Five Things to Laugh or Sing About

There are so many things in my life right now just waiting to be complained about, that I decided to thwart them all and take a page out of Meggy’s blog. For those of you who don’t know @choconwaffles blog, she has a Friday positivity wave post, in which she lists all the good things going on in her life, big or small. I can’t promise this will become a regular weekly feature, but it can’t hurt to remind myself of fun things from time to time.

  • After two weekends away, Zoe is incredibly grateful to have me back. Reading with her purring on me is the cosiest feeling ever!
  • After a gap of years, if not a decade, I finally went to see a live opera again. The Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Opera House. The prices are prohibitive for what was a vertigo-inducing and not at all comfortable seat. The production itself was a little frantic and over-acted at times (with the large cast of servants etc.), the orchestra’s horns seemed to have a dissonant mind of their own at times. But Joelle Harvey as Susanna was magnetic, especially in her duet with Julia Kleiter as the Countess, and her almost heartbreakingly wistful ‘Deh vieni, non tardar’ aria in the fourth act. All eyes were on the countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim as Cherubino – the traditional casting being a woman – but, I’ll be honest, I didn’t realise it was a man until afterwards.
View from my seat.
  • Mozart is good for the soul and quite possibly a rejuvenator. I was exhausted that evening, as the work week had been horrendous and I’d not been feeling well for several days. On my way back to the train station from Covent Garden, I had an unexpected experience – well, unexpected in this day and age, as it hasn’t happened to me for a good few years now. A man ran after me and tried the pathetic chat-up line: ‘You’ve got such a tremendous aura. You don’t seem to be walking, you are floating.’ Clearly, Mozart gives you wings!
  • My local friends and fellow mothers, who have been with me through thick and thin, banded together to get me a voucher to buy books at The Second Shelf for my birthday. It’s the first time anyone has ever given me a bookish gift voucher, so I was very touched and pleased! I finally got to visit The Second Shelf this week and came away with lesser-known works by two authors who meant the world to me when I was growing up.
  • Thank you to Eric (aka Lonesome Reader), who mentions in his latest Booktube an event at LRB bookshop in late August: Ali Smith and Nicola Barker in conversation about writing. I booked my ticket rightaway! In fact, this week I’ve started to commit to my writing again: attended a Write together/Feedback session with my local writing group after a long gap, received detailed notes on my poems from my mentor Rebecca Goss and arranged to attend a writing retreat in 2020 with the writing friends who inspired and supported me so much in the summer of 2016.

24 thoughts on “Five Things to Laugh or Sing About”

  1. Perhaps I should try it if only in my head. My personal life is fine but the state of our country has dismayed me for years now and seems about to get worse. Good luck with the writing!

    1. It really is a great way to escape that feeling of doom and gloom. When I returned to the UK in summer 2016 I started writing anything good that happened to me on a piece of paper and putting it in an empty biscuit tin. Then, when I got depressed, I would open the tin!

    1. Yes, I’ve stopped watching the news, as I just ended up shouting and cranky. Of course, it still seeps through our consciousness, doesn’t it…

  2. What a great idea. Doing this kind of reframing is apparently a technique used a lot in mindfulness and nuero linguistic programming. It helps avoid a spiral of negative thought.

    1. Absolutely, I’ve been using versions of it for a few years now, and I nearly always end up with far more things I could be writing about…

  3. I’ve heard that production of Figaro has really strong female singers, so I’m pleased to hear you enjoyed Susanna’s and the Countess’s performances! The little listings of nice things is something I was using a lot in the spring, when I was having a rough time, and guess what – it helped! Hurrah.

    1. Hope things are going better for you now, Elle. I’ve heard a lot of people finding this helpful. I do tend to be more of a ‘noir’ than a happy person, so this can only help.

  4. I’m glad you’ve some good things happening, Marina Sofia. There is nothing like the way your pet greets you when you come home, is there? And as far as Mozart goes, his music really is good for the soul. And the mind. And the heart. And so are books, and you got them, too. And friends. Yes, those are definitely things to be grateful for.

  5. Zoe looks so gorgeous, she must be a great source of comfort in such turbulent times. This way of thinking is maybe what we all need to do at the moment.

    1. I heard my GP saying that a lot more people are coming in with anxiety and panic attacks and depression – whether they are more willing to talk about them now, or whether the state of the world is pushing us that way is open for debate. And yes, coincidentally Zoe joined our household just before the marriage broke down, perfect timing, she has been a fantastic support throughout.

  6. What a lovely post, it is nice to focus on the positives where we can. I love reading Meggy’s Positivity Wave posts each week, and even though I never manage to join in they always make me reflect on the good things from my own week. Your post has done similar today, so thank you. 🙂

    1. Thank you, so glad it made you feel good. And you should absolutely do it for yourself – even if not in a blog, but just a little reminder. I tend to be quite happy most of the time, but at the end of the week I seem to only remember the things that went wrong, the criticisms I received, the things that made me unhappy. Silly old brain, have to trick it!

  7. It is a great idea, I enjoy reading Meggy’s posts as well. I saw Figaro’s Wedding a couple of years ago at the Royal Opera (same production as you saw, but different cast), I think it is a great opera to cheer you up.

  8. Yay for Mozart! I agree, Mozart’s operas feed the soul. I am fortunate to have a subscription to the opera in Melbourne and subscribe because tickets to single operas are outrageously expensive.

  9. Zoe is a great cat. It is so nice to come home to a pet like her. And she’s a purrfect reading partner. Glad you did other fun things and also that you could buy those books. Oh, what ruin a week. It’s so important to have things that counter the bad things. For me, it’s good mysteries and chocolate frozen yogurt — and sometimes a good talk with a friend. Food is definitely an essential.

  10. Great post and a good idea to focus on the positive, even if it doesn’t make the rest go away. At least it makes it lighter.

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