I spent some time over the holidays reading the journals of folks who live lives that I would live if I wasn’t living my life. Lives of girls in apartments studying art or design, who stomp through snow, hang with groups of friends on weekends in bars and bookshops while eating ramen and making zines. I was reminded by these other lives that I am now officially not that kind of person any more. I am a suburban mum, a few months shy of 31, a few years shy of buying or building a house and around a decade shy of being middle aged (although when does middle aged start exactly? 40? 45? When I was little I thought it was 30 so perhaps it moves further away with every birthday). Where I once fantasised about working for an alternative record label while designing posters, living on a clapped out houseboat and looking like Holly Golightly, I now fantasise about keeping a run of chickens, growing herbs outside my kitchen window and holding a brood of giggling kiddies while reading “Where the Wild Things Are” out loud. I now prefer the intoxicating blend of russian caravan and lapsang souchong to the heady mix of vodka and tonic, going to bed early to sleeping in late, cook books to comic books. I don’t even know where my tube of liquid eye liner is (once a trusty friend and constant companion through art school), and if I did happen upon it I am sure it would be all dry and crusty and if it isn’t I would surely have lost that honed knack of applying it just so – 60s mod not 80s gothic.
And by and by she got older. Sniff.
I have just finished a book which I really enjoyed. She Flew the Coop by Michael Lee West. Claire sent me a preloved, dog-eared copy of it ages ago and I finally had a chance to sit down and get into it. It’s full of gossip and recipes and intertwining lives in a small town and was very easy to read while waiting for my turn for a shower in the mornings or for the water to boil for pasta in the evenings… I will be handing it on to someone who needs a good book to read soon. So I am now on to one my mum leant me; Margaret Drabble’s The Seven Sisters I have only just started it but already I am wondering if I would enjoy it more if I were the age of the protagonist – which I guess to be late 50s or early 60s with grown children and starting a new life. Even so, I am already keen to know what’s going to happen and Margaret Drabble is a pretty compelling author. I just had a peek at the Amazon editorial review and I might have to go and read a bit more while Amelia J snoozes.