January is a dark month, dark even here in the almost south of Oklahoma. It's not just the lack of sunlight that eats away at my soul this month, it's the downer that follows the holidays. I did a lot of celebrating this Christmas season, and coming down off of that is like coming down off of a dark chocolate high. I get a little grumpy, a little bored, and a little depressed.
There is all the usual to fill my day - writing, a work in progress that needs finishing by month's end, the day-t0-day administrative stuff of being a writer, like setting up school visits, planning trips for conferences, planning conferences. And then there's all the mom and housekeeper things - washing the kids' bedding (glee), running the kids to yoga, violin, gymnastics, japanese, the other stuff moms do.
But I've lost my sparkle. I MISS WINTER VACATION.
Oh Gees, I sound like my seven year old. But it's true. I really miss it. I miss the expectant flavor of the season, the crazy family get togethers, the relaxed time of Christmas. (And yes, there is that mountain still on my desk. I haven't even reached base camp yet).
Sooooo, I'm self-medicating....with chocolate, but that love affair is doomed for failure. I hope. That, or my waist is going to leave me really soon, no matter how many runs I get in. I really do love chocolate (sigh).
In desperation, I've grabbed for my one other vice, reading. I read a lot. It's part and parcel for the authoring gig, but this month, I feel like I'm back in school and feverishly trying to beat Ann Goebel - she was the mega-reader in my class from 1st through 8th grade - record of books read in one month. I'm going all out. It's like trying to run 13 miles for me, which for me is really really far. I'm going for a new personal record. I don't have any specific number in mind, more a state of being - not depressed and mopey. I wonder how many books it will take?
I used to read just one book at a time, until I read an interview with Charles Schulz, in which he said he had at least five going at once. I kinda like that idea. I mean, if I'm not up for a serious read one night - which sometimes used to make me turn to TV rather than pick up the hefty book I was reading - I can get lost in a lighter piece instead, or vice versa. I can read fiction to offset nonfiction, that kind of thing. So I am now a smorgasborg reader, with at least three things going at once.
This month, it's shaping up to be a doozy of a read. I just finished, Kringle by Tony Abbott. It was my Christmas read. Then, as a meat and potatoes balancer after that tasty chocolate morsel, I read Gossamer by Lois Lowry last night. It was a quick but, like any Lowry piece, a weighty and thought-provoking story.
On the adult side, I'm munching on The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen, Following the Equator by Mark Twain (my bit of nonfiction), Peony in Love by Lisa See, and plan to start tonight Replay by Sharon Creech, as well as The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John. Meanwhile, in my car as I haul kids around from point A to point B, I'm listening to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I wasn't sure how my kids would take to listening to a piece about a woman writing a biography of a great writer - not exactly usual kid fare - but the wild thing is, they love listening to it more than Radio Disney. Whew!
It's the light of reading that I am guessing will carry me through this dark month, both creating stories and reading others. Thank God for books!