30 April 2023

Spring has finally sprung with Covid, Orwell’s 1984, and King’s Fairytale

One of our front borders. Spring has sprung while I've been busy coughing.

Hello! Yes, I know it’s been a while. Despite rumours to the contrary we haven’t emigrated, we have had Covid. And no, it wasn’t me who brought it home. Omicron is supposedly endemic now, so I guess we’ve done well getting this far before embracing our first bout.

Was it bad? Not particularly. I’ve had worse influenza in the long distant past. I could have done without the “pressure head”, a very odd feeling -  certainly not a “headache” - which lasted about four days, and the mucus from Hell which lasted for the rest of the month. I didn’t fight when the need to sleep descended, just doubled my vitamins D & C, Magnesium and Zinc. And watched YouTube videos, and read when the fancy struck. 

The dusting could go hang, again.

It was great to read without the prick of guilt that I should be creating, which was well beyond me, though my choice of material might seem odd. George Orwell’s 1984 headed my list, gained from the library the week before I was laid up. As I started to recover, I opened it up.

I’d not read any of Orwell’s work, but particularly wanted to read 1984 because for months social media has been alive with the likes of Ministry of Truth, Doublethink, and Big Brother.

What can I say? Two Minutes Of Hate [social media pile-ons], cancel culture, screens which gush propaganda 24 hours a day and listen in to conversations [hello Alexa]… Orwell must have had a crystal ball. That, or his view of the world under a Stalin-like totalitarian regime, which was still in power when the book was published in 1949, has edged close while we’ve been otherwise distracted, doubtless by insubstantial 'shiny things'. Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning; it seems some are using it as a handbook for life.

Stephen King’s Fairytale, a 600 pager he wrote during the Covid pandemic “to make him happy”, I started reading via Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature sometime around Christmas. On its strength I clicked through to buy, and immediately stopped myself. Why any publisher would think I would shell out £13 for a Kindle copy I couldn’t own, while the hardback is £11… 

Words don’t exactly fail me, but are unrepeatable in polite company. The publisher’s profits could go hang; I logged on to my area’s library catalogue and reserved it: I was 24th in the queue. I wonder why?

Of course, notification it was ready for collection arrived in my Inbox while I was incommunicado. I managed to pick it up on its last day on the waiting shelf and am currently a third of the way through. Like Orwell’s novel, it is a very readable book. But cripes, I’d forgotten how unwieldy 600 page hardbacks are.

So, is any writing of my own on the horizon? Short articles for the Medium platform, certainly, and there’ll be a long overdue update in my health series on this blog, but nothing long of note in the fiction stakes. At least not yet. There are, of course, projects on a back burner. There are always projects on the back burner.

As the saying goes, watch this space. Even better, subscribe to my blogposts. It’s less hassle.

Enjoy May.