Winter Is Coming

Hello all,

There is steam rising from my cup of coffee as I sit in my living room and write this post, which can only be the first sign that the weather here in the UK is turning and that winter is on its way. In fact, I’ve got the heater on for the first time since last winter. It’s madness. What does concern me, though, are two things. Firstly, I’ve got a bit of a sniffle going on, which hopefully won’t turn into anything bigger, and two, seasonal affective disorder. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the condition; as winter comes my productivity drops and I can’t find the motivation to do things. Being cold is not fun.

Oddly, the thing that I don’t like about the winter, apart from the cold, is that it ruins the night. I like the night. I like sitting up in the dark and looking at the stars. As Galileo put it: “I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” My sleep pattern (if such a thing exists for me) is geared towards time sat up in the night and that’s when I do a lot of writing. However, winter ruins the night, since it gets dark about 4pm and that lasts until around 7-8am the next day. That’s all evening and most of the morning. The dark, sacred night that Louis Armstrong sang about is ruined by the encroaching darkness on the rest of the day. I dislike this intensely.

Also, it’s cold. Okay, I live in the UK, so it’s not altogether that cold. By comparison with, say, Canada, Alaska, the Arctic Circle, Antartica, Russia and the inside of my freezer the weather here doesn’t go all that cold. It also doesn’t go that hot in the summer, but that’s a story for another time. However, though it isn’t that cold, it’s cold for me, because that’s the temperature range I’m used to experiencing, so those from colder climes than mine just imagine the worst cold I’m describing as my winter to be the worst cold you experience in your winter and we can reacha universality of sentiment. Unless you like cold, in which case I wash my hands of the entire affair. Cold is bad. I don’t like being cold. Cold gets into your bones and you can’t get rid off it, as opposed to warmth where you can retreat indoors to the shade, stick on the fan, take off some clothes and let your thermoregulatory system do the work, with cold you can’t. You can stick on a heater or radiator, sure, and you can put on more layers, but after a while you begin to resemble the Michelin man and you can’t reach the keyboard. Similarly, heaters and radiators are alright, but I’ve never known one that heats an entire room evenly. Plus, I find it harder to warm up than cool down anyway, and in the winter months I move about a lot less because of the SAD so I can’t warm up so easily.

So, what has this got to do with anything? That’s the question I’m sure you’re asking and I can’t blame you at all. Well, if SAD takes hold and I lose the will to do anything then I won’t be writing, and that will make me worse. So, if I disappear off the face of the earth, send me a blanket and a flask of coffee and I’ll be right as rain in no time. I’ll mention you in my acknowledgements. In the meantime, does anyone else suffer from SAD and, as writers and people, how do you cope with it? How do you keep the Secret Fire burning so that you can write when you can’t even get out of bed?

Cheers,
Nick

Comments
2 Responses to “Winter Is Coming”
  1. I also wrote about winter today… Cold is bad. Dark is also bad.
    http://cardinalguzman.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/winter-orchids/

    • Nick says:

      Great post, Cardinal Guzman! I know exactly how you feel about wanting to see life’s manager! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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