Whatever Works

People employ various means of dealing with sadness, depression, despair, and grief.  Some people shop.  Others drink — I don’t mean water.  Still others use drugs to dampen their feelings, or chocolate, or cappuccino.

Me?  I read.

I’m struggling to see the sunny side of life these days.  Oh, not my blessings — those I feel keenly.  But I strain to detect any silver lining to a massive cloud hanging over me.  Last Sunday, I realized that I had scrolled through Facebook for two hours straight and couldn’t remember a single status of any of my family or friends.  My eyes did not see; my mind did not absorb; my heart did not react. I just scrolled.

I logged into Kindle Unlimited, and flipped through the Recommended for You section.  Be still my pulse!  A Michael Z. Lewin series of which I had never heard!  Eight volumes!  Albert Samson, private eye!

I finished number eight a half an hour ago. Yes, that’s how I know that I’ve been seriously blue this week. I read all eight in four days.  I carried my tablet every where.  Between — or instead of —  job-hunting, manuscript-editing, community-garden-planning, grocery-shopping, and laundry-washing, I followed the adventures of Albert Samson from crime scene to conclusion.

I have to hoist myself by the straps of my Dansko Vegans.  Trust me:  reading helps.  When I get to the end of  a series which I’ve devoured in a string of gloomy days, I find myself able to see that a light beckons me from the end of whatever dark tunnel I face.    It’s almost as good as expensive candy but not fattening and my skin stays clear.

I still don’t have a job, but at least I don’t have a hangover.  That’s something.  I could be using a lot more dangerous and destructive distractions than passably good detective fiction.  That ought to count for something, right?  Whatever works — so long as it’s no more self-defeating than reading instead of writing.  Tomorrow’s another day.  And I did get a load of laundry done this morning.  I’m giving myself partial credit for that.

It’s the eleventh day of the fifty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.



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