Two weeks to the end of the year. I am looking forward to 2018 as I always do look forward to new years, new weeks, new days. They are always a chance to start again, and goodness knows I need a fresh start.
I’ve been trying to squeeze in a new read or two before the end of 2017, but nothing apart from Mt Anderson’s Landscape With Invisible Hand is sticking. Even so, it’s going very slowly, like I like it, but my attention keeps drifting.
This morning I started re-reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. I think I need something familiar and comforting to see me through Christmas, but I’m not sure if I’ll re-read all five books. I’ve also just started Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. Just a page or so in, but I’m hopeful that I will want to carry on.
I’ve been spending a lot of time getting my 2018 planners ready. I have two: an ana.tomy monthly planner with lots of extra pages (blank, grid and dotted) that I intend to use solely for work; and a Muji dotted notebook that I hope to use as a daily (bullet) journal to help me be organised in my non-professional life. I have spent 2017 drifting and procrastinating, even more than usual, and this needs to change. I really need to be more productive, more disciplined, and more switched on. Also, I need to save for Japan. Now, that’s something to look forward to!
I see that the last time I blogged was on 23rd November. The time has gone by so quickly, but, at the same time, my life creeps by and even yesterday feels like long time ago.
I haven’t been feeling great, but that’s not my excuse for not blogging. After all, do I need an excuse not to blog? No.
The truth is I just haven’t felt like it. And also, I haven’t felt like anything much, not even reading. I’ve completed just one book since my last post: Akata Witch (a re-read) by Nnedi Okorafor. (I liked it even better this time round.)
The other book I’m supposed to be reading is MT Anderson’s Landscape with Invisible Hand, but I’m failing, not because it isn’t good. Do I sound crazy when I say that some books hold you at arm’s length? I don’t know, maybe I’m projecting.
I just started Elizabeth Taylor’s The Wedding Group and hope to have better luck there, but I shall also try harder with Anderson’s novel.
While I was in George Town, apart from Akata Witch, I read Dina Zaman’s new collection Holy Men, Holy Women. It’s a compilation of her Malaysian Insider (I think) columns and I stopped reading because I couldn’t bear it: It’s shallow and ignorant and silly. I am supposed to review it for The Star, but I wonder if I can afford to make yet another enemy. Well, perhaps Dina will be sensible about it.
I will blog more regularly. I hope I will be more organised and more diligent and disciplined in 2018. Must try harder all round.
Once, many years ago, I knocked on the front door of a stranger’s house just to get a glimpse of what was inside.
Windows and doors hint at and promise so much. They are literal entrances into other worlds.
Someone did answer the door I knocked on, all those years ago, and I seem to remember a dark and empty hallway: Nothing to see, move along, move along. I don’t know what I’d expected. Probably nothing. It was not knowing that spurred me into action. The possibility of what lay behind the polished wooden slats was irresistible. The reality could not help but be a disappointment.
I recently realised that I’d gone four months without writing a WIP report that I usually update every two months. It helps me and my higher-up keep up with mss that I’m working on, but of late there’s been not much happening except a lot of reading and commenting, and then more reading of re-writes. Anyway, I could have sworn that it wasn’t more than a month or so that I’d last done a WIP spread sheet, but actually, the last one was for April/May 2017. Oh the horror.
Time is passing by too fast. That is the way it is when you’re a grown-ass woman with responsibilities. But maybe it’s also the case if you’re drifting, sleeping the days away and letting each day fade into the next so that they end up being indistinguishable. (One day I shall take a three-month holiday to do just that.)
I’ve been busy. Reading and assessing mss take up big, fat chunks of time and yet it feels like you’re not doing too much and you end up thinking that you should be more active and productive. Then there is all the usual management of the household, which is exhausting and takes up so much time and leaves me feeling totally zonked.
Then I went to Penang for four nights, and it was mostly lovely, but also stressful because I spent a great deal of time with family, and let’s just say that a couple of them brought out the worst in a couple of others. Also, there were two under threes present and just looking at children that age makes me tired.
I spent my final night at an airbnb, alone, and had two half-days pottering about George Town, which I loved. I was thinking of going to Hanoi, but I’m now thinking maybe I should go to George Town again.
I need more time alone, to do nothing but wander and wonder, and read and think about the million things I want to do.
I’m just gonna jump straight in (and I may or may not add to this list from time to time):
Do NOT ask me how I am/how I’m doing/if I’m OK unless you are truly interested in my answer. If you are hoping/expecting that I will respond with the standard ‘I’m fine/OK’, you may be in for a surprise. There are days when I will just say I’m alright regardless of how I really feel, but most of the time I will tell you how things actually are, and if you don’t want to know then it’s best not to start the ball rolling.
If I say I’m worried or stressed or unhappy, do NOT respond by telling me to ‘Relax’.
‘If I say I am struggling to pay my bills, do NOT reply, ‘Almost everyone has money problems’ and ‘There are a lot more people who are worse off than you’.