I’m writing this paragraphy just after 3.00pm.  I’ve been awake since about 12.15pm, but I’m still in my pyjamas.  I’ve had breakfast and read a bit of the latest Doctor Who Magazine, but that’s about it.  I’ve spent most of my awake-time today so far lying in bed thinking.  I feel really drained and I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s the cumulative effect of my first week back at work, enrollment and a reasonably busy Shabbat yesterday, with some social interaction (at least by my standards).  But I just have no energy at all, as if I was physically ill with the flu or something, but with no physical symptoms other than no energy.  I don’t even feel particularly depressed, just drained and a little bit lonely.  The heat in the flat doesn’t help.  I only have a small window, so I mainly ventilate my flat by opening the front and back doors, which I obviously don’t want to do while I’m in my pyjamas.  I was too tired to get up properly, too tired to get dressed and daven Shacharit (say the morning prayers), which I feel bad about, as I was awake, I just literally could not move.

It’s now the evening.  I lost most of the day to that drained feeling.  I did eventually get dressed and do some things, but I was unable to go for a jog as I intended.  I did go for a walk and do some shopping, which was boring but necessary.  I did some Torah study, although not as much as I would have liked.  More enjoyably, I spent an hour and a half working on my Doctor Who book, writing about 1,500 words, which was very productive.  I’m writing about the era of the mid-seventies (broadly, the stories script edited by Robert Holmes and produced by Philip Hinchcliffe), the most popular period of the classic series with fans and the only era of the classic series to consistently rival the new series in ‘best story’ polls, so I feel an obligation both to do justice to the era and to try to say something new about it (well, I want to do both those things in the whole of my book, but particularly here), which can be difficult as in many ways it is a fairly straightforward period in terms of its aims and influences especially when compared with the three or four following years which were more complex in their intentions and allusions and more controversial in their reception.

I wanted to go back to what I blogged yesterday and expand on it a bit, but I’m too tired to write any more.  Maybe tomorrow, if I get time in amongst catching up with the chores I was supposed to do today.  I suppose today wasn’t a total waste – in some ways it was very productive, at least in terms of catching up on the big backlog of notes for my book – but I wish I could have done more.  It is what it is, I suppose, but what is is wrong, as the Doctor said.  So, dinner and more of the DVD of the 2007 RSC production of King Lear with Sir Ian McKellen as Lear and Sylvester McCoy as a slightly Doctorish Fool (in a good way); at least I’m feeling not-depressed enough for Elizabethan tragedy as I’ve had the DVD sitting on my shelves for weeks if not months now.  To be honest, I’m not sure I’m well enough to completely follow it, especially as it’s some time since I read or saw the play, but the acting is of a very high standard.

11 thoughts on ““Alison, I know this world is killing you”

  1. Gandalf and the Doctor together – now that’s an interesting combination! ‘King Lear’ is my favourite play, so I’ll be curious to hear what you think. We recently watched the final part of Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ trilogy and I’m feeling rather bereft to think there’ll be no more Peter Jackson Tolkien films *ever*, unless he decides to be very bold and attempts to film ‘The Silmarillion’, which is unlikely. Happy viewing and good luck with getting your chores done tomorrow!


  2. I thought The Hobbit films were quite good, but worse than The Lord of the Rings: too long (it didn’t need to be another trilogy) and too different from the books. It probably doesn’t help that the day I went with my then-girlfriend to see the first film was probably the day I slowly began to realize that the relationship wasn’t working and wasn’t going to work. I don’t think I can imagine what a Silmarillion film would be like…


    1. I totally agree about ‘The Hobbit’ – far too long and he changed far too much. I love the ‘LOTR’ films and I know the book very well, but I don’t know ‘The Hobbit’ well at all and so it’s probably just as well or I’d be cringing/screaming at the Legolas bits and the love triangle between the Aidan Turner-dwarf, Legolas, and the newly-invented elf Tauriel played by Evangeline Lilly. I will need to re-read it at some point, but first I feel a re-read of all of ‘LOTR’ and ‘Harry Potter’ coming upon me! Ooh, speaking of which: we went to the new Harry Potter shops in Edinburgh last week and they’re fab! B. has ordered herself a wand and I may need to get a sign for Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade at some point… IF ONLY there were equivalent shops for ‘LOTR’ and ‘Doctor Who’ and Narnia! I don’t think anyone can imagine what a film of ‘The Silmarillion’ would look like, but you can bet they’d focus on Beren and Luthien!!


  3. I thought the love triangle was silly. I understand that they need more female characters, but there were better ways to do it.

    Have I mentioned I’ve never read Harry Potter or seen the films? Please don’t hate me! I probably should, but I’m daunted by the sheer length (and the number of other unread books I already own) and I suspect I associate it too much with my ex, and with the woman who was flirting with me on her podcast a while back but never got back to me.

    There are specialist Doctor Who shops. I’ve never been to one as they aren’t local, but I’ve mail ordered stuff from them in the past. They do tend to be rather pricey, though.


    1. Abandon all your other plans for the next few weeks and go and read all of HP immediately! I joke. I didn’t read LOTR till my 20s, much to the horror and shock of my friends who I met at Uni. who love him, and so if I didn’t read Tolkien’s masterpiece till my 20s, you can probably wait until you’re at least 40 before you read HP. They are VERY easy reading, btw, as they are children’s books, and highly addictive, so probably best not to start during Elul unless you want all of your pre-RH reading plans to go out the window!

      Ooh, Narnia shop through the wardrobe – I like it! Yes – that would be exactly how you’d find it. And, in a suitably Narnian way, you could only get to the shop through that portal once…

      Yes, these highly specialist shops are very pricey – because they know there are fanatics like us out there who will spend just about anything for their sonic screwdrivers, invisibility cloaks, Gollum dolls, and the like.

      Re. the woman who was flirting with you on your podcast but never got back to you – humph!


  4. I guessed they would be easy reading, it’s just the sheer bulk that I find daunting! I’ve seen the books in the shops and the latter ones are huge! I do see them quite often in charity shops (I love buying books in charity shops, hence the large to read pile) and if I see the first one I’ll probably get it, but two to five seem to be the most donated ones for some reason. Anyway, I’m trying to concentrate on Daniel Deronda for now.


    1. I love buying books in charity shops, too! And some of my friends actually prefer ‘pre-loved’ books as gifts. As you know, ‘Daniel Deronda’ is one of my favourite novels of all time and after hearing that incredible lecture about George Eliot at the Edinburgh Book Festival the other week I’m now bursting to re-read all of her novels!! I’ve now finished the new biography of Anne Bronte that I got that same day and so I’ll hopefully get stuck into the GE one soon. Once you’ve finished DD you’ll need to watch the outstanding 2002 BBC adaptation of the novel – it’s stunning – and let me know what you think. Btw, my Waiting to be Read ‘Shelf’ (sic) currently has c.170 books on it, not to mention the small mountain next to my bed that simply *need* to be re-read, and so, I can more than sympathise with the large to be read pile!!! Last year B. wouldn’t let me re-read LOTR until I’d read an agreed number of other, new books on the WTBRS first, and I think I’m going to have to do the same before I re-read any of the above long books/series. AND I need to get back to my Bronte re-reading to mark the bicentenaries of their births… It’s a wonder I get anything else done with all this important reading happening and waiting to happen. Maybe it would be better if I just go back to Uni. and do a PhD so I can get to read all day? Wait, isn’t that my plan? Heh heh!


  5. I’m not doing that badly! According to my Goodreads catalogue of my books, I have ten novels, sixteen secular non-fiction books, six religious books (albeit counting the whole of Seder Zeraim of the Mishnah as one book! That should really be twelve books making seventeen religious books) and seven poetry collections to read as well as twelve books that are part-read to finish (e.g. complete works of Shakespeare) and a further thirty or so to possibly read, making about ninety books. Plus a couple more I’m actually reading or re-reading currently. That’s ignoring books I want to re-read, though.

    I don’t think you can really re-read a book, unless you re-read it immediately. Coming to a book a few years later you have more experience and different associations so it’s like reading it for the first time, particularly if it’s a book you read when very young – I was a precocious reader, but that means I read books like The Odyssey and Crime and Punishment when I was too young to understand them and need to re-read them now I’m more mature.

    What’s WTBRS?

    In the past I have sometimes had a rule of reading two books before buying one new one to get the to-read pile down. Haven’t done that for a while though.


    1. WTBRS = Waiting to be Read Shelf.

      Which poetry collections are on your pile?

      One of the very few things I enjoy more than reading is re-reading. There are many books I return to year after year. These are the books I grow with, travel with, understand myself most deeply with and through, and they are my lifelong companions. Fortunately I don’t have a good memory for details of plot and so I have the pleasure of reading a novel more than once almost for the first time, but what I remember most and what matters most to me, is how a book makes me feel, how it helps me to understand my place in the world, how it changes me, helps me, challenges me, illuminates me. As I return to beloved, favourite books, after a year, or five years, or a decade away, I see how much I’ve grown/changed/developed/learned, and, with the best books, I travel deeper and deeper into them, seeing more, understanding more, making more connections (both internally and with other books and authors I’ve grown with in the interim), and it is also a homecoming to an old, dear friend. A place of refuge. Of solace. Of connection and comfort. Some of my best friends are long-dead authors I will never meet in this lifetime, and I’m delighted to be able to say that I’ve had the great joy of getting to meet several of my favourite authors in the flesh and being able to thank them in person. No matter what happens, no matter how lonely or sad I may feel, Tolkien and C. S. Lewis and the Brontes and George Eliot and Wordsworth and all my other inner circle are all there for me, and I feel seen and understood, just as that wonderful biographer of GE said he felt by her during his amazing lecture the other week. Thank G-d for good books. They have saved me thousands of hours in therapy and literally kept me alive at times. Is it any wonder I’m longing to go back through the wardrobe and stay there for a very long time?

      Sleep well, Luftmentsch!


  6. The poetry is an eclectic collection. I used to read a poem a day (I’ve stopped since the last episode of depression and haven’t got back into it) and was trying to build up a library of books based on what I could purchase cheaply on Amazon Marketplace so I could flit from one book to another according to mood rather than force myself to stick with one indefinitely and get board of it. Eventually I realized I wasn’t reading that many collections and decided to stick with what I had, so it’s an odd selection that doesn’t necessarily reflect my tastes (also, I’ve got other poetry books not on the list because read in their entirety from poets I like more e.g. Eliot, Larkin). The list is: The Penguin Book of Modern Yiddish Verse; Selected Poems of Ibn Gabirol; Selected Poems of Yehudah HaLevi (both bilingual Hebrew/English), Complete Works of William Wordsworth; Complete Works of Rudyard Kipling; Collected Poetry of W. B. Yeats; Collected Poetry of John Betjeman.

    I’ve started the Betjeman and the Kipling; I’ve read one or two poems in most of the others, but not a substantial amount.


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