Monthnotes: February 2023

In February, it felt like work took over my life. I do like the job, but I’m not enjoying its current form, with a limitless capacity for absorbing my energy. Weekends in February were mostly spent recovering, with some dreadful headaches. Work is also the reason why these monthnotes are so late. I enjoyed meeting up with colleagues in Manchester and Croydon, although I could have done without the long train journey.

My sister dropped off Rosie the puppy to stay while she was on holiday. It was lovely to have her to stay, but I think a dog will be too much trouble as a permanent pet. I also had my friends Naomi and Emma visit (the latter visit described on Emma’s visual diary). Emma lived in Hebden Bridge for a few years and introduced me to a few eating places I’ve not tried yet.

I walked 304,820 steps last month, an average of 10,886 a day, which is good enough. The highest total was for a day exploring woodlands with Rosie and Emma. I’ve not been particularly healthy this month. My scales have been broken and I’m in no particular hurry to find out what they have to say.

My writing was also underwhelming in February. I ended up dropping my usual daily writing towards the end of the month as work swamped me. Rosy had a look at my next South Downs Way pamphlet, and pointed out some huge flaws. This sets me a little behind, but I hope to pick things up in a few week’s time. I also received a single-line rejection for a long story, four months after sending it out. Submitting stories is relentlessly unrewarding, and I’ve had enough of it.

I did make a recording of a new story, A Slice of Heaven on Earth. It’s about how much the Devil loves fruitcake.

I didn’t read a great deal this month. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was very readable and full of 90s gaming nostalgia. The plot was predictable and emotionally manipulative – but it was a good book to get lost in. I re-read House of Leaves with Katharine, and enjoyed the experience of sharing the book, even at a distance. I also finished Nice House on the Lake, which didn’t quite live up to its early promise.

The best book of the month was Paul LaFarge’s The Night Ocean, which was recommended by Tom. It starts out as a novel about a queer HP Lovecraft, and then becomes something even more wonderful. The book does not shy away from Lovecraft’s faults, but still manages an empathic portrayal. There are also appearances from William Burroughs and some wonderful jokes about fandom. A beautiful book about long, sad lives.

I also watched very few TV shows or movies this month (I’m definitely picking up a theme here). I tried a Shudder description but, while I was excited about the idea of watching some of the films, in practise I couldn’t get into them. Time loop movie Meet Cute was too frustrating to finish, even as part of my project on time loop movies – although I might try again in a month or two. I did watch all of Happy Valley, which was dark but contained some great footage of the Calder Valley.

I’m continuing to listen to new music, and the Spotify algorithm appears to have responded well to that. I’m also finding good tunes on the Misfits 2.0 and Our Generation playlists, although neither are really age-appropriate.

The stress of work is giving me some strange dreams, including one where someone was so angry with me that they threatened to break every bone in my body, in alphabetical order.

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