Monday, February 04, 2019

January: the Case for the Defence

So that's January gone again to wherever it is that the lapsed months go once we've finished with them. It gets a bad press: Dry January, Veganuary, the sort of nicknames that suggest gloom, misery and depression, even if you're paying no attention to the recommendations for infliction of self-torture.

But I like January. December is such a frantic month, when you're not only shopping for presents, cooking for celebrations, cleaning the house, going to parties when your back is sore and the conversation is even more achingly boring, while the social smile is so fixed that it's actually hurting your ears, and you wake up at four in the morning wracked with guilt about the time you've spent away from your desk, with a deadline approaching.

I look forward to January 2nd. This year, with the way the dates fell, there were only three days before the weekend and in that blissful spell, nothing at all seemed to happen. I could even make peace with my professional conscience, knowing that the quiet weeks of January lay ahead, and had a proper break when I sat by the fire and read books that were the ones I wanted to read, not useful ones.

This is when I can really get my head down and get on with the next book. No one arranges book talks in January or crime festivals; social life dwindles away to almost nothing. What's not to like? I have time to work on a resolution or two to improve my working life – not too many, or it gets depressing all over again – and no one minds if you hibernate.

My study is my den – indeed, it's more than that. I'm like a hermit crab and it's my shell. If for some reason I have to move out of it – painters, cleaning, grandchildren visiting – I scuttle about feeling absolutely lost. I was interested in John's post about places we like to work; but I've almost got to the point where I can't imagine working anywhere else.

Perhaps I'm feeling even more indulgent towards January than usual since we have had so much perfect winter weather: windless, with clear, pale skies, crisp air, sunshine, a frost at night and an occasional icing-sugar sprinkle of snow but no more than that. I've been thinking about you all and hoping none of you have been too badly affected by the extreme snow and frost.

This year I was given a little tear-off desk calendar claiming to be 'The Wit and Wisdom of Women'. Judging by this women tend to think in cheesy cliches. However, as we move into February which I think is a much less appealing month – worse weather, more demands – I have decided that perhaps Lilly Pulitzer who contributed the thought for today could be right; 'Despite the forecast, live like it's spring.'


Susan D said...

Seriously....some guy thought it would be clever to publish "The Wit and Wisdom of Women"? In a year that doesn't contain a 1 and a 9 and an 8 and a 3 ?

Never mind that. I love January too. I get to hunker down in my house, under quilts, in cosy things, with my hot water bottle and look out the window. No guilt about not going out and getting exercise, etc.

Aline Templeton said...

The daily tear-offs are leaving me in doubt as to whether to laugh or feel deeply depressed. Today's is Toni Morrison's, 'I see your life as already artful, just waiting and ready for you to make it art.' I will now feel hopelessly inadequate if I don't make art out of cooking up soup for a church lunch.