A Depressed (and Possibly Depressing) Midwinter Post, and How Not to Become Morose (I Write As If I Knew!)….

I know, it’s perfectly obvious, trite and sentimentally established and boring, even.  It’s midwinter.  The sun comes out for a few hours now and then in the temperate zone, and then gives up the ghost and retreats.  People are mostly bundled up; even though they may feel too warmly dressed for the particular day, they don’t want to be caught out later without adequate coverage, so they overdo it and take the chance of getting a cold from being too warmly dressed for the occasion.  My favorite iced coffee isn’t an option right now, because I’m not one of those hardy souls who drink it in all weathers, so I have to go for hot coffee or cocoa, just to keep warm.  People on the bus are all bundled up too, and for some reason are carrying more heavy burdens than they do in warmer weather, God knows why.  Or, maybe it’s just that we all look like a bunch of overburdened bears or hippopotami, or other ungainly animals, wrapped up as we are and carrying what we have to carry.

I did yesterday go for a bit of a walk after getting off the bus and running some admittedly enjoyment-filled errands and having lunch (I can’t pretend that there weren’t some bright spots in the day).  But the walk was marred (it’s winter, and I’m complaining) by the necessity to cross the street not just to get where I was going, but once, twice, thrice, four, five, I can’t remember how many times because the merchants and the homeowners had with only indifferent success or attention cleared their sidewalks of the snow.  Imagine it, the weather had even depressed them to the extent that they weren’t much concerned about being sued in case of falling accident by all the pedestrians who were keeping me company trying to get back and forth on the snowy sidewalks.

But do you know what really bothers me?  I’m reading about five or six different books all at the same time now, yet not one of them inspires me enough for me to write a post on it.  Oh, maybe by the time I’m finished, I’ll be ready to write, but it’s hard enough even to keep reading.  My feet are propped up on the footrest of my lounge chair with a heating pad under them for comfort, and I have a cup of coffee close at hand, and I’ve done what I can to make phone contact with those at a distance who might be interested in how I’m doing (for of course, all winter complaining is self-centered).  And though it doesn’t make me feel better, there are many others who are worse off than I am, and who are having harder times right now and complaining about it less.  But not even their good example makes me want to stop kvetching and whinging about what is wrong with the day.  So, I ask myself (or was asking myself a good half hour ago, before I started this post), “What is the best way not to become morose when everything in the day itself seems to be militating against a cheerful attitude?”

At the risk of sounding extremely self-involved and egotistical (and egoistical, which is a different though just as noxious a thing), I must confess that I got the idea to re-read something I had enjoyed, not just something I’d enjoyed reading of someone else’s, but something of my own that I had enjoyed writing for you.  You, if you are honest, will admit that nothing quite makes you as cheerful as the sense of a job well done, and when it’s your own job, that sense is especially strong.  Oh, a good dose of Shakespeare or Milton would no doubt improve my psychic or moral outlook, but since it’s my rather more minor and less stately daily weather spirits which need lifting, I decided to be a bit less grand.

And that is all this is, really, some quite insignificant advice which I have to share with you, now that I have gone to my “read blog” function on this site and have looked back through the archives and pondered some of my previous offerings with an open mind.  I’ve said to myself about some of these offerings, “This is not bad.  Surely a person able to come up with this will eventually get her act together and come up with something which might entertain or enlighten a reader or two.”  And that’s what I really want to pass along today to you, my advice that if you really want to get your mid-winter blahs to go away so that you can continue to work profitably, you not only preach to yourself the sermon about good models to be derived from other writers, including those whose blogs you follow, but also look back over your own work for the high points of what you’ve done before.  I can attest to the fact that those of you at least whom I follow will find much there to make your own spirits rise and to continue to inspire your other readers.  And somehow, we will all of us get through this cold/rainy/snowy/glum/dim/lackluster winter together, by reference to what we have all achieved together, which is a writing and reading sense of community.


Filed under Other than literary days...., What is literature for?

8 responses to “A Depressed (and Possibly Depressing) Midwinter Post, and How Not to Become Morose (I Write As If I Knew!)….

  1. I flew to New York City two days ago to tape a segment for a new daytime television talk show. It was cold and I was running through airports. I was feeling less then confident and joy-filled so before the shoot I took the time to go to my website and view some of the segments I had done, as you did with your blog posts. It helped. Why? Because viewing our successes reconfirms who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Writing (and any truly personal journey) is a lonely profession, no matter the weather! So create your own personal world, where the coffee is hot and the throw blanket on your soft is soft and comfy. Snuggle up and be thankful you have this place, right now, at this time. It is your canvas, your muse. Be in the moment and enjoy it.


    • Dear Kathy, Are you sure I can’t just put some of your heartening and enthusiastic posts and return comments on tap? I always feel restored and cheerier after hearing from you, whether on your posts or in the comments you leave me. And congratulations on the new talk show spot–I know a celebrity who just keeps getting more and more famous!


  2. severalfourmany

    Having a bit of that feeling myself. The table next to the bed keeps filling up with the many books that I’m currently “reading” but every time I sit down to read I’m looking for another one because there is nothing in the stack that seems to fit my mood or inspire me at the moment. At least I have no qualms about drinking my favorite iced coffee in February!


    • I just found a possible antidote in a favorite poem. If you’ve got a standard or modern English poetry anthology, look at A. E. Housman’s “Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff.” I felt like reading that poem aloud to myself, and it worked for a little while! Maybe I’ll write a post on it sometime. It certainly spoke to my mood. And maybe in turn I’ll go ahead and for my 3 o’clock coffee break the ban and have a good iced mocha-coffee or something, since I’m going to be in a somewhat overheated house anyway and not outside. Your non-qualmish state (if “non-qualmish” is a word) is an inspiration.


  3. Take heart, Victoria. February’s back is broken! I know how keen the feeling can be when books fail to comfort too, though. I say try a new one! Reread one your adored, and maybe it will help lift your spirits.


    • I’d love to! Unfortunately, the ones I’m in the midst of are all due at the library soon, so I have to plug on. But I did make a new friend, in A. S. Byatt’s “The Matisse Stories,” so this week is improved already (I don’t think she could write anything that I wouldn’t like). And thanks a lot for the good and friendly comfort–it means a lot to hear from you.


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