The weather has been rather mild after the snow and ice that covered this part of the world just a few days before I arrived. Impractical dresser that I am I brought elbow-length evening gloves and no other type, but, coupled with my moss-stitch wrist warmers (the length of the gloves scrunched up underneath), they suffice for now.
I am knitting socks with leftover yarn at record speed - usually it takes me weeks, as I pick up the needles now and again for a few minutes, but I knitted one sock in two days this time.
I am still reading and re-reading Marion Milner- I always have several books on the go, and this is one that is accompanied by plenty of note-taking (and I will share my thoughts soon), and The Lacuna tempted me not only because I was in need of books that make "everything else in life seem unimportant", but also because it takes in Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and things I spent a large chunk of my university years on.
But right now I am reading my airplane book (the requirements for that are 'lightweight' and 'easy to read'; I usually fly in the early morning after getting up at midnight) - Nicci French's The Safe House. I read tons of psychological thrillers when I was a teenager, and somehow, being back in my childhood home, it seems appropriate. Not that it isn't appropriate at other times. I am intrigued by husband-wife writing duos, how they work, and particularly how both female and male sensibilities imbue the writing as a result. I am not saying that a male author is not able to convincingly get inside the head of a female character and vice versa, but there is a difference when the book is written by authors of both genders, even simply in the reader's knowledge of that fact.
"I will not have any clear blocks of time to give the new book until next year. I have fat files of facts. I don't have its spirit. But I am beginning to sense it. As winter closes in I feel as if I am opening the door of a child's Advent calendar. Each picture is tiny and in brilliant colour. Each is a glimpse, each is separate. But as the days go by they will add up to a story."
-Hilary Mantel in The Sunday Times Magazine, 9.12.2012
I feel the same about a couple of new projects. Winter is a time for slowing down but also for letting ideas develop and brew, subconsciously perhaps. I was talking to a friend about this yesterday who felt unproductive and frustrated - even if nothing seems to be actively happening, our minds process things all the time, and in quiet periods we are still constantly adding to our artistic well, simply by being in the world, seeing, reading, listening, feeling. And occasionally we get these glimpses of what is preparing to emerge.
I am getting ready to go home for three weeks, and usually the time spent there yields a lot of new thoughts and renewed enthusiasm (though I harldy need to renew that).
The only way I have been working with colour lately is in choosing yarn, since I have been focusing on black-and-white drawing. This weekend I am hoping to get my paints out and use bright colours as an antidote to the short days. I don't suffer from SAD, but like everyone I am happier if I see daylight every day, so whenever I can I go outside - no running this week so far, but walks, errands and forgoing the Ride of the Park-&-Ride and going by foot instead.
The lack of daylight meant I couldn't get better pictures of the crochet bracelets, but I actually like when pictures come out slightly blurry - as a myopic person, it feels so familiar.
Living between two of the most beautiful landscapes, Connemara and
the Burren, I have the luxury to go on the kind of day trips people come
here from all over the world for any time I want. I don't intend to
glorify driving without a destination - I do try to be green - but since
the railway no longer exists, it is the easiest way to see a lot and be
independent (as an occasional treat). My head is always clearer after
moving through these landscapes and under their skies. I will get a
bicycle at some stage, though.