the three hours I swore I would. I'm trying this thing where I tell myself I'm easing in gently, I'm going at my own pace, I'm being kind to myself, but actually I'm scared I might just be lazy. My weekly word count is going dowwwwwwwwn, but it's still up on what it has been for the last two years, so yay for that.

Reading {paper}: I gave up on the dragon book, it just wasn't doing anything for me. For years I would not give up on a book once I had started reading it, doing so felt like a huge failure and embarrassment and sign that I was both a quitter and not a Serious Reader. Now that I have established that I actually am a quitter (and met people who are Serious Readers, who are quite clearly a league above me in the book stakes), I'm a lot happier to throw in things that aren't working for me and the number of books I don't finish is probably equal to if not greater than the number of books I reach the end of. I'm okay with this.

I am now reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about. My first experience of her writing was Americanah, which is actually possibly one of the first books that I gave up on. It pained me to do it, reading so much as I had about what a great, important novel it is, but I just couldn't get beyond the first couple of chapters. I tried a few times, but no dice and still worried that I was missing something life-changing, gave the door-stop sized book to the charity shop. Then when I was in France I read Half of a Yellow Sun and holy shit, that was a book, one of the best books I have ever read. The story is unavoidably gruelling, set as it is during the Nigerian civil war, but the characters and the story telling and the writing and well, all of those things that make a book, they were beautiful. You should read it. It will probably make you cry but it's worth it. I opened Purple Hibiscus tentatively, wondering if it would grab me like Yellow Sun or if more like Americnah, it would feel like chewing cardboard, I've only read the first five pages but within a paragraph I breathed a huge sigh of relief , it felt like a book I could get lost in.

Reading {the internets}; I have been reading a lot about BeyoncĂ© . I have never really cared about BeyoncĂ© to be honest but her latest video  Formation - sprung on her fans and the internet and America the day before she performed at the SuperBowl (apparently that's something about football, not bowling, who knew?) - is amazing. Visually it is beautiful but as a piece of protest art about race and gender and the Black Lives Matter movement it is deeply moving. This New York Times piece is a good starting point if you want to read more about it but this collection of writing by black women delves much deeper into many issues surrounding the video, from her use of post-Katrina New Orleans as a setting to her baby girl's beautiful afro to her sheer feminist badassery.

Listening: I didn't bother with Serial this week. Are you listening to it? Do you care? Does it just sound like an awful lot of men being dicks to you? I'm just not sure. I love Sarah Koenig and I miss her in this series. My favourite podcast at the moment is Death, Sex, Money with Anna Sale and this week I listened to the last two episodes - LucindaWilliams who is a country singer and Jeb Corliss who is a nutter who jumps off cliffs. I adore Anne Sale, I listen just for when she occasionally laughs, it is the realest most warming laugh on the whole radio and every time it feels like a gift.

Happy weekend. x