Hedgehogs have the right idea. Just curl up in a warm pile of leaves somewhere and sleep till the daffodils are out. I should do the same thing, because every January is the same for me – a dearth of creative energy, and self-esteem hitting rock bottom. Like some reverse Midas-effect, it feels like everything I touch in this miserable month turns to crap. How about you?
Things have just started to turn around, after I spent an inspiring week tutoring the most enthusiastic group of students from South Hampstead School at Arvon Totleigh Barton. A week of their energy has propelled me into February with a fresh excitement for my own work, and I’m returning to my novel-in-progress now with some kind of optimism.
Other things I’m excited about:
• I’m almost done reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It’s so reassuring to discover that needing regular downtime alone is not a social disorder, but a valid, natural and valuable behaviour.
• My birthday is later this week. I’m going for the biggest cooked breakfast Cambridge has to offer, then the movies to see either Django Unchained or Hitchcock.
• Thom Yorke’s project Atoms For Peace has a new album out on 25 Feb: Amok. There’s a track from it – Judge Jury and Executioner up on YouTube now. Love that man.
• I’ve just been invited to two BIG festivals later this year – I’ll post about them on here once the official sites are updated.
• On 2 March I’m taking part in a day of short story workshops with Michele Roberts, Alison MacLeod and Carrie Kania at Cathy Galvin’s WordFactory at The Society Club Soho. Details to be posted shortly.
• Karen Russell’s new story collection – Vampires in the lemon grove – comes out on 7 March. I’m just nutty about Karen Russell.
• I’ve just finished checking the proofs of the North American edition of The Stone Thrower, from ECW Press, which comes out in April.
• My Red Wing Iron Ranger boots are finally breaking in. I know it’s vain to love a pair of boots so much, but love them I do.
If emerging from January felt for you like clawing your way out of the underworld, then welcome back to ground-level. I wish you ultra-big-energy with whatever creative project you have underway.