I once read somewhere that if you stick to anything for three weeks daily, you’ve got yourself a routine. Guess what: I have one! Since last summer, no less! My routine of getting a coffee and a pain au chocolat every morning from the coffee-shop around the corner is so deeply-rooted as we’re fast approaching the first anniversary, that I actually go there also on weekends. First thing I wake up! Sans make up, and in the summer I made the trip in my nightgown.
There you are. Routines: not so hard.
After I cut my hair quite short I’ve noticed I have more time for other routines as well, but this materialised only after I had met everyone once first. Replying to people’s questions “but why did you do that?” turned out to be highly time-consuming. Once that was done it’s been as if there’s an extra hour in the mornings for me to lay in bed and not meditate, juice anything or jot down affirmations.
I’ve had time to read, mainly because there has been no going outside for the last week as the weather has been absolutely impossible. I read Karen Thompson Walker’s The Dreamers lately, and it’s a beautiful story about university students in California who start falling asleep, and cannot be woken up. The epidemic spreads across the small Californian town and no-one can figure out where the illness is coming from, what it is, why it is lethal to some but not everybody, and why and how it suddenly disappears.
The book reminded me of José Saramago’s Blindness, which came out already in the 90s. In Saramago’s book people start going blind for no reason, and the epidemic results in the authorities herding the blind into asylums. Then a fire breaks out in one of the asylums and then it is literally each woman and a man to their own.
Both Dreamers and Blindness are sort of dystopias, the latter being more political and metaphorical. The Dreamers is a beautifully told story that is set in the modern day the way that it made me immediately think how “this could really happen”, and it wouldn’t even been so far-fetched.
Both highly recommended.
I also finished the biography of Marie Colvin, the world-famous war correspondent who was killed while covering a story in Syria. An excellent book. It’s called In Extremis and it’s written by a fellow journalist Lindsey Hilsum.
While we are at reading, the latest Gentlewoman issue is also interesting, in particular the interview with artist Cindy Sherman.
There have been movies, too. I saw both the RBG -documentary and On the Basis of Sex. Both about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am not sure of their cinematographic credentials – in that sense the documentary was better. A hardcore fan forgives any dramaturgical shortcomings.I also saw Colette, about the famous French writer who wrote for her husband and went by her husband’s name for years as a writer. The actors in the film a British and thus spoke English. There was something bizarre in the scenes where Colette (played by Keira Knightley) was thinking to herself in English, but produced French words on paper. Again, not an epic Meisterstück, but an interesting literary film nevertheless.
I still have The Favourite and Mary, Queen of Scots on my list. There’s also a film about Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, which will premier in London on 21 March and hopefully also makes its way to the continental cinemas.
For balance, I watched Top Gun on Netflix in an attempt to mess up my algorithm and make the hilarious, if absurd “Films featuring a strong female lead” -recommendation go away (try as I have, there’s no “films featuring a strong male lead” -recommendation). Given the passing of Luke Perry, my first imaginary boyfriend, I though it would be fair to spend a moment with my second imaginary boyfriend, Tom Cruise. Though the soundtrack is still absolutely riveting and Val Kilmer circa 1986 much lush, I didn’t quite feel the need for speed. That, or I’d lost that loving feeling.