At the moment, it's raining. It does this a lot in Scotland. This is late autumn if I'm being optimistic but probably fairer to say winter now. With a week of rain and gales stripping the trees much barer of their leaves, it's starting to look like winter again. It's been such a great year that people are already starting to look forward to 2022.
My oil painting energy diminished somewhat over summer, although I did a few and then some larger paintings. Having seen a bad trough of motivation hit a couple of months ago, I managed to pull things together a bit and complete a picture I'm very happy with. I'm about to finish another. It feels like a bit of a slog just now; it's not only writers that get a block. They come and go though, like the gales.
One thing I have discovered this year is that I can easily listen to a podcast whilst painting and not be distracted. I've a lot of podcasts downloaded from the BBC (mostly), including plays, dramas and book readings. These are things I've grabbed over the years but put aside for a "rainy day". Luckily, there have been quite a few rainy days this year.
Some of the things I've listened to include :
- MR James stories, some read by Michael Hordern. I love these classic ghost stories.
- William Gibson's Neuromancer and Burning Chrome. BBC dramatisations, done well.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. A BBC dramatisation of the book. I read it years ago but it was half forgotten. Quality.
- Robert Louis Stevenson's The Bottle Imp - a short story dramatised.
- Whisky Galore - BBC dramatisation
- Darkness at Noon - BBC dramatisation of Arthur Koestler's novel about Stalin's Soviet Union
- BBC dramatisation of Dracula in two parts
- Arthur C Clarke's Rendevous with Rama
- I, Claudius - Graves dramatised over six parts.
- Understand - Ted Chiang's short story dramatised. The author of "Arrival", a favourite story of mine.
- The State of the Art - Iain M Banks short story dramatised.
- A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr. A dramatisation by NPR in 15 parts. Great cast, beautifully produced radio. A book I really liked.
There have been others and all have been good: this is what the BBC does so well. Luckily there is a large back catalogue because these are hard times for media producers.
As well as Eliot's Silas Marner and Middlemarch, I still have War and Peace to listen to and that's a great reason to start planning a big painting!