My MA is at a different uni, far less creative and much more serious. Yesterday, however, I turned up to class and for the first time we were told to write. Not facts, but opinions - on the subject of my favourite things. It was a bit like old times. I liked what I wrote, so I'm putting it here, in the hope it will spur me on to write more, not the serious stuff that helps humanity but the literary fiction that I like to read.
In Appreciation of Winter
The arrival of the first frost.
Deciding that it's cold enough to get out your 'big coat'.
Getting on a train home for Christmas, watching the blurry countryside turning all bronze and gold and orange and white and knowing you're heading towards your Mum's stew and dumplings. Films with Emma Thompson in, and films from the nineties that you've seen so many times you can quote along to them (Clueless, I'm looking at you). Mulled wine, mulled cider, mulled things-you--didn't-even -know-could-be-mulled. I've said mulled too many times. Mulled.
Walking the dog, a task I eschew violently in the warmer months, suddenly becomes a legitimate leisure activity courtesy of that icy mist that I take great pleasure in feeling swirling inside my throat. The sun sits so low in the sky that it makes everything illuminate. Old friends, who spent all Summer lolling about in languid apathy with vague promises to meet up soon, are suddenly spurred into action by the festive proximity.
My wintery love affair is not just about Christmas, although there is nothing more fun than watching Grandma get her false teeth around a toffee penny whilst we all stop bickering in time to watch Wallace and Gromit. No, the great things about Winter go on well into February and beyond.
In the winter it is suddenly acceptable to put fairy lights on EVERYTHING, a task I take to with aplomb - my house, my clothes, my dog, my face, my consumables (have you ever put edible glitter in a cocktail? No? Then I urge you to stop reading immediately and get down Bargain Booze, no protestations about it being 10am thank you very much. It's winter, alcohol is practically necessary to keep out the cold).
I like scarves big enough to be blankets, wearing what is probably too much eyeliner, curling up with a book and pretty much all the sections of The Sunday Times (except Sport, sorry). I like Florence and the Machine, although she is of course appropriate at any time of the year, ditto The Rolling Stones and Amy Winehouse. I probably imagine that I'm far more rock and roll than I actually am - I think I'm John Cooper Clarke, I'm more Pam Ayres.
Maybe my adoration of the colder months is something to do with being English and bookish and a little bit soft-ish? Maybe they are symptoms of reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder? Or perhaps it's a chilling peek into my icy heart, the Snow Queen from Narnia reincarnate.