… on New Year’s Day.
I don’t know if it’s silent where you are, but where I am right now, there’s not a whisper of sound anywhere. I don’t think it’s just that everyone is still asleep, or that there aren’t many cars on the road, but it’s something else – something unique to New Year’s Day every year. I always notice it (maybe because I’m usually up early-ish on January 1st!) and I always wonder why it happens. It’s like the world is holding its breath, waiting to see what sort of mood the new year is in before attracting its attention.
I hope good New Year’s Eves were had by everyone, and I hope that you all had lovely Christmases (if you celebrate Christmas – if you don’t, I hope you managed to get some time out of the ‘rat race’, anyway!) I feel like it’s been years since I dropped in to Blogland, and I’ve missed making my daily (more or less) updates; over the past few weeks, though, I’ve been simultaneously too busy, and too boring, to write on the blog! You know how it is – you find yourself with very little time on your hands, but you can’t actually account for what you’ve been doing. It’s like time gets stretched into strange shapes over the festive season. I know I lose track of what day it is, and sometimes the hours seem to drape languorously over the afternoons, making every second feel treacly and longer than it should be. Yet, despite all this ‘extra’ time, you still don’t accomplish anything much. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, and that’s been wonderful (though I did get a little stressed over preparing dinner for six last Sunday – but it went fine, and everyone walked away with their digestive tract intact, so I count that a success), and we’ve had our parents to visit over the last few days, and we’ve had some wonderful news in my family. Overall, it’s been a beautiful time, and I hope you’ve all been happy and well since last we spoke.
On the downside, I’ve only read one of the books I intended to read over the Christmas/New Year season – all my reading time seemed to get stuck into one of those treacly afternoons, where it sank without trace. It was an excellent book, though – John Green’s ‘Paper Towns’.
I really enjoyed it, even though I was sort of blown away by the concept of teenage kids with (apparently) unlimited cash reserves and their own cars, and the self-possession to think, talk and act in such confident ways. Perhaps American kids are extremely different from Irish ones; I just know when I was 17/18, my life in no way resembled that of Quentin Jacobsen or Margo Roth Spiegelman. I really enjoyed the story, though, in particular the use of Walt Whitman’s poem ‘Leaves of Grass’, which is referenced throughout. I thought it was particularly poignant that a section of the poem is taken to mean something dark and sorrowful, perhaps even a reference to suicide, by one of the teenage characters, but a teacher later explains that the reference, when taken in the context of the poem as a whole, is actually an uplifting statement on the interconnectedness of all humanity. I began to wish that more people could take the ‘wide view’ on things – in other words, that they would try to look at the context of how they might be feeling or thinking about something, and perhaps it would strike them that things are not as bad as they might seem. I also really loved the idea in this novel that ‘not all those who wander are lost’ – Margo leaves her life behind, and her friends think that all she wants is to be followed and found, but it turns out not to be so simple. I’m not sure I like the character of Margo, but I do like her spirit of adventure. I would recommend this book, though I’m not sure it will seem plausible to ordinary folk outside the US!
I’ve been doing a little writing, though I’ve left the WiP well alone. I’m planning to go back to it, starting tomorrow, and begin ruthlessly editing once more. I know there are things which need to be fixed, and I’m getting extremely antsy about the shortlist for the competition I entered – it’s due to be announced over the next few weeks. If you don’t hear me mention it again, you can assume I haven’t been shortlisted! I wrote a couple of short stories over the holiday season, though – one an absurd tale of a giant space alien which is overcome by judicious use of snot (I’m hoping to submit this to an online children’s literature journal over the next few days, in the hope they might accept it for publication), and the other is an alternative Christmas story, which you can find here (just scroll down a little when you follow the link – my story is the first comment on the blog post). So, I haven’t neglected my craft entirely, but I have let it take a back seat for a while.
I’m off to rustle up some breakfast. If you do happen to read my Christmas story, I’d be thrilled to know what you think of it. A comment, a comment, my blog-dom for a comment…
Happy New Year, and happy Tuesday. I hope that 2013 will be a happy and peaceful one for you and your families and friends. Hopefully, you’ll stick with me here on the blog as I negotiate the brave and scary new world I’ve dropped myself into!