I’ll admit it: I haven’t read many books lately. Unfortunately, lulls like this in my reading schedule tend to accompany bouts of seasonal depression, and while I’m definitely not clinically depressed, I do have a case of the mid-winter blues. You see, reading a book lends me a sense of purpose. I feel like I’m accomplishing something, and whatever fictional world I find myself immersed in colors my real life. Without a book, I’m stuck with the dull, listless routines of everday life with no escape. Apathy sets in, and the grey snow still clinging to the ground begins to resemble my psyche.
Maybe we need lull periods like this–time to reboot and allow ourselves to recharge for our next outburst of creative energy. Or maybe we need these dull moments in order to illuminate the next adventure. I’ve always believed that as crappy as winter can be, one needs to slog through it in order to fully appreciate the spring.
Well, for whatever reason we have these lulls, I’m knee-deep in it and impatiently waiting for spring. I was even mildly excited to see the first glimpse of brown-grey grass under the melting snow on my way home from work yesterday. In retrospect, that image was probably just as depressing as the sight of more snow, but oh well. Luckily, Cincinnati recently dodged another snow storm, meaning the foot or so on the ground can continue to disappear. Now I like snow. I was rather excited for Cincinnati’s own winter wonderland, and warmly admired the snow covered trees lining I-71 during my commute. Despite being rather northerly, Cincinnati rarely recieves so much snow; this season was the most I’ve seen since elementary school. But as romantic as the first heavy snowfall is, I’m done with the white stuff. Having to drive in it has snuffed out the romance, and it’s virginal white has been sullied by dirt and road pollution. Now, the dark clumps on the side of the road–you know, the ones that don’t melt until April–are metaphors for my psychic trauma.
My routines are also suffering a similar bout of depression. Joel and I are making our way to the grocery store more and more irregularly, which tends to stress me out. In addition, we’ve completely run out of quarters for the laundry machines, meaning I have to go to my parents’ house after work tomorrow, when I should be enjoying the rare evening off from work with my boyfriend. Joel has also just recovered from a two-week bout with bronchitus, which is good, but the entire experience thoroughly exhausted me. Add to this nagging reminders that I’m out of shape, and a sudden resistance to working weekends.
In going back to my original point though, I’ve also finished my winter reading list, leaving me in literary limbo until March. I plan on working on my stack of New Yorkers, but even that can become deadening.
UPDATE: To breath some new life into my reading schedule, yesterday I found this book, The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value is Remaking Commerce, Culture & Consciousness by Virginia Postrel. Now I’ve never heard of this book. I only found it while sorting books in our buy area, struck by it’s title before throwing it into the “Cultural Studies” cube. I don’t want to buy it, but I think I may go dig it out today and borrow for a few weeks. Some good nonfiction never hurt anybody, and it may tide me over til March. Speaking of which, keep an eye out for my new reading list for Spring 2010. I should be compiling it in the next few days.