I didn’t write a Weeknote last week, so this is two weeks’ worth.
Work has been slow and unproductive. I’ve had trouble sitting down and writing (probably why I didn’t do a Weeknote last week, it’s hard to report lack of progress. But not talking about it doesn’t make it go away).
I was also avoiding work email, but I’m catching up now. The summer is really almost over, because the work emails that aren’t about stuff that had to be done in the summer are starting to roll in. *cries*
While avoiding work I managed to get a fair bit of reading done. The Booker list came out on the 26th (at midnight BST, so at 4pm CDT on the 25th) and I dove into the ones I had access to. I read and reviewed My Sister the Serial Killer and I also finished John Lanchester’s The Wall, which I need to review. I then started Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive. In addition, I made progress on Ironopolis and read a Regency anthology from the Harlequin TBR, both for my 20 Books of Summer challenge. I have a feeling I won’t complete the challenge, but I still have five weeks to go so you never know. Barb said I’d picked a challenging list and she was right. It doesn’t help that I have a bunch of long and/or concentration-requiring books on it.
Or that I’m reading and listening to books that aren’t on the list! I’ve had the audiobook of Trollope’s Can You Forgive Her? on the TBR forever. I read all the Palliser novels back in high school, but I’ve wanted to reread them. The narration is by Timothy West and he’s wonderful. I’m listening when I hike or jog by myself, and the audio is over 32 hours long, so it’s not going all that fast but it’s great. I’m impressed yet again by how Trollope can combine unsentimental acuity with empathy. I just finished a seaside party section that is up there with Emma‘s Box Hill scene.
On the watching front, we continued with the second Maigret (just as good as the first) and started rewatching Foyle’s War from the beginning. Everyone is so young! I’d forgotten how good the early seasons were, and how much Horowitz shows you the complex and not always admirable ways that different Brits reacted to the early months of the War. The first two episodes take us up to Dunkirk. I’m assuming you’ve all seen them, but if you haven’t, get started! And Michael Kitchen is brilliant.
I’m still listening to Brexitcast, which is podcasting more frequently thanks to the Brexit implications of Boris Johnson’s ascension to Prime Minister. I still can’t believe I’m typing that. I’ve read a couple of very good articles on BoJo and other Brexiteers in the various literary magazines I read weekly. If you have access to the LRB, TLS, and/or NYRB, I strongly recommend them. There’s also a very good article by John Lanchester on Basic Universal Income in the most or next-to-most recent LRB. I have to say that reading these magazines is giving me … well, not hope, exactly, but more cognitive pleasure than reading the daily newspapers and their endless President/PM “what idiot/horrible thing has he said lately” stories.
Productivity was pretty crappy over the last two weeks. I didn’t keep up my lists and I had to go back and fill in my diary with events after the fact. I finally decided I had to face whatever was keeping me from working, so I pulled out a notebook and did a version of Morning Pages. That may be what I need to do for a while, at least until I work through whatever is going on.
I logged in to my second Twitter account after a year away and deactivated it (this is an account I set up so that I could lurk on Twitter more easily without interacting). I haven’t logged into @ProfNita yet, but I plan to deactivate that one too and then let it expire at the end of 30 days. I’ve become used to not being on Twitter, and while there are things I can’t see without having an account, they grow less and less important to me. The new format doesn’t let me lurk the way I used to, and I’m not going back to using it through an account, so there’s no point in having one. There is no question in my mind that the Orange Disgrace’s use of Twitter is contributing to the degraded state of our public sphere and the normalizing of racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic discourse, and the only thing that will reduce coverage is to reduce participation (both on Twitter directly and via second-hand consumption of the media’s obsession with it). And yes, I realize that silence can suggest consent and can contribute to normalization, but there’s a difference between silence about policies and enabling an echo chamber whose back-and-forths get monetized for clicks . The media is the dog who is being wagged by the tail on this. Most people aren’t on Twitter and only get the information second-hand. If it were less lucrative for the relevant parties it wouldn’t be reported as obsessively, and as a consequence there would be less incentive to come up with daily (and increasingly awful) Tweetstorms for publicity.
I’ve been hiking and jogging, but last night my knee, which has been giving me minor problems all summer, decided it was serious about being injured. It’s my LCL (outside knee ligament), and I’m almost certain it’s not a full tear. But it means keeping off it, taking inflammatories, and generally trying to get the inflammation down. Dammit. I hate tendon injuries.
Back to writing. More reading. RICE for the knee.
Oh, your poor knee! Due to good ole’ osteoarthritis I am now 75% bionic (2 knees, 1 hip). My advice (worth about 1 cent)–avoid joint replacement surgery as long as you can but don’t put yourself through agony just to avoid surgery. Yes, it is a tricky decision making process. One more joy of getting older.
Oh man, that’s a lot of physical therapy! I agree that replacements are to be avoided when possible, but when you need them they really improve your quality of life, assuming all goes well.
This is definitely a minor injury. Compression and ibuprofen is already helping. I’m hoping to be able to walk on flat trails in a few days. But you cannot rush tendons. Sigh.
I don’t usually have much to say in response to your Weeknotes but I appreciate reading them — they give me a nudge to be more intentional about the ways and means of my life as well. Thanks and happy doing!
Staying with my parents this week I watched my dad sit in an ancient canvas sling chair in his little garden, reading through NYRB, and it made retirement look awfully good. (I did very little but read and go for slow old people walks on this vacation and it was what I needed). I passed on the opportunity to see Elizabeth Warren in someone’s field, even though that seemed like Peak New Hampshire Experience, and went swimming instead.
After I hooked my husband on Anthony Powell on audio, he was trying to find something new, so I got him on Can You Forgive Her? too, but with Simon Vance narrating. I myself have been on an Andrea Camilleri audio binge. I was thinking about how both those choices are such a nice break from podcasts/politics. They aren’t escapist, exactly, but they move at a different pace (especially Trollope!) and have such different, humane concerns.
My work won’t really ramp up until the last week of August and I’m determined to have some staycation family fun since only my daughter went to NH with me—a new life phase, the end of the automatic whole-family vacation. But I’m starting to think about what habits I want to take into fall, and what I want to pick up again. I’m hoping once again that one of those things will be blogging.
@Sumana: Thanks! I’m happy to have lurking readers, as you know. I like reading other people’s Weeknotes and productivity posts, and I mostly don’t comment on those either.
@Liz: I would love to read your blog posts, as always, but only do it if you enjoy it. Blogging of all things shouldn’t be a chore or burden. There are enough of those!
One thing this summer has brought home to me is that being out in the natural environment has really helped my mental health. I’m trying to work out how I’ll keep that going when we go back to St. Louis. Here we have a canyon to walk/hike/run in outside our front door (the trailhead is literally 5 minutes away and we see the canyon through our windows). But when you live in a city it’s harder. I did find that we took the time to walk to and from work (it’s about 1.5 miles), just being out in the open and walking, even through residential city streets, helped me feel better and unwind.
I like listening to audiobooks when I walk, because they blend well with the natural environment. Podcasts are OK but not as good. Basically something that complements nature rather than working against it is good. I find it interesting that the Youngs are so much more committed to ecological issues than the Olds, but they spend much less time in nature, offline. I applaud their efforts, but it’s something that they don’t personally participate in as much, which creates a weird kind of distance, i.e., it’s something they know matters, but which they mostly don’t have firsthand experience with.
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