there are only 24 hours in a day. well. except.

Hello, readers.

It’s Monday. A blanket of grey clouds has been tossed over London. I’ve just realized yesterday, the 21st, was the winter solstice. We’re half way out of the dark.*

Later in the week, I’ll be traveling to Kent with EG. There will be 7 children under the age of thirteen. And several children over 30. I don’t know if it will snow. On Boxing Day, we (EG and I) will be in charge of brunch, which I believe is the traditional Boxing Day feast, as no one, most likely, will be quite ready to wake up for breakfast. There will, most like, be eggs and muffins and pancakes and granola and fruit. And that should be good, then.

The year, being almost over, and December being Christmas, and Christmas being ghosts, I find myself thinking about the dead and the past and the living in a way all a bit shimmery, like, perhaps, I’ve lost myself in the blanket of clouds. Or that I’m experiencing weather-related emotions. One of the things I remember is Sarah Lee Butter Pecan Coffee cake. Which we would, most always, have on Christmas morning when I was a kid. One year, much later, I made a coffee cake of my own for Christmas and for to share with mom and sister. For some reason, this memory makes me sad, but not sad, more a sense of sharp joy, felt and gone. A bit like being stabbed. Memories are like that, sometimes. As are yearnings, which are memories of a future that haven’t happened yet.

The tricky thing about yearning is that the joy is imagined and so, the knife, more a probability blade, one that could cut in any one of an infinite ways.

but. well.

Memory and imagination. Ghosts. Joy. Sorrow.

The gift of the season, if you’re lucky, is having someone to unwrap all those feelings with. Maybe on a sofa. Maybe with a cup of cocoa, or hot tea, your feet rubbing together. Something of your past on the television. A Christmas Story. A Grinch. And then, in the morning, all the many children, and the beautiful noise.

Happy Monday, readers.


*I read this just now. Only 4 days in a year last 24 hours. The rest, do not. We live in a model world, readers.


Hello, readers.

Here is a picture of me dressed up as Doctor Who.

Doctor Me

Can’t seem to find a picture of me dressed as Captain Jack. If you would like, though, readers, do feel free to imagine me in a kitchen dressed as Captain Jack, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re missing.

I never did quite manage to dress up as Rose. Perhaps, another day.

Once upon a time, my father told me that only people with no imagination possess no fear of the dark. This seemed wise to me at the time, especially as it was said by him as he rolled back into bed after having been sick as a result of chemo treatments and also cancer.

A lot of people describe horrible events as unimaginable, which is silly. What they mean, I think, is that very often the terrors we imagine have more to do with who we are and where we come from than the world we live in. By which I mean, my terrors tend to involve the dark and faces, which is a perfectly reasonable terror for a lonely boy who overheard his parents arguments and whose ancestors sat around a fire, afraid of loud noises and what might wait on the other side of the darkness, but in so many ways, the dark is a far less terrifying place than rolling back into your bed, sick from chemo, and pretty sure that soon you will be dead. But not a lot of people imagine the mundane moments of horror that intrude on our lives. It’s not that they’re unimaginable. It’s just that they don’t live as brightly in our imaginations as the devils and ghouls that more often haunt the darkness that haunts us, inside and out.

Sometimes, when I wake in the middle of the night, for just a moment, a shape, or a face, will peer in from the dark doorway, and a terror will grip my heart that I’m not alone. I know it isn’t real, but it feels real enough. In those moments, I think of what my dad said and the terror loosens and my heart beats a little easier. Something about how he shared his terror helps in those situations, as I hope, very much, that it helped him. Remembering his words means that he’s there in the dark with me, and I’m not alone. Some ghosts are worth not giving up.

Happy Hallowe’en, readers.