This is my last blog post for 2020. I would say ‘woo hoo’ and break out the champagne bottle emojis but I’m literally like that Comrade’s Marathon runner who’s crawling to the finish line, I can’t even celebrate, I just want it to be OVER. 2020 has been an ongoing lesson in mindfulness, in living in the moment and not looking too far ahead. It’s been beyond shit, hasn’t it?
As far as years go, I give this one a solid F for fail.
I am generally a positive person, but I do not feel like trying to dredge up the good things about Covid-19, because they are frankly so few and far between and at the moment I’m in the ‘fuck Auntie Rona and the *bat she flew in on’ mode.
The only comfort at this point is enjoying the company of friends and the few family members that are around and taking pleasure in the small things: a great cup of coffee, a beautiful flower, tossing a litre of red wine down your throat, a nice escapist TV series, cheesy Christmas Carols, mince pies (did I mention the red wine?) and as always books, books and more books.
I read an interesting article (when I should’ve been writing) about how it’s okay to be sad at this time, in fact, it’s appropriate.
We don’t have to pretend that things are great at the moment, because they really, really aren’t. Everything is scary and unpredictable and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Being apart from our families this festive season is truly horrible, not being able to travel, not having the money to travel, not having the money to just LIVE, it’s SHIT.
I’ve also noticed a distinct lack of kindness – on social media and generally in the way people interact with each other these days. I went on a blocking, muting and unfriending spree and I can highly recommend it along with taking a social media break. As important as it is to look after your physical health, it’s equally important to look after your mental health. As soon as someone is rude to me on social media or tries to bombard me with the latest conspiracy theory, I block them, it’s that simple.
Sadly, one can’t block people in real life, but you can ghost them. More difficult if you’re related to them and live in the same house but still possible. Locking your office door and putting a DO NOT FUCKING DISTURB ME ON PAIN OF DEATH OR CONFISCATION OF YOUR PHONE sign also works. Yes, everyone is going through a lot at the moment, but I think these words from Maya Angelou are very apt:
“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”
Let’s all focus on not being a pain in the bottom this holiday season – or indeed a pain in any other part of the anatomy.
TV recommendation: The Undoing on MNet. It’s based on one of my favourite books You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz. The series is good but is not a patch on the book, I’ve found the way they’ve tried to sex it up beyond weird.
- Producer: I want to see Nicole Kidman kissing girls.
- Scriptwriter: It’s not actually in the story–
- Producer: It is now.
When you’ve finished watching the series, go forth and read the book.
Book recommendations: A Promised Land by Barack Obama. It’s loooooong and I didn’t always understand all of it (clearly, being president is not a career I should aspire to) but I did find it interesting because you get a sense of the difficult decisions he had to make. Although being me I would’ve preferred more personal goss about Michelle and the ghels.
The First Time I Hunted by Jo MacGregor. This is the third book in the Garnet McGee series about a woman who gets premonitions and sometimes chats to dead people after she has a near death experience. They are romantic thrillers that have enough murder and mayhem to keep me interested in working out whodunnit but are escapist enough to satisfy my current reading tastes. Great holiday read – get the whole series.
The Kensington Kidnap by Katie Gayle which is the pen name of writers Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. This is a cozy mystery featuring hapless sleuth Epiphany “Pip” Bloom (how cool is her name??) I am about half-way through, and I am LOVING it. It’s like Bridget Jones and Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew all rolled into one. It’s FABULOUS and SO DAMN FUNNY and I see the second book is already up for pre-order. Highly recommend it.
Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens. I am OBSESSED with memoirs at the moment. I was supposed to be saving this one for the hols but had to read it immediately. It’s Jo’s story of how she coped after the sudden death of her husband. I found it searingly honest and beautifully written and completely gobbled it up. Karavan Press’s books also just look GORGEOUS and they make fantastic gifts.
I’m signing off now, but I’ll be back towards the end of January.
Until then, wear your masks, practice social distancing, keep sanitizing and BE KIND. Especially to yourselves. Thanks to everyone who has commented on the blog and shared it. BIG mwah! Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and much love to you all. Happy reading! Xxx
*at this point, someone on social media will point out that in fact, Auntie Rona did not arrive on a bat, but was transmitted through pangolin meat and IT WASN’T THE POOR PANGOLIN’S FAULT. Cue long (usually racist rant) about Chinese people and wet markets and you will now understand why I went on an orgy of blocking and unfriending and why I will be taking a break from the socials this festive season.