January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
You know those days, so common in early January, when you are numb and so tired dragging yourself out of bed that you feel old? Sometimes it’s just lack of sleep or the sound of a storm raging outside, and sometimes it’s other things. Well life is a journey, and there are good parts, soul destroying parts and long, featureless roads you’ll never remember. My cure for the bad times is to immerse myself in the greatest journey ever written.
This last week has been something of a dark night for the soul. January often strikes me as the worst month to try self-improvement; how can you be optimistic when you are dragging yourself out of bed at 7am in the pitch black to howling wind and rain? I’m back in the office, and things are at a standstill. I feel paralysed with self-doubt over the future, too terrified of failure to take a step forward. I’m sure this will pass, and 2012 will turn out to be a good year. Until then I seek comfort in the written word, in other worlds. There is something wonderfully comforting about re-reading books. Knowing what happens to the characters, freed from anxiety on their part, gives you the luxury to look around a little.
My literary comfort food of choice is Lord of the Rings; specifically the first book. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read the trilogy, and of course The Hobbit, since I was a child. I particularly like the first volume; as soon as I open the first chapter and begin to read about Bilbo’s famous party, I feel like I’ve come home to somewhere safe and familiar. Which is ironic as I used to scare myself to sleep every night as a child listening to a tape of the Radio 4 dramatisation, until I finally felt able to tackle the book aged fourteen. Since then I’ve re-read at least part of the epic trilogy every three years. The black riders still give me shivers.
Tonight I’m going to hurry home, stick the kettle on, and climb under the covers with my cat friend to finish the last two chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. Again. Then I shall pull myself together and put the much-loved volume back on the shelf, for another year or so. Tomorrow I start reading something new.