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Highgate Wood :: Journal 23rd Feb – 28th Feb

Ciara Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

23th Feb – It’s still nice to be at home sometimes

I’ve not written for a few days out of not feeling like it, out of having a bad few days. I’m on my week off work now. This was such a good idea. The relaxation is very much in full swing, the weather is much improved, mild, a lovely blue sky tempered with some high mottled white clouds. The sun is out. Yesterday the government announced a roadmap to recovery, it seems steady and slow and that they’re now listening to the scientists which is a reassuring change. The day everyone’s immediately focussed on is 21st June. That’s when  all measures will be taken away all together, apparently. If every stage between here and there goes to plan. It feels like, as with the vaccine, sometimes things do go right instead of wrong, despite government incompetence and stupidity. It may well be that by June the world will be much changed. I hope so. That we will all slide slowly out into a world again and decide it’s still nice to be at home sometimes, out of choice, not a fear-ridden necessity. 

Wiltshire Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

24th Feb – post-lockdown world 

Vivid dreams, dreams about being in a busy bookshop and not being afraid of strangers, not keeping away from strangers. Friends were there and books were being sold frantically. I’m groggy now and all I have to do this morning is sit around in it and recover. This week off was such a good idea. This feels like the beginning of the post-lockdown world. That narrative is seeded in the air now. It’s in the thrust of the headlines on the news sites and causally people seem to be allowing themselves to talk about it. All of this in time with the bright spring sky. Whether it is true or if this is a sad false dawn, of course, we do not know. 

Queue for the Zoo Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

27th Feb – Highgate Wood

Who will we all be in the future? Ourselves again? I hope I’ll be calmer and less stressed on the tube, less worked up on the streets, less annoyed. I’ll have to work on that for sure. I do think that we’ve all been reminded how fragile we all are, how lucky we were to have what we had. Who will we be? We’ll be the people who all went through this in a million different ways. People are obsessing over this 21st June date. I worry it might be too soon to think about it, like starting your Christmas celebrations in early November, by 3rd December you realise how long the months really are. 

*

Yesterday we walked in Highgate wood with our starbucks, sat on a bench at the edge of the clearing in the wood, the green where they play cricket and everyone let’s their dogs off for a run. We were watching the drama of the dogs and owners, the children and owners. One very young child was using it’s pram to stand up with and then it rolled backwards very comically into the mud with no sense of self preservation at all. The two parents were stood with their backs to the infant talking and I pointed out to my husb with a laugh that the baby had hit the deck. The mother heard and fussed the father into rescuing it, giving us an evil glare as if we’d pushed the blighter down ourselves. I wouldn’t dare get so close to a stranger’s child, the germs! You have to wonder sometimes if parents even want their kids half the time. The same child, this is a crawling, not even walking baby, was later confronted by a quite large stranger’s dog which lolloped around by it, testing how close it could get, sniffing at it, pawing at it to see whether the little thing (once again in the mud on the ground) would play. Again the parents seemed broadly indifferent. This time at least noticing their mud-bound child but unmoved by the situation. This stranger’s dog could have had a particular taste for delicious baby arm, they had no idea. They do say that the tragedy of the current world is that the people who are clever are too clever to have kids, as such the human race will get dumber generation on generation. I joke, of course. It was beautiful to watch the open field space, a big green space walkers let their dogs off and there’s enough space for them to run and play with other dogs, without them going off and getting lost. The green is ringed by woodland the whole way around. We’ve sat here a few times over the past year, it’s always been lovely. This was possibly the most normal I’ve felt in a long while, something almost exactly as it would have been before. It really helped to see people and take a temperature of how people were behaving. To see people being normal, sensible, but also seemingly not too afraid. We’ve always kept ourselves months behind the current advice, always overcautious to avoid worry. It was reassuring to see what more normal people were doing, not just shut-ins with nervous conditions and complementary anxiety disorders. The weather was clear, the sky a lovely blue. We were sweating into our long coats by the time we found a good bench. It stands out as a gorgeous diversion, a little something different for us both, on a lovely bright optimistic Friday. I long and hope for more of that to come. 

28th Feb – Split ends

I never learned what split ends were (and I still don’t want to know) as such I feel like my hair is a beautiful mop without imperfection. If I knew, I’d realise I had them and maybe I’d feel differently. 

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Not one wild notion :: Journal 6th Feb – 17th Feb

Tresco Tana Lawn™ Cotton [purple] – Liberty Fabrics

9th Feb – the closest possible distance

The snow continues this morning. I’ve never seen snow so intent on snowing for so long without bothering to settle. It’s not keen to commit to being here on the ground with us. I don’t blame it. I’m tired today. I feel like a loose boiled courgette, all stringy bits falling into itself into mush. I stare out the window and the white/black stripe pattern of snow in between the tiles carries over in my brain to the white page. We’re so closely here right now. Even as the snow comes, we feel our world shrink even more to the closest possible distance. Maybe we’ll look back to now knowing it was on its way to being over. I hope so. 

10th Feb – A Brightness 

The snow’s back, or still going. A brightness is here in the sky but there’s still high cloud and the same dusting as yesterday. I feel like I have more space and time today, from waking up earlier. The morning feels solid and clear. We sneak up and up to the anniversary of all this, the idea that we’d been confined to our homes for most of a full year is insane. Is it tempting fate to hope this is the largest and worst global disaster I’ll have to deal with in my lifetime? I long for a quietness, for news about things that don’t matter. 

Wild Flowers Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

11th Feb – Alpine meadows 

Snow again overnight. But even by midday the sun is stronger and melting it away. I feel like spring is turning towards us day by day. The day feels brighter now, the light is allowed in. I long to be on a plane flying above some beautiful mountains, looking down at the snow, the rock faces, the villages high up on alpine meadows. I long to experience that space, that distance, that speed. 

14th Feb – My memories of these streets

It was almost still light around half four this afternoon. When we went out for our walk at five it was newly dark and the clusters of families and couples were still scurrying about as always either exercising caution in keeping distance or none at all. I think we’ve learned that no matter what some people will always be inconsiderate, stupid, rude. I think about time again. Whether I’m losing my mind or if it’s just this situation we’re all in. I don’t think I realised how much I got from the exhausting busy detail of life, the rush and crowd, the streets, the architecture, history. It fed me, just walking from Leicester square towards Covent Garden and past towards work, watching the buildings, the quiet 9am streets with handfuls of tourists keenly fed on hotel breakfasts and thrown out for the day. I miss the automatic pull of the agreed walking route to work, agreed so as to be able to concentrate on buildings, atmosphere, the outfits of strangers, shop windows, the blue sky against the marble grey of the freemason hall, the wicker chairs stacked up outside caffe nero. My memories of these streets, walked in contrary directions, in other years, for other reasons. Now I walk across them towards work. Is that the same Nero’s I took my mum to when we saw Hairspray near here so long ago? I think so. 

15th Feb – Milestone

I finished my last official patch panel for the quilt last night. I still have more rows of patches to make to bridge the gaps here and there but in this totally arbitrary project I’ve reached another milestone. It feels great. Doing this has always been a dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to make a patchwork quilt like the one my nanny made for me. 

Rachel Tana Lawn™ Cotton [blue] – Liberty Fabrics

16th Feb – Not one wild notion 

I’ve put on Andrew Bird from 2003. Reminds me of the foggy years after undergrad when I was studying on my MA but also skint, unemployed and thrown out of the educational system with not one wild notion of how to get a job. These times were so long ago now I can be fed by the fond things without falling into a depression about my situation and worst of all, my choices. Everything I did and didn’t do lead me here and here we are. I finished Sandi Toksvig’s book last night. I’ve been reading it off and on for so long I can’t remember what I was reading before. It was a lovely slow read, facts and history about London alongside her life, it was really enjoyable. I don’t know why I don’t just read books I’ll enjoy. I need to be better at that. No one’s looking over my shoulder, no one’s vetting my reading for acceptability. I’m not gearing up for a PhD… which is what I thought I might be doing a year ago. I’m not saying I’ll never do it, but I don’t have that drive to do it right now and you really need that to pull yourself through it. I think I just wanted to be a Dr as well, I wanted to be able to show off easily and quickly how clever I am. I am reaching a funny place, post twitter, where I don’t have to tell everyone about everything. Sure I write this and maybe this will be online, but no one reads it. There’s no pressure compared with twitter. The morning is mild and rainy, a little dark so the lamp is still on despite the curtains being open. It’s a year today since I saw two of my friends for afternoon tea, one of the last social things I did before all of this. 

June’s Meadow Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

17th Feb – Idle Goals 

I don’t think any of us know who we are any longer. We can live in isolation but we need other people, more people to feel real and whole. The morning is windy, the bare trees branches are skipping around and birds are swirling around the currents, trying to ford the winds, use them to their advantage, like sailors cutting a path through the weather. I ordered some books from Gays the Word online last night. I loved going into their shop for a pick me up when I worked in Bloomsbury. I’d often try to get into small talk with the lovely staff, just to have some facetime with some other LGBTQ+ folks. They were always kind and chatty, sometimes I’d be half-remembered, very generously. One of my writer’s dreams is to have a book of mine sold in there, to do some signed copies for them. Maybe in the future. It’s good to have idle goals like that. I don’t even know right now what that book would be. 

*

On our walk two lads pull up on their scooters and park up, get off and go indoors. They’re both so constricted, their voices strain to be monotone, clothing is regulation, haircuts the same. Straight boys have to work hard to fit in. I feel sorry for them. They don’t know how constricting the standards are, they just accept them. As they get older they’ll learn to loosen up, or they won’t. They’ll be happier if they loosen. Right now they can’t express any individuality, any passion. 

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the strange consequences of the present moment :: Journal 3rd Feb – 8th Feb 2021

Betsy Duchesse Silk Satin – Liberty Fabrics

3rd Feb – like a houseplant you overwater

I’m holding on to this relic of the former world, this notebook travelled more places in 2019 than I did in 2020. It’s known the crush of busy tube trains and windswept beaches. It’s hard to keep hope. It’s like a houseplant you overwater, eventually it’ll start to falter with too much. It needs to be dry before it needs water again.  I am groggy today and concerned, tired and feeling imprisoned. The escape, the exit, the the-world-will-come-back-eventually of it all. I’m tired of thinking about it.

Papercut Petals Silk Satin – Liberty Fabrics

5th Feb – I’ll see you in the next notebook 

There’s a note of double cautious optimism in the news this morning. A list on the BBC of positive changes. I’ve been watching the news, not on TV but more like monitoring what the general trends are. Editors know the bigger picture, you can get a sense of the most horrible reality by seeing what is pushed to the front of the queue. The Bank of England are reporting about predicting huge surges in spending in Spring into Summer. It seems the Bank of England knows better than we do. Last night of Drag Race UK the trailer for the next episode showed Rupaul telling the queens they had to stop production due to covid. Their faces were heartbreaking. It really affected me, I think actually it triggered me, seeing that moment again from March 2020 that we all lived through with horror. I’ve loved this season of Drag Race UK, but I knew it was filmed in the run up to lockdown and then 7 months later, I’ve wondered each week when the bright shiny world is going to be shattered by the reality of March 2020. I do think we’ll all live with trauma from all of this. I think we’ll all need to do work on coping, to help us move on. 

*

I’m glad I’ve come to the last pages of this book with this small small Friday optimism. Whether it bares out, we don’t know. Whether we will be living a more normal life by the end of this year… or a summer and then back into restrictions in the Winter, I don’t know. I know doing this, ordering my thoughts like this has helped me a lot. 

I’ll see you in the next notebook EGL 5/2/2021 

*

[new notebook same date]

I think I want my voice back. This is stupid because I haven’t lost it, I just have been using it in a different way. I’m coming to the end of my quilt project. That coupled with everything else has meant I’ve only written nonfiction, I mean, literal journals. Yesterday I had a small notion of a poetry pamphlet,  not even a poem yet though. I mean it comes because I read some poems. Ultimately you can’t write well or at all if you’re not consuming or even interested in the thing you want to create. You need to appreciate other people’s work otherwise you won’t grow, you also won’t support the world you want support from, You have to pay into the system because you want to not just because you want to withdraw from it. 

Lindy Pop Lasenby Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

6th Feb – outrageous and campy and funny and tragic

We watched Hedwig and the Angry Inch tonight. I bought the Critereon Blu Ray of it, I’ve loved the film for so long and the DVD was originally a birthday present from my friend Vickie, so I wanted to show up and give some money to it. I knew every frame of the the film, every line, but also it was like seeing myself from 12 years ago all again. I loved it. I was a bit worried about how it treats Hedwig as a transwoman, but I think for the time it was groundbreaking to tell that woman’s story, even if it was outrageous and campy and funny and tragic. I really loved the film, the way it was made, the characterisation of Hedwig and Tommy, their emotional creative affair, how creativity in collaboration can be like a relationship in itself. How you slowly become each other and sometimes you keep growing and growing apart. I loved it. The music was beautiful, emotional. John Cameron Mitchell’s voice is just a deep well of emotion. Some people’s voices just hit you, straight in your heart and that’s what happens when I hear him sing. The emotion, the hope, the complexity of it, it’s all there.  

Ava May Lasenby Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

7th Feb – shocking, cacophonous 

It’s been freezing cold all day. And we have had small sugar crystalised snow that’s just been sprinkling it’s way down all day, not really settling too much. You talk about the world, this place. Even if we’ve been lucky enough to remain healthy during this time, we’ve had to deal with illness, stress, forgetfulness, lack of sleep, anxiety, regret. As we slowly give up our small patches of the world and our range and scope widens again, we’ll be in shock at the reality of time and space, the absolute diversity of experience, architecture, the sounds on busy streets. It will be shocking, cacophonous. Bright wild extreme. 


Wild Bloom Lasenby Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

8th Febthe strange consequences of the present moment

We had more snow overnight. I woke up around 5am and could see a glow of light from the top of the curtains, early light given more power from bouncing around all these cold white surfaces. It’s by no means a snow that stops anything from happening. Last night I had the full story of what it was like getting the vaccine, my parents found it really easy, they didn’t even have to queue and all the people working there were kind. A nurse apologised for not being able to offer them a cuppa, the managers decided if they did offer cuppas everyone would just hang around all day drinking tea instead of getting work done. I’m so relieved it was so easy. Knowing that they have that protection is such a relief. 

*

The morning goes on quietly and snow falls. The little sprinkles are bigger now, I think. None of us can see the future. None of us can guess the strange consequences of the present moment. Out there a pigeon shuffles on a tree branch. The snow continues to fall in flakes that bounce around in the air, floating back from the window for a second before continuing to fall. Even the little burst of optimism from a few days ago feels fragile. It’s hard not to feel like this will last forever. I am keen to usher in change, to welcome in something else, not just something else, something better. But the world holds us too close and there’s not space to move, right now at least. How quickly things changed for the worse. I hope things can turn for the better just as fast. Things rarely get better as quickly as they go catastrophically wrong. 

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quiet instead of panic is a blessing :: Journal 30th Jan – 2nd Feb

Geo Jewel Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabric

30th Jan soft boy

This month feels like it should have ended two days ago, at least. Today it has rained a lot and we spent lots of time clearing and faffing around. I baked a wheatsheaf loaf from my Paul Hollywood Bread Book. Husb said it looked a bit like an octopus. Sure it wasn’t a perfect representation of a sheaf of wheat, but I was happy with it. I enjoyed the plaiting part of it. When I was a kid my mum taught me how to plait hair. She gave me three strands of wool and set them up on a hook on a shelf by my bed for me to practice. I don’t know how it came about or why, but that’s what happened. I was probably a strange child and grownups probably worried about me: desperately soft, emotional, uninterested in most normal boy interests. Looking back primary school for me was just a series of embarrassments, crying, being told off for crying, more crying, being told I’m too soft, crying again. One time I do remember succeeding. We had to write stories and I wrote one about a tortoise who was looking for his home, he was wandering around the garden looking at rabbit holes and birds nests thinking why don’t I have a home like that? In the end he realises his home is on his back and he’d forgotten he was lucky to always have a home. The story caused a real sensation in the classroom, teachers and the other kids told me how clever I was, how brilliant the story was. A girl who sat next to me even stole my idea but tried to make it about a bird looking for its home, misunderstanding the tortoise element of the premise somewhat. Thinking about it now, I’ve recalled that memory a lot over the years, probably the first time I had positive reinforcement for writing. It seems like such a simple story that it must have already existed somewhere else. I know I didn’t plagiarise it at the time though, but maybe it was something I’d heard before and wrote it thinking it was new. I don’t know, maybe not, maybe I’m just a genius?! I used to write with fountain pens then unlike all of the other kids. I don’t know why, another thing that I did to set myself apart. When I’d finish my ink I’d go up to the teacher and ask politely for more and he’d take a little plastic ink cartridge out of his desk for me. I get a sense now that maybe I should have had my own ink cartridges instead of scrounging off the teacher all the time. I was probably doted on a bit, allowed to take liberties. A known soft boy in the school. Another time from primary school, a poet came. She made us do writing exercises and I loved it. I remember writing something like: “the tropical breeze in the Florida Keys” and she was very impressed and asked if I’d been there, of course I hadn’t but I wrote that because I loved the BBC show Holiday and always wanted to go to far off places, especially Florida, for Disney World. 

Children of Liberty Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabric

31st Jantoday we walked in the rain

We sit in a precarious place and we cannot believe we are moving forward positively. The daily numbers seem to be going down slowly as the weeks have gone on. On our Friday shop there was a sense from others that people weren’t too bothered about keeping a distance. We’re the weird ones for keeping a distance and looking at people with daggers when they get too close. It’s going to take a lot of work and time for us to be okay in crowds again, in public in general. I know we need to think about that, but also bringing that up is a sign we feel it’s going to be over and I just can’t let myself believe it.

*

Today we walked in the rain. It was not heavy and the quiet streets made it so pleasant. The quiet streets and being under an umbrella. Walking down with the streetlamps behind us I noticed the shape of my umbrella in shadow, a squashed hexagon just like the shape of my patchwork pieces. Maybe I’ve sewn too many and now I’m seeing them everywhere. 

Sunshine Meadow Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabric

1st Febquiet instead of panic is a blessing

I’m groggy from a night of intense dreams, not scary just real. I was swimming across a lake towards a castle tower, very Zelda. Then I was negotiating an Indonesian airport. Then having a second wedding when the first one was the day before. 

*

We sit precariously in February, hoping if we don’t move or breath, things won’t get worse. I think we’re in a place where things will get better very gradually. Things often get worse very quickly, but rarely get better at the same speed. The idea of Christmas 2021 being more normal is more acceptable now, but we could not have understood or accepted that in April 2020. The weather is a steady blank white cloud sky mistiness out there. Moss on the house roofs soak up the atmosphere. A morning with nothing but quietness. No grand ambition or sense of import. Quiet instead of panic is a blessing. 

*

I don’t know if the foxes are more brazen then before or whether they were always about and we weren’t. We’d never walk these back streets on a week night after work like this, so really, we’re the intruders. The lone foxes lollop about the streets, jump up onto garden walls and watch us without fear as we walk past. They know we’re not after them. The careful hope of the world coming back to us, even gradually, is too exciting to really think about seriously. I just hope in the end things end up better, a few days working from home every week instead of going back to five days in the office. The future is coming, not matter how slow, it’s coming. 

*

My parents had their letters about booking their vaccines today. It’s made me giddy with anticipation, knowing they’ll have that protection will be such huge relief. 

Jitter Bug Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabric

2nd Feboff-cuts from other rain

I got a box of fabric in the post from Hobbycraft, including the wadding for the quilt. I can’t believe I’m skirting around the edges of completing this project, might be another two or three weeks, depending on how much time I can commit to it. I’d decided to try to do it in Jan 2020, but obviously it was lockdown that gave me the time and space to really take it seriously. I have spent so many hours sewing and it’s been such a pleasure. So many hours with youtube in the background as I’m sewing away, just always on this one project.  

*

Today we have a small sharp pin prick sort of rain, I can see it on the window and if I look carefully outside against the chimney of the house across from us, I can see the strobing, rushing raindrops, tiny discarded flecks, off-cuts from other rain. 

*

Both my parents had their first vaccines today. Honestly it’s such a relief. I cannot believe it. I’m so grateful to everyone who work so hard to do this, to make it happen as soon as this. It’s overwhelming. I know things will still take time, but this is at least the first positive news I’ve had in a long time. 

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Vivacious Gusto :: Journal 26th Jan – 29th Jan

Matilda May Cupro Twill – Liberty Fabrics

26th Jan – not every wave is a tidal wave

The roof snow is still melting and the pavements still have their tired cake icing layer. I woke both of us up at around half six this morning by unconsciously kicking my hotwater bottle out of bed, it made a heavy wet rubbery slouchy sort of noise, like a barrel of fish slopping in the back of a van during a sharp left turn. I’m listening to The Mountain Goats again. This album has fully taken me over as some albums do a few times a year. The lead singer used to be a poet and you can tell from the evocative wordy strange lyrics. That appeals to me, of course. They have a song called Tidal Wave that goes, very hopefully ‘not every wave is a tidal wave’ the album came out in mid 2020 and it’s hard not to hear that song as a hope against the horrors of the waves of disease we’ve been experiencing. Things are bad but they won’t always get worse. 

*

I’ve caught up with myself a lot recently, in the way I think posh rich people do when they’re on a yoga retreat for five weeks. I feel like I’ve been able to identify some things I’ve held onto that I don’t need any longer. The thing that always rings true is that if you want to do something you’re probably already doing it, or finding a way to do it. Like tattoos or dyeing my hair, I talk about wanting to do it, but if I really truly wanted to, I would have done it by now. You can only get in your own way for an amount of time, eventually you break through and find a way, if you really do want to do it. I’ve known I’ve loved fabric for years, but it’s only truly since the past two years I’ve found an outlet for that passion in my quilt. You follow your passions because it feels natural. Most people aren’t up at 11:20pm each night writing in their journal, but here I am doing that. I could easily be doing anything else but I love doing this, and I gain a lot from it. An order to my thoughts. An expression of my thoughts is very helpful to me. 

Pineapple Paisley Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

27th Jan – vivacious gusto

I’ve started my final panel of my patchwork quilt. I’ve intentionally not sewn all the pieces together quite yet. I’m anxious about finishing it, really. Using it and not using it, whether it will start to fall apart. Whether it’ll be too cold or too hot. I think about it, how many hours and hours I’ve spent on it through all of this awfulness. The fear and wish for forgetting, change is all there in the stitches. I just hope it comes out well and I’m happy with it. I’m sure I will be. Part of me knows I’ll do another one, I kind of have to. I’ve honed the skill over this year from doing it most days: I need to keep making and learning. 

*

I’m telling myself I don’t have to do everything, or even anything. I just need to follow my wishes and the joy. I will be happier if I do this. I am happier as I try to do this. I think about airports, foreign train announcements, continental breakfasts, I think about Euro and Kronor. Reviewing your photographs from the day. The distant rush of the sea. Boats on the river. These things will return or we will return to them. We are now at a moment of great compression, and soon, however gently, the spring will allow itself to expand again and we will once again know the world and live in the world with vivacious gusto. We will, for a few years maybe, take it too far from the relief of being safe to do so. The spring will spring. There will be an end.  

D’Anjo Sky Cupro Twill – Liberty Fabrics

28th Jan – We have the smallest hopes we can muster

One thing I think about a lot is making the most of the place you’re in, making the most of what you’ve got. Take opportunities ahead of you. Don’t just wildly switch around on a whim. Most of the time, if you’re there the things will come to you, being there is the key. That’s what was great about Poetry School, it set me up and put me on the path to be published. I was there putting in the time. Showing up is a big deal. Showing up for what you want, what you’re proud of, showing up for yourself. I’m not there with poetry right now, that’s fine. I’m going to be there again, when I am, I’m sure it will be something brilliant (so modest!). In this time, I’m here for my journal, for my quilt and for getting through this time. The rain continues outside, a constant skipping shaky sort of rain, not driving or insistent. We have the smallest hopes we can muster. We have not named the hopes quite yet, the hopes are that maybe this was the last big peak, that the numbers will continue to fall. But neither of us bring it up in conversation, but I know we’re both thinking it, looking at the numbers every evening and hoping hoping hoping.  

Circus Stripe Silk Satin – Liberty Fabrics

29th Jan – this collective trauma 

Watched a few videos of The Mountain Goats last night. I’ve loved them for a while but recently their most recent album has spoken to me. I realised it was a while since I’d cried from pure joy as I was watching them perform and crying. Maybe this collective trauma will open us all up a bit, make people empathetic, more able to be honest with their feelings. It’s something we’ve all been through together, that will give us common ground in the future. I hope it means we’ll be kinder to each other. 

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It seems too grand a dream at present :: Journal 19th Jan – 25th Jan 2021

19th Jan – it seems too grand a dream at present

I daydream about success as I pop the berocca into my water and move into the bedroom, overhearing husb’s morning meeting as I go. I daydream about a splash of attention when I finish my quilt, comments and likes and who knows, interviews for blogs. I mean, not that I did it all for the attention, I really didn’t, but there’s a switch in me once I sense I could get some praise, some attention, some acknowledgement, I run towards it like a dog newly off its lead. The day feels brighter than yesterday, clearer in its cloud. Less complex. The news keeps on reporting these to be the worst weeks again, but the news had little paragraphs from different people who had had the vaccine and how it will change their lives. It was such a joy to read that, a small distant joy but it’s there. It’s so difficult living with the smallest hopes like this, not feeling allowed to be optimistic. Once you start hoping too much you’re suddenly reopening the world and that seems too grand a dream at present. But whether it’s this summer, next year, it will happen. This won’t be our lives forever. 

Story Island Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

21st Jan – zukunft 

The morning is bright, clear and cold. This weather always reminds me of my first trip to Stockholm in March 2012. Bright blue sky cold wind sun offering every surface a film of weak sun. Locals in light jackets and t-shirts, me gladly shuddering my way through the streets in a huge coat and scarf. This may well be the day that activates seeds in the ground to grow. The bare tree branches gambol about in the arctic wind. For me it feels like Scandinavia, this weather, cold and hopeful, a biting cold that gets under your clothes to your skin, but you forgive it for the brightness of the sun and the clear blue sky. 

*

On my run I usually stop to walk near to this tree, not particularly big, I don’t know what type it is but it’s right by a lamp post. When I look up at the lamp post in my mid run exhaustion the lamp post light shines through the tree branches, the branches are lit in a curved halo, like they’re all huddling around the light and the tree canopy itself is a curved, perfect oval shape. That’s how it appears, but that’s just because of the source of the light, how the light hits the branches. It always looks cinematic, the bright yellow light on the thin dark branches. A way point I’ve come to rely on.

*

I’ve always liked the german word for future: zukunft. Zu is a preposition akin to “to” (but also “too”) the kunft bit feels like an old fashioned word corruption of kommen the verb “to come”. In my head the future is to come but said in a whimsical strange way, like some mysterious forecast. Kunft with its gnawled and strange word end this Germanic faff of consonants, makes it seem like it’s already here, that it’s become, but also that it’s a confusing mess. I want that for us all. For the future to hurry up and get to us, in all its messy confusion. I long to once again panic in Germany on the street or museums or shops because real Germans do not speak slowly and clearly without using idiom. I look forward to that future, in the coming yonder.   

Sunshine Meadow Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

24th Jan – street silence 

The snow has covered everything for a while and brought out that street silence I love so much. We walked over to the field where we walked all summer, into the autumn until it was too muddy and dark. It was pleasantly snow blanketed, with snowmen from the locals all over, there must have been fifteen of them in all levels of expertise, littering the field like a sculpture park. By the time we got there around 4pm the light was fading and people were returning home, it’s best time to be out, watching other people in the distance disappear back to their homes, leaving us to the cold blank field and the snowmen.  

Passion Blooms Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

25th Jan – tiny library 

I took some books to one of the tiny libraries this evening. There are two we’ve spotted on our walks around the neighbourhood. One on our regular running route. After yesterday’s snow, the pavements are still snowy and slippy in places. Barely anyone was out walking, truly an all time low. One man was out running, which I thought was a bit much. I was convinced we’d see him slip over and fall and we’d have to go over and help him and risk spreading / catching the virus. That’s what he’s doing, putting himself and strangers at risk by being so stupid. Take the day off from running! We’ve seen three different gritting lorries go by. It’s still that cold. The tiny library is a little pitch-roofed wooden box where people bring and borrow books. I’ve looked in many times, but never taken any. Last night I found some books I no longer need, even poetry books which I rarely used to get rid of. It feels like a nice light feeling to have loosened the grip of poetry. I’ve not given it up, I’ve not sworn off it, but I’m allowing myself a world of other shapes and forms. I’m not blinkering myself just to the poetry world. Now I’ve made space on my shelves they’re looser, the books aren’t packed in together uncomfortably. I feel like I’m freeing myself of a past. I don’t need to become someone I wanted to be earlier in my life. I’m me now, thank you. I don’t need to chase something other than what I want to spend my time doing right now. 

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I collect my thoughts in my mind inexpertly :: Journal 14th Jan – 18th Jan

14th Jan 

Last night I thought about holidays, train journeys, meeting up for dinner, being close to people you miss. This morning it is raining with a papered over grey-white sky. Every surface is wet but a wet that’s set in, as if it’s been a while since the actual rain, but it’s settled on surfaces like snow does. At night I’m discovering new sleep stories on the Calm app. I have a handful of regulars but I need some variation. I don’t want to overuse them. Last night was about a canyon in Arizona. It was a man’s slow low voice telling me about the geology of the rock formations, it was interesting enough that I’d listen to it for a bit but I was off to sleep within a few minutes. I never thought sleep stories would work but once I learned the ones with a deeper voice, almost a crackly deep gravel voice work on me, I’ve had them on almost every night for six months now. It dredged up a memory from childhood of having my little plastic fisher price cassette player in bed with me, the loud deep voice of the man narrating a Thomas the Tank Engine story. I just remember the feeling of the wall of warm undulating sound in my ears sending me to sleep. There’s a whole section on Calm about trains. Train stories seem to be a popular thing for making us sleep. There are train journeys across Australia, Norway, the Orient express in the 1920s. There is a Thomas the Tank Engine one read by Kate Winslet, all about Thomas at Christmas. I listened to it almost every night for most of December and I still have no idea what the story was, it set me off to sleep within minutes every time.   

Daydream Believer Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabric

17th Jan

Of course I wonder about the future a lot, but I don’t allow myself the pleasure of planning. Things are just too uncertain. I’ve spent hours (truly hours) watching videos about Walt Disney World in Florida. About the latest news, attractions, people just wandering around. There’s this channel called All Ears and they do brilliant videos with friendly presenters who obviously love making content about Disney. I cannot imagine the hours I’ve clocked watching their videos. I’ve never been there, but always wanted to go as a child. I was so desperate to go. When I go to the website even to check prices for some theoretical future, it’s painful to even look at because the dream collapses a little. I know we can’t go for a long time but that dream of going from childhood has come back recently, as a little daydream to help me through. 

*

We’re been here in this flat for five years, maybe six actually. I’ll miss this place when we finally go, but I know I want to move. This place is too small and we have too much stuff now. Like with so many things, we were different people when we got here and we can only grow so much when we’re here as we are. I’ll be sad to leave, I’ll remember this place so affectionately even though it has at times been awful living here. But we’ve grown and changed so much over these years and I think if we stay here we cannot continue to make our lives better. Change is hard, unexpected, difficult. But staying put is worse, you’re ignorant of the badness you’ve put up with or made excuses for. You forget you deserve something better. 

Vespertine Wave Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

18th Jan

I sewed on some more patches to the current quilt panel this morning. The quilt will be finished soon and I haven’t fully decided what to do or planned for the end. Is it mad to just keep on making it? Just keep going on and on and on like the Winchester Mystery House? I’d not planned an ending because it all seemed so far in the future, I thought I had more time. I need to make choices about wadding, edging, things like that. The things that make the quilt warm and finished. The one I have from my grandmother, the quilt that inspired all of this, doesn’t have wadding, she was sewing it in the 90s, you couldn’t order wadding from the internet then. Because of that the quilt doesn’t retain heat too much, it can feel cool. I think I’d prefer to do wadding, to make it as luxurious as possible. I’d better get on youtube and watch more How To videos. It’s a thing in itself, of course but it’s obviously also a metaphor. I know we’re not close to the end of this horrible situation but also I can see that it could start being over soon, and I’m scared that like in August 2020 we thought we were heading to a better time by Christmas but actually we had this second wave, much worse than the first. Once this is over what are we all going to do? How are we all going to recover and live our lives? This is all just gibberish worry but that’s where I am today. 

*

I collect my thoughts in my mind inexpertly like I’m holding an arm full of shopping and trying to get to the till without using a basket. 

*

We follow each other around the flat doing and undoing things in the same four rooms. I come into a room he’s left with a window open, I close it. He comes into a room I’ve left with the light on, he turns it off. He grew up in a big drafty house, they keep the sitting room blazing hot with an open fire, when you leave that room the cold hits you right on the forehead like a stress headache. Every other room is frozen from the drafts and the open windows. Where I grew up, a small terraced house,  my plumber dad was obsessed with the thermostat, always modulating room temp for comfort, never too warm or cold. All rooms with modern windows triple glazed installed by the window man in the village. Now we live together, grown up from these very different places, doing and undoing all day long, because we’re both always home and this flat is our own small world. 

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a truly sarcastic level of social distancing :: Journal 11th Jan – 13th Jan 2021

11th Jan – eight years together 

Husb just came in to wish me happy eight years together. We’d both forgotten. This isn’t our wedding anniversary, that is a bigger deal for us these days. This is the date of our first date. It’s just lovely to think about us going on our first date eight years ago. I mean we were both different people then, the world was completely different. I had a Blackberry, I’d only been living in London for about 8 months. I cannot believe how long it has been. I cannot imagine what would have happened if we’d never met, but I’ve always held the belief that we would have met eventually, we were just lucky it happened when it did.

*

Time between March 2020 and now has not been the same. Days have passed and we’ve continued and marked events passing, but from inside. Christmas felt like it was happening just out of reach, like it was a meal being eaten at the next table in a restaurant, we had what we had and enjoyed it, but it still felt like somewhere else it was happening as normal and we missed out. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed a more normal Christmas anyway, travelling and staying over in spare rooms, sleeping badly and having to deal with a different family’s timetable.

*

People are talking about the vaccine now. It’s out there in anecdotes, queues in the streets of old people, appointments in the future. It feels like it’s happening now, right as we’re going through the worst of it. 

Memphis Trail Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

12th Jan – a truly sarcastic level of social distancing

Just as I am starting to write my berocca fizzes up dramatically. INSPIRATION! Husb realised we were going through 3 quarters of a pack a week between us, we had to do a rush bulk order on Amazon. People were pressed and stressed in the berocca reviews “they’ve taken away the foil and now I cannot be sure these are the genuine item and not dangerous fakes! … They’ve changed the design due to phony ‘environmental concerns’” People seemed to love that pointless foil? I’ve replaced my daily Vit D tablet with a morning berocca. The Vit D really worked so well in the run up to Christmas, but I felt like a needed a change after months and months of it every morning.

*

Now I have an idea of what I can do with this writing, maybe, I have to be careful I don’t change it or try too hard with it. I think I’ve always been a huge try hard. When I was a kid my relatively lack of money kept me from being truly insufferable. Sure, I wanted to be a goth, but could I afford any of the clothing? No. Cheap black t-shirts and Claire’s accessories came to my rescue and I think I’m all the better for it. I always found it so funny that to be a legit goth who wanted to smash the system you had to drop hundreds of quid on clothing. I remember once after school my friends and I were walking into town singing and I joined in and one of them said to me, with anger and disgust on his face “why do you always have to try so hard?” I was mortified that any attention could be drawn to me, but also, as I was an arrogant teen (there’s definitely something in those hormones) I thought maybe he’s jealous that I can sing so well? Could I really sing that well? I really don’t think so, but I tried like with everything. I tried hard, for a little bit anyway. Singing was one of the few career prospects at the time for a wayward gay, but I can’t say I truly dreamt of being a singer.

*

I decided on these things in the shower, about this ‘project’ the main tenet is: the ink shall remain fundamental. Write everything by hand first, type it up and make it look nice online and maybe tell people I’ve updated my website. Don’t use it as a backdoor excuse to get back onto twitter, that ship has sailed. 

*

I aim for a truly sarcastic level of social distancing between me and strangers. I don’t want to take risks and I choose to pre-empt almost everyone I can now, arching into the road if it is safe to, especially when running, I loop around people with a bit of extra speed that keeps me going. I want to look back at this time with a smugness at the level of distance I’d keep. A ridiculous caution. I’m happy with that being the memory. Once we move onto the post-virus world and we have all stories about what we had to endure, we’ll laugh at the ridiculous measures we took. Right now we have no sense of when it’ll be possible to get out of this, we have never had that sense, all of last year was a mystery week to week. 

Paradise Bay Tana Lawn™ Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

13th Jan – little pixelated trails of rain

I’d say these weeks are usually grim and horrible and they are now,  but in a very different way. We’ve been so crushed and burned and shaken to dust by all this but we’re in surprisingly good moods. What else can we do but try and laugh about other things at least a little during the day. The sky is blank white cloud and the trees out there are still and standing like upended brooms. Long-stripped of their leaves, standing, waiting the weeks out. There’s a fog in the distance. I think we’re lucky with the view out back across the roofs and gardens, we’re high enough to see across and feel the space. It starts to rain. Little pixelated trails of rain appear on the window all coming from the same diagonal direction, little leftover threads of rain. The blessing is also the difficulty, being able to remain at home safely is also tough because we miss the world outside. That’s how we all feel and we miss the world until it can be the world we’ve known again. 

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the rapid collapse of society :: Journal 4th Jan – 9th Jan 2021

4th Jan – a calm sense of closure

I mean, it’s definitely the quietest birthday I’ve ever had, no trips, no visitors. Last year we saw Ian McKellan’s one man show, packed into a tiny theatre seat amongst strangers. Given the limitations of these days I didn’t want to leave the house much anyway. We took a nice walk in the late afternoon. Spent the day loafing about doing what I wanted. I decided to buy a few things including a new notebook, turns out I’ve had this one since Dec 2019. It’s not filled up much in that time from Dec 19 to Dec 20. Writing for me was mostly done on the bus or tube. I’ve only started writing again regularly since new year’s and seeing that ink on Saoirse Ronan’s fingers in Little Women. Seeing how the character of Jo and/or Louisa May Alcott took her life and brought it to the page. I’m not saying I’ll do that with this, but there’s something at least about writing at all that brings a calm sense of closure and control. An order to the mind. I ordered another notebook hoping I’ll keep this up. If not every day, when I feel moved to. We watched Soul tonight, Little Women and Soul are the two best films I’ve seen in a long time. 

It’s difficult to have these feelings at the moment, wanting a proper birthday because I cannot imagine what that would be. No one wants to feel self pity on their birthday. I’ve been treated very well and had lovely messages. The best was the video of my brother’s family singing happy birthday to me, and then saying “we love you uncle ted” at the end. That was such a gift. 

Papercut Petals – Tana Lawn Cotton- Liberty Fabrics

5th Jan – cancel me, it’s christmas 

I’d not been on Twitter for over a month until today. I logged on and saw that on 25th December I was cancelled and called out by a few gay TERFs who objected to my podcast about Polari because, in their incorrect opinion, I was “rainbow washing” gay male history and turning it queer when it was, according to their incorrect opinion, the history of gay males only. That has really upset me. I had a hot panicked feeling, one of those things I worried about all the time was being cancelled online. By the time I was close to quitting Twitter, the fear of it happening was the reason I’d log in, just to ensure it hadn’t happened. It’s not that I have a dark past with all this stuff I worry will come up, not at all, but it’s just that I know there’s a subset of people on there who comb through people’s histories looking for dirt. In the days after I decided to leave properly, I felt real withdrawal, like when I quit coffee. Twitter was a mental addiction, I was thinking in tweets in the shower, wherever, always chasing those likes and replies, with a hope of gaining more followers, gaining more success, more acknowledgement. It had good sides, keeping up with friends, getting my poetry out there and reading more, all the networking stuff. But ultimately it was another, more naked way that I wanted acknowledgment, fame, recognition. All the things I didn’t like about how other people acted on there, I was doing the same things I just didn’t want to admit it. The hardest thing is working so hard on something and getting nothing back, working at poems, collections, working at being a person online and then you are given nothing in return. I think I always wanted just one popular tweet, just to have won the game, but I never did and I know I tried a lot. I’m still on instagram which has it’s own numerous problems, sure. But moving away from twitter, leaving that voice behind has given me more space and less of a sense that I have to show off to everyone. I don’t need to do anything especially to satisfy other people online. I’m free of that yoke. I joined twitter in my early twenties and I think there was part of me that still held on to that early twenties insecurity and desperateness. Giving it up is giving up that immature part of me. It’s been long enough that I don’t miss it. I have the perspective I needed and I’m glad. What a horrible place, I mean who the fuck tries to cancel someone on Christmas day?  

City Geo – Tana Lawn Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

6th Jan – small islands 

The new routine is hot water bottles, one each. We do his at 11pm when husb goes to bed and mine at 12.30am when I go. Even by morning they’re still warm when I take them out from the foot of the bed. It’s gorgeous to have that steady heat to fall asleep with, the steady warmth. The routines are so funny. They build up and we do them for a spell, then they fall by the wayside and we almost never speak about them. I never thought I needed routine before, but there’s something wonderful about the reassurance that there is at least this small patch of control, a small piece of non-chaos in our little world. Maybe as I’ve grown up I’ve gone more to the side of peace and quiet than chaos and excitement. We’ve been doing this for so long now, it feels like the world before is unimaginable. Feels like a place we’ve long since left. A holiday cottage from my childhood. We’re our own small islands now, with complexities in place to avoid danger. Even our parents and close friends could harm us by proximity, or us them. I can’t imagine anything more primal to harm someone, to take away closeness, to make us scared to live and to keep us locked up in our homes. But without all of this, it really could have been the end of the world. At least in the future we can say we did what we could do. We made the best of the awfulness, tried to keep away from everyone as much as possible, tried to remain safe. I look forward to when it’s over and we can look back on all this and start to deal with it. I don’t want to write about this all the time, but maybe I just need to. 

Patchwork City – Tana Lawn Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

9th Jan – The rapid collapse of society 
I slept in today, when I got up Husb was watching Shaun of the Dead on TV. I don’t think either of us realised how it would feel to see that film right now. I mean, of course, this is not a zombie apocalypse but it has a lot of the same fears, mindless crowds, infection from strangers, the rapid collapse of society. The funny thing was that within the story the world got back to normal within six months. I don’t know how long it will be for us from now, but maybe a year. I’ve felt out of sorts all day from sleeping in, worrying about a lot of things. Going for a run was the best thing for me to do. I did my best 5k so far. I felt like it was going well, but I didn’t know how well until I saw the stats from Strava. I liked running on a Saturday night in the cold. The roads were so quiet, the pavements were empty, I could just focus on a point in the distance and find myself getting towards it without the distraction of having to avoid strangers.

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the dopey sense of universal love :: Journal 1st Jan – 3rd Jan 2021

1st Jan 2021 – an already cold room

Last night we watched the 2019 version of Little Women and the detail of Jo’s inky fingers made me miss having inky fingers from using this pen. The year has begun, an already cold room. A difficult grey place, given the world we’ve had to live in. Enjoy the quiet of the room, the pleasure-pain bite of cold from the open window, at least for this brief moment. But this is nowhere to live. We should know we shouldn’t get used to this forever. 

We begin the year in a terrible place and like being dumped at Christmas, at least as the spring slowly shows itself our mood and situation will improve. I hope at least. 

Turner Lasenby Cotton – Liberty Fabrics 

2nd Jan 2021 – drunk on the excess of praise 

It’s hard not to think about success, about my need for it and seeing how other people made their way to it.

If any of us are remembered at all it won’t be for large complexities of our lives and choices, it’ll be the quickest version of events, copied and pasted from another place and rejigged by three other people, squeezed into a 3 min video. The world is large and full of people and we all think we can change it through whatever the hell we’re up to. I think about that moment in Friends when Phoebe does a pretend acceptance speech for a Nobel prize she’s won for a massage. 

One thing I’m learning is to stick to things I love and to stick to things I enjoy. I’ve barely engaged with the poetry world for a year now. that’s not to say I haven’t been reading it, it’s a different thing. It felt like the world was full of people who wrote and everyone read each other with hopes of being read (not for their own pleasure). It was rare to feel like people even read my poems, and you know, I was part of that problem too. I sometimes wouldn’t read the other poems in magazines I was featured in, which was very ignorant and cocky of me. The world of poetry has changed so much, it’s become another fame avenue. It’s been poisoned by those few successes and now everyone’s doing viral videos, instragram and bank adverts. Everyone’s tweeting controversial yet brave things that get them cancelled and a thousand new followers at the same time. I mean, imagine coming out IN SUPPORT of J.K. Rowling. What are you trying to do, get her attention and win her favour? Or do you believe what she says? I can see a future of steady decline for her importance, Harry Potter will live on for five hundred years probably, but JK will be a secondary half-remembered name and when she is remembered, like Lewis Carol, JK will have a very suspicious atmosphere around her. 

JK is one of many who have been drunk on the excess of praise from twitter. Writers are severely at risk, praise for your words is the thing that they want acknowledgement for, even if it is in this reduced and compressed form. The instant positive feedback is intoxicating. The hype is there in your hand matching your own inner thoughts of grandeur. And you have power you can use for a billion things and instead of raising awareness, signposting charities, you decide to air transphobic opinions and medically incorrect ‘information’. It was the same with Graham Linehan, he managed to piss away his legacy online within five years. He hadn’t had a success for a while, and I always suspected he was a bit of a difficult twat. Slowly through twitter’s dome of mirrors reflecting his own opinions back at him he became more and more upfront about his transphobia. Sometimes it’s great not to be able to broadcast your views to the world.

*

We watched a few pigeons try to handle clambering around the thin branches of a small tree. Their weight making it all more precarious as they tried their best to peck bits from the branches. The noise of the flapping wings and the swaying branches drew our attention. The tree is across the way and below us and we watched the birds struggle and faff, laughing at their missteps as if we weren’t often exactly the same, observed and laughed at from a similar distance. 

*

On our walk after six pm we watched a fox spring up the road, spraying his markings on the trees and lamp posts of the street, casing the front gardens for bins. Utterly unbothered by us, a little orange prince taking in his principality. Later a (human) mother and her five (human?) children walked by in front of us without a care so we had to stop in our tracks and let them pass. My Husb muttered “Jesus Christ” and I laughed. So inconsiderate of her to end up with so many kids straggling along the road, getting in our way. I imagined she never thought she’d had to deal with them all at once like this.  

Matilda May Tana Lawn Cotton – Liberty Fabrics 

3rd Jan 2021 the dopey sense of universal love

The christmas lights on the houses are being taken down, or even just no longer switched on, to be taken down later by all the bored Dads. Christmas trees have already started to litter the pavements. On my runs I’ve loved the distraction of lights and warm windows utterly blocked by giant statement trees covered in chic lights. I run in a posh neighbourhood. I started running on 1st July 2020. I didn’t even track my first few runs on strava, now it’s a must. knowing the data as I’m going along gives me the push to keep going. I never thought of myself as sporty or even competitive but I like the drive to succeed I get from running. 5k is a big deal, it’s a sort of milestone. To someone who doesn’t run it’s an unthinkable distance but to a runner it’s achievable within a few months. I started in July and I hit 5k in early October. I still don’t run the whole way, mind. This is why I don’t imagine doing any 5k fun runs for charity quite yet. Imagine me puffing away after half a kilometre  walking for a little bit to catch my breath as a crowd of people cheer and jeer me on. I wouldn’t appreciate it. Before I started running I used to see runners and want to cheer them on, give them encouragement (I never actually did) now I can’t imagine anything worse, a stranger telling me to keep it up. Leave me alone! My goal is to be ignored by other pavement users, so long as couples shift over a bit instead of not moving or even seeing me at all, forcing me onto the road or to a standstill (if the road is occupied). The only pedestrians who make space for runners are other runners. If you had the stats it would line up 1 to 1. Only other runners know how great it is for the slow obstruction up ahead to kindly give way as you trudge through on the 2nd k of the 5 you’re out for. 

I guess I started for a few reasons, variation, a new hobby, weight control. What I didn’t expect was the almost immediate mental health boost. Giving myself a clear 38 minutes three times a week where I’m not skating on a frozen lake of panic and fear. That is a great gift. Somedays I come home under the influence of a strong endorphin rush, suddenly the world makes sense, the pain in my body is beautiful and I feel heavenly. I can see why folks get addicted, why religions get formed to try to package and give that rush out, ascribe it to a higher power and make money for it. Even as my legs ache and the dopey sense of universal love subsides, I love to do it. Even though it’s painful, difficult, and I sound like a weezing wreck on the street. I still love it. I’m hoping by July 1st 2021 I’ll be doing those 5ks without stopping, that’s my goal, and that my cardigans will continue to become roomier, that I’ll keep catching myself in the mirror and thinking, oh I think I look healthier and happier, that’s nice.