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Knitting in the Rain

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knitting in the rain

Did you knit outside over the weekend? I cast on a few stitches on the balcony during the rain & was just about to move outside when it started hailing very hard & the front of our apartment turned into a square lake. I tied a few knitting needles together and vaulted across anyway. The weather’s been so much like Wales recently, it’s almost uncanny. Sunday’s weather was so nice that record numbers joined in the Eurasia Marathon in Istanbul. As the runners were crossing the Bosphorus Bridge, in a scenario similar to the Milennium Bridge, it went into resonance and started swaying wildly. You can watch a clip here. Yikes!

I picked up a copy of Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running on the way back from work today. I love Murakami, running, and writing, so I was highly delighted that the bookstore had this (especially as I had only 5 minutes to get up to the 4th floor of D&R, remember what I was looking for, find it, walk all the way down, and pay); it isn’t all that easy to find English books in Ankara, though it’s certainly way way easier than it used to be. I was a huge bookworm when I was little, but cross country was the bane of my life. I mean, PE was bad enough, but once every semestre, when the teachers decided I ought to be able to suddenly, magically jog up a steep hill and around the barren countryside, I really really wanted nasty things to happen to them, Matilda-style (note that they never came running with us). So I was really surprised last autumn in England when I discovered the Couch to 5K program and realised that running could be enjoyable. In hindsight, it seems like a silly time to start running, but somehow I found the motivation to run through drizzle, downpours and snowstorms. I even got chilblains for the first time in my life.

What kept me going wasn’t some external reward, it was that the challenge was just crazy enough to make me want to do it really bad, for myself. November, of course, is also the highlight of the Novelling Season.

“What’s crucial is whether your writing attains the standards you’ve set for yourself. Failure to reach that bar is not something you can easily explain away. When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can’t fool yourself. In this sense, writing novels and running full marathons are very much alike. Basically a writer has a quiet, inner motivation and doesn’t seek validation in the outwardly visible.”

What I love about both Nanowrimo and C25K is that they’re personal challenges that are built on actions you take “day after day”, that help “raise the bar.” Whether it’s running for an hour, writing 1667 words, knitting 20 rows, whatever. NaNo takes 30 days, C25K takes 9 weeks. Deciding to step outside your comfort zone, outside your door, into the rain, takes only one moment. You might get a cold, or you might just feel profoundly alive and aware.

I haven’t been running regularly since I moved back in with my parents (too many people about), but my circuit takes me near my old school, and I’m just glad those PE teacher don’t work there anymore…

Seasonal Readings

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This is the time of year when I get most of my reading done. I think few pleasures beat snuggling up with some hot chocolate, a hottie, and a good book. Turn off your TV & read instead! Or just get some ideas for gift-giving. Here are some of my classics for the winter months…

Ghost Stories of M.R. James (UK | US)
No winter can go by without a few ghost stories, and M.R. James is my most favouritest ghost story writer. His stories are understated, and often not fully resolved, as I think is only proper for a ghost story. Some of them are also amazingly simple, but once you read one, you just can’t get enough! If you can find the old BFI films of ‘A Warning to the Curious’ and ‘Whistle and I’ll Come to You’, they’ll make perfect Christmas entertainment too.

In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu (UK | US)
Le Fanu is M.R. James’s literary predecessor. His stories tend to be longer, but still as uncanny. I particularly recommend ‘Carmilla’.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (UK | US)
The classic sensationalist novel. This is a brilliant page-turner. I think The Woman in White has the best villain, and The Moonstone has the best detective.

Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (UK | US)
If you’re into Victorian sensational fiction, this is another one for you. I don’t know why it isn’t better known. There’s a film with Stephen Mackintosh too, but I’ve never been able to get hold of it.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (UK | US)
I haven’t actually read the book, but the film was wonderfully terrifying, full of fog and apparitions. If you can get hold of it, I highly recommend watching it on Christmas Eve. Otherwise, I’m sure the book is quite as excellently chilling (if not more so).

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (UK | US)
My favourite books in the world. Ever. I’m completely potty about this trilogy. I re-read the books every winter, and listen to the audiobooks whenever I can’t sleep, or need a bit of comforting. The unabridged audiobooks narrated by Philip Pullman are perfect, but don’t bother with the Radio 4 adaptation.

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez (UK | US)
I’ve just started this book, though it’s been on my reading list for years. Admittedly, my interest in this is greatly stoked by my obsession with HDM, but it’s a seminal work on the Arctic, and an engaging piece of nature writing in itself.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list. Leave your own recommendations in the comments if you like! :)

16th November, 2009  // Literature // tags: , , , .

wordless wednesday

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dark choc biscuit

a coffee, a biscuit & a good book

mmmmmm

shh… I’m working very hard! Really!

23rd September, 2009  // Life, Literature, Photographs // tags: , , .
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