It's just after 4pm, and getting ready to go out tonight on a gig with Big C. It's not desperately far away, though I doubt we'll get back before 5am. Best thing about this place: if I remember correctly, the dressing room is heated, so this evening I shall be hiding away in it with a glass of Baileys on ice and reading, then I'll come out at midnight for my New Year's kiss (hopefully not on stage, but more than likely it will be!), then with a bit of luck creep back in until the night is over. Not a definite, though: in my experience, once people know I'm there, I generally get kept out of hiding! I don't mind, though, I'm looking forward tonight. I'm still not ready, sat here in my dressing gown drinking coffee, but after this post I shall get myself together.
And I'll be taking The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (which I am loving): I'm nearly finished, so I expect it will be my final 2011 book, and then Season Songs by Ted Hughes and Pickwick Papers by, of course, Charles Dickens. I'm so excited for midnight!
I think I'm all prepared: everything's tidy, I just have one or two things to buy from the shop, I've finished all the books I wanted to finish by today, and my blog's all set: I have my 2012 books page up - it looks so strange it its emptiness! I wonder how full it will be this time next year. I wonder how a lot of things will be this time next year.
I remember a poem I read in high school, it's a lot bleaker than I feel right now, I'm feeling very positive, but still it feels appropriate because it captures the mystery of the year ahead, even if the poet wasn't feeling as happy as I do, I still like to read it. It was written on the 31st December 1900, the eve of the 20th Century, and was penned by one of my favourites: Thomas Hardy.
The Darkling Thrush
|I leant upon a coppice gate|
|When Frost was spectre-gray,|
|And Winter’s dregs made desolate|
|The weakening eye of day.|
|The tangled bine-stems scored the sky|
|Like strings of broken lyres,|
|And all mankind that haunted nigh|
| Had sought their household fires. |
|The land’s sharp features seemed to be|
|The Century’s corpse outleant,|
|His crypt the cloudy canopy,|
|The wind his death-lament.|
|The ancient pulse of germ and birth|
|Was shrunken hard and dry,|
|And every spirit upon earth|
| Seemed fervourless as I. |
|At once a voice arose among|
|The bleak twigs overhead|
|In a full-hearted evensong|
|Of joy illimited ;|
|An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,|
|In blast-beruffled plume,|
|Had chosen thus to fling his soul|
| Upon the growing gloom. |
|So little cause for carolings|
|Of such ecstatic sound|
|Was written on terrestrial things|
|Afar or nigh around,|
|That I could think there trembled through|
|His happy good-night air|
|Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew|
|And I was unaware.|
So, here's to the mystery, and here's to hope, as well. It's a little scary, a new year, because one can't help but think what we'll be writing next year, so where we'll be sitting, what we'll be reflecting on in 365 days time. But I hope it's good, I mean to make it so very good. I will try every single day to make this a good year.
And I think it will start well: next year, in the next twelve hours, I'll return home with my Big C, have a good sleep, wake up, go for a walk and take a few pictures, see my mother, and then hopefully join in a little with Allie's Readathon, although I think my participation may be a little erratic. I don't have my usual readathon pile yet, but it will involve Ted Hughes, Tolstoy, Dickens, and Eliot for sure.
Until then, I hope everyone has a great night, and I'll catch you all tomorrow (though I may be on Twitter later, assuming Twitter can cope with the pressure!). Happy New Year! xoxo