Monday 8 February 2021

Reasons to be cheerful by Keren David

 It's February, dark, cold, miserable, in the pandemic era. We're locked down, the virus is mutating, and spring...and vaccinations feel a long way off.  It's so easy to feel depressed and anxious. So I set myself the challenge of finding 10 things to be cheerful about. no particular order....

1) Zoom meetings. I know, I know. But they are accessible to everyone -  great for the housebound whose lockdown won't end when everyone else's will. I was on a panel event the other week which attracted 100 people  -  I can tell you that would not have happened in a bookshop, however convivial. And for the timid, school visits are much less frightening if you can't actually see the kids. I know real life will resume one day. But I hope we don't forget the people for whom Zoom has opened new doors.

2) Books. Many people are reading more , because their lives have slowed down. Children are reading more -  and parents are reading with their children. Hopefully they will carry on making time for books when life gets busy again. This has to be a good thing, doesn't it?  My most recent read was 'We Played With Fire' by Catherine Barter -  a stunningly good YA book about two real sisters who talked to ghosts or did they). Next I'm looking forward to Magpie by Eve Ainsworth. 

3) Duolingo. I lived in the Netherlands for eight years and failed to master Dutch. But for the last 60 days I've been learning Dutch with Duolingo -  a free app, which has the admirable aim of offering educational opportunities for all.  The best thing about it is that it's like throwing a fire blanket over anxious thoughts -  a few lessons of  word order, or conjunctions, late at night, and I am ready to sleep. (What's more, Duolingo Dutch throws up brilliant sentences such as  Zij zijn zijn zoons, which means They are his sons. 

4) Property websites. Hours and hours of escapism, planning the next stage of my life, in various parts of the world. Will it be Brighton? Will it be Manchester? Will it be Amsterdam again (armed with my new Dutch vocabulary). Probably none of them, but a girl can dream, and Rightmove and Zoopla help me do that. 

5) Art. I stumbled across this lovely video by Edmund de Waal, and now I am planning to make my own polyfilla pictures...although I might use photographs rather than poetry. Or book titles...Meanwhile various talented friends are making fabulous art in lockdown, which I am enjoying very much  via Instagram. And although I cannot visit museums and galleries, there is a lot of art available to view online. 

6)  Other people's good news. I'm not giving away any secrets. But in the last week or so I've heard of an engagement, and a book deal and an offer to do a PhD among my dear friends and these wonderful events are about a million times more exciting and comforting and full of hope and joy than they would have been anyway.

7) Flowers. I dream of being able to afford one of those schemes where a new bouquet arrives every week. But even just a few blooms are very cheering -  and so are the green shoots of  the spring bulbs poking through the snow in my garden.

8) Food.  Specifically this mushroom soup, which I made for lunch, which is delicious and somehow very comforting as well. 

9)  Television  I don't think I've ever appreciated television so much in my life. In fact, I don't think I've ever watched so much television in my life. But the quality and quantity available is quite outstanding. To mention just a few; It's a Sin was a masterpiece -  devastating, brilliant, important. Similarly I May Destroy You was breath-takingly good. Schitt's Creek  -  so funny and heart-warming that I've watched all six series three times. And Lupin - very entertaining. Plus I caught up with The Bridge and Borgen which I've been meaning to watch for years, and both were amazing. What next, people? 

10) Writing  All my writing in the last few months has been journalism  -  partly for the day job, and partly to promote my new book . And I've written some pieces that meant a lot to me and that I'm proud of.  But this week I hope to tentatively dip my toe into creative writing again. And you know what...I'm looking forward to it. 


Nick Garlick said...

I liked your post. Nice to read something optimistic.

Penny Dolan said...

Who can't enjoy a post with a positive angle - and a soup recipe as well?

Thank you, Keren, for brightening the moment.