Lockdown lowdown

I feel like I’m doing one of those ‘what I did on my holidays’ updates, like we used to at the start of a new year at school after a period of separation.

Well, I can’t deny it – I haven’t been quiet, so much as completely silent. I set off bravely into setting up a new venture, and then I just crashed and moped (I didn’t even have the energy to crash and burn). For the first time in a long time, though, I sense that people will understand when I say I have just not really been…in the mood. That’s actually the understatement of the century – I have been downright hibernating, and I think it’s reasonable to expect that quite a few others have been doing the same. I’m not going to list all the reasons for my own personal misery because quite honestly – it is what it is. None of us, I imagine, have sailed blithely through these last months and I see little point in unleashing my own grump into the world to add to it. But needless to say, I haven’t seen my family, friends, or colleagues for Quite Some Time. However, over the last few days, I have been starting to feel, if not like myself, less like I need to stay in my cave (which is a relief). So, in the spirit of sticking my face out and being sociable, what have you been up to?

We had a very quiet Christmas; we had some snow, we’ve had some more snow, and there’s a bit more snow outside now!

I made some good resolutions, which mainly involved the eschewing of any and all underwires and knicker elastic for the good of my physical and mental comfort, and deciding to make an effort to try and get through at least some of my virtual Kindle Pile Of Shame – the almost-500 unread books that I have allowed to heap in a drift over the last several years while I have had other things to do. On New Years’ Day, I made a list of around 100 of them, and subsequently got to work (feel free to click the link and add me). I’ve bought myself an old-school reading log so I can keep a list of my (largely private) reviews (I feel very guilty about putting bad, or even mediocre reviews anywhere they can be viewed, but I still like to keep a note). Of course, because I can never quite stick to my resolutions, I have already ended up adding to the list – but it’s all for good reasons (she said, blithely piling more books onto the list)! First up, may I direct your attention to Roxane Gay’s new venture, The Audacity, and – of course – its extremely exciting-looking monthly book club. Am I signed up? OF COURSE I AM. Secondly, I felt it would be rude not to join the Vagina Museum‘s Cliterature group. And you should too 🙂

Other things that are bringing me joy this year include Milk and Moon‘s New Moon Club – I have talked of my love of her design before and this gives me great joy. Also, it’s supporting a small business which feels like something I should be doing more of. Finally, combining several things that I love (horror, women, books, second hand books, and people bringing me all of the above in a box so I don’t have to go out), I feel obliged to tell you about the Abominable Book Club, which brings a selection of new and second hand horror books and publications creeping through the letterbox once a month. Oh, GO on then.

I have done some things other than lie under a blanket with the cat reading. I have also lain under a blanket with the cat watching the new series of American Gods, and finally got around to starting Vikings (I know I am eight years behind. Don’t judge me.). I have shaken off my malaise sufficiently enough to get my kombucha rolling again.

I am trying, really trying, to embrace this time as a time to prepare for whatever comes next. I am writing, reading, planning, studying. But man alive, do I miss being with other humans.

Tell me how it is for you.

Goth boy

Picture the scene, if you will.

It is a muggy  Thursday evening and my miserable lymphoedema legs and I (at this time of day they become the boss and I am powerless to challenge in the heat) are gently simmering and browsing the magic of the ‘gram. In my case this evening, browsing the actual magic, as I’m enjoying a witchy book feed and contemplating something new to read.  Imagine my absolute joy when a shouty, sweary goth boy appears and starts shouting at everyone because apparently, the recommendation, by one of the community, of a book called Waking The Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic and Power is exceptionally sexist and exclusionary and he is feeling oppressed and left out! Gosh. 

I think the problems are multiple but the most glaringly obvious is that it’s not a book for women, it’s a book about women. It actually says so in the title. Also, nobody is forcing him to read it, but also…you cannot come into a space which is largely curated by women giving each other book recommendations – not deliberately to spite him, but just because that’s how the community has fallen into place – and aggressively shout that the space has not been made representative enough specifically for him: a white boy in makeup screeching about being oppressed. Give it a rest mate. 

It was interesting to observe the rage and indignation from someone who was claiming to be in tune with the feminine (he wears makeup you know – we all know, because he shouted about it at us) but who also seems to have a confused understanding of what it looks like to truly value and respect it. I did, of course, have a click through to look at his profile. What else are thumbs for? He is physically relatively unblemished, appears to live in a nice home and is able to wear clothing that reflects and expresses his cultural identity. He is able bodied, white, slim. He is secure enough in his own identity to be able to play with his gender expression publicly and not expect any real backlash. In other words, then – the epitome of privilege, in passing at least. No wonder entitlement grows from such conditions. It’s the most fertile kind of soil there is for roots to grown down into.

Anyway I’ve recommended him a book by the GLAM Witch, Michael Herkes – it’s about Lilith, so it’s another book about “FEMALES!!11!!” – but at least it’s written by someone whose voice he might value. I hope he enjoys it.