Apart from the brief mention in the title, this post will not contain any mention of the C-word. The number 19 will be absent, as will the words virus, flu, statistic and Cummings. Well, apart from the times I just mentioned them of course. Starting…. now!
So, my absence during the last week has not been due to the unmentionable, at least not in any direct way. I have simply chosen to take some time out, since Everything Is Cancelled, and do a mini-hibernation as I often do in the summer and over Christmas. It is a balm to the soul to be out of contact for a while, so as everyone else was frantically getting online to connect via Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Facetime, Messenger and email, I just Beed. I simply were; in short, I existed. I divided my time between the study and a blessedly sunny garden; I went for a short walk each day and I read. God, how I read!
More of that anon. But the first couple of days I was so exhausted I mostly stayed in bed and watched Netflix serials Safe and The Stranger, both written by the same guy and both utterly gripping while you watch but leaving little impression afterwards. My exhaustion was I think caused by thinking too much about everything; not only the unmentionable but its repercussions and the uncertainty caused thereby and what we might have to do to make sure of supplies etc. My brian simply couldn’t take any more; I needed sleep. And sleep I did.
So now I am ready to enter the digital world once more and update you on my reading. I have now finished Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light (I’ll post a review anon) and am 2/3 of the way through Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman. This is a stream-of-consciousness novel, 997 pages in length (just call it a round thousand) featuring a mother-of-four in Ohio who bakes cakes for a living. She has far too much to do and a million and one things occupy her mind, from her business to the thousand tasks of caring for children and house, to the horrendous state of the environment (seemingly worse there than it is here) and of course the even worse state of national politics. 9/11 keeps recurring but the main theme is the loss of her mother which has something to do with the ducks of the title. Seeing as how Americans have such weird place names, I assumed that Ducks, Newburyport was a small town (do Americans have villages? I fancy not) but it is in fact an incident to do with Ducks in a place called Newburyport which has a great emotional impact. But we haven’t got to that bit yet.
I’ll probably post a fuller review of that in due course as well.
So that’s me. How have you been? I hope you’re keeping well and safe.
There! A virus-free post. Perhaps it’ll go viral.