Arrival of the Harvestmen

This is something I’m going to start doing, mostly because I fancy it, but if anyone asks, it’s to build discipline.

Summer sunshine, (or indeed, any sunshine), the warmth, and the gentle balmy breezes are to be treasured, like gold or rare memories. Most of the time. When it comes to getting solid sleep, warm air and humidity are like little goblins who poke you awake every few minutes. I don’t think I’ve slept a solid night through in weeks. Damn Hotair. Damn Humidity. Warty little, sweaty little, greasy little goblin fuckers, jabbing me while I sleep. Last night was no exception.

This morning was tough – I got up early and wrote before work. The writing was good – I followed my instincts and made a style choice I had been scared to make, and at the end of the session I had a few hundred words I was quite proud of. For the first time in a while I felt like I was writing, not the Guy Who Plays It Safe, who pretends to be me when I’m flying on autopilot. Now I fear my own hubris and I’m convinced the words are really trash, but such is life. I’ll be madly in love with them again tomorrow, and we’ll have to see it through to the end of the novel to really know whether I’m right or wrong. That was the joyous part of the morning. The rough part was waking, feeling like my eyes were filled with hot grit, hauling my corpsish body to the shower, and making my mind function without caffeine.

I’m trying to reduce the amount of tea and coffee I drink, for reasons. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was tired all day.

Work was work. It was there, I was there, the Guy Who Plays It Safe attended on occasion, and I escaped for a brief read and write in the park lunch time.

That was absolutely delightful, sitting back against the bole of a tree in the warm shade, Hotair and Humidity no where to be seen, just letting my breath out and sinking into the oak and the dirt. Relaxing like a melting ice-cream. Wonderful.

Then the harvestmen came. Out of nowhere, four of them decided that I looked like a good jungle gym, so I hot foot it out of there before it became a scene from Eight Legged Freaks. Spindly little creeps.

Work continued to be work.

This evening I made pasta (green pesto chicken pasta – it’s my own concoction – it was bland) and lazed around a little bit and procrastinated the packing that I need to be doing. I’m moving on Saturday. I’m getting rid of lots of books, and though part of me aches every time I put one more book in the ‘do not keep’ pile, trimming down my collection to only the essentials (from six shelves to one and a half!) has been cathartic. In some cases I’m getting rid of dead weight, books I’ve enjoyed, but which I will never read again. In others, I’m getting rid of obligations I’ve made to myself. These books come from a more insecure time, and I’ve bought them for complex reasons, but the primary two are a) I was interested in their topics and b) because I felt that I ought to have read them, or be familiar with them. Sometimes, there was also c) because it gave the impression that I was a particular type of person. Now that insecurity is no more, I can pick up a tome of heavy German philosophy and weigh it in my hand and feel a little lighter in the soul when I put it on the ‘do not keep’ pile.

“Am I going to read this?” I ask myself. Inside I find the answer, like a foghorn.

“Nah, man, read The Left Hand of Darkness again. I’m sure Gadamer is wise and sagacious, but that text is impenetrable, and he doesn’t tug your heart strings like UKLG.”

And that’s it for tonight, reader, it’s time for me to go to bed.

Have you ever had a book clear out? Was there anything you would never, ever part with? Talk to me.

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