Stephanie Burgis
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It’s hard to know what to write about right now.

I was just a wreck for the first several days after Nika’s death. Then I went back to work and managed to surround myself with a comforting fog for a while, where I could force myself to just think about other things all the time, but every so often the piercing realization would break through the fog - she’s gone - and I would break down again, because the pain and despair were just too much to bear.

Just this past weekend, I’ve started to feel a bit more...well, “normal” isn’t the right word. More human, maybe.

I started a new short story during our weekend in Bristol, but abandoned it in the week that followed. I didn’t feel like writing at all in the first week or so afterwards. Now I finally do, but I’m not sure what I want to write, exactly. I’ll figure it out eventually. In the meantime, I’m reading and reading and reading, sucking down books like medicine - but only specific types of books. Nothing angsty, nothing dark, nothing, God, nothing about death or abuse or anything else that’s depressing. I just can’t cope right now. So I’ve been reading lots of light, fun romances (I can’t even count how many Jayne Ann Krentz novels I’ve read in the last week) and some light, fun chick-lit fantasy novels, and I made one really fabulous find:

I loved, loved, loved Nick Hornby’s The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, a collection of his book columns. Heck, I even enjoyed Nick Hornby writing about soccer in Fever Pitch, and I couldn’t care less about it as a sport. Reading Hornby on books - the books he loved or liked; the hilarious tables at the beginning of each column that tote up the books he bought (often a dozen or more serious, impressive Works of Literature) versus the books he actually got around to reading every month; his literate, funny rants on the need for actual Plot as well as language in literature - is just sheer pleasure. It’s like sharing a conversation with a smart, fun friend who shares all of your weird obsessions. What’s not to love?

In the evenings, we’ve been watching lots and lots of Jeeves and Wooster, which is just the right level for me right now. Oh, and Season Two of the new Doctor Who series (David Tennant as Doctor Who), which is just enormously fun. If you’re on NetFlix and need convincing, start with Disc 2 of Season Two - just so much fun. (I haven’t seen Season 1 with Christopher Eccleston, and Disc 1 of Season 2 was fun but not totally persuasive--but Disc 2 absolutely blew me away with its sheer exuberancy. We’re now planning to buy the full season boxset.) Disc 2 has Queen Victoria & werewolves, Anthony Stewart Head as an evil alien headmaster, and what turned out to be my favorite Doctor Who episode ever: “The Girl in the Fireplace” - Doctor Who meets Madame de Pompadour in 18th-century Versailles. Man, that episode could have been written just for me. I lapped it up like ice cream.

Things still hurt an awful lot. But good books and movies can act like medicine, sometimes, or at least like band-aides - they might not heal the wound, but they can protect it from getting any worse.

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