It’s May 31, the fifth Tuesday of the month, and the final opportunity for the Tuesday Club Bloggers to post on our first “theme” month ever! Curtis, Kate, Bev, Moira, JJ and various guest stars have explored the concept of vacations and transport all month, and I suppose I could have sought out one more example of a sleuth on a busman’s holiday or gathered examples of all mysteries set on a dirigible (wouldn’t that be a gas?) . . .
But, you see, I am a schoolteacher, and today also happens to be the official start of my eleven-week-long holiday from the halls of academe! Please don’t start throwing things – a break this long is not as easy to embrace as you might think! It requires careful planning, and I thought I would use this opportunity to set down my goals for the holiday so you can see how that might affect your experiences with this blog. Herewith, my twelve-step plan for delving into the sweet mysteries of my life.
- First, I must thank all my regular readers – both of you – for following along. I’ve been blathering on about matters literary and theatrical for eight months now, and I’m not embarrassed to admit how much I crave an audience. Each “like” and comment you bestow upon me is a balm to my soul. Occasionally, we’ve even started a conversation together, and since almost all my passions are quirky enough to make finding a real pal to talk things over with all but impossible, I truly enjoy your engagement in these topics. So my first goal is to keep that sense of gratitude going as I plunge forward toward my first year anniversary as a blogger!
- Learn to relax. I work very hard all year long, and truth to tell, some of this has to do with being a single dude who likes hanging out with people. I never considered myself a particularly solitary person, but the truth is that I spend a lot of summer time alone, and I would like to embrace that time and use it wisely, particularly in certain pursuits that require solitude. (see below) Regularly attend to my own wellness: spend more time in nature, walk more, breathe more, reflect more on my life and the many challenges I faced this year – fret less, philosophize more. Let boredom be a passage to enlightenment rather than a negative side effect of free time.
- Conversely, seek out friends for food and conversation . (Is there anything more fun than a mix of food and conversation?) Since some of the most brilliant discourse comes from the people I have met through this blog and the interests we share, I hope to talk more with these people on my own blog, on their blogs, and on the forums I have found online. If we can find a way to bring food into this situation, wow! How much more perfect would that be?
- Be an active Tuesday Night Blogger! It’s deliciously ironic that we are winding down our theme of vacation just as I start mine, and that our topic for June is classic mysteries involving all things academic! My favorite authors – Christie, Queen, Carr and Brand – didn’t plumb that theme, so I have to look further afield. So far, I have come up with enough for three posts: an examination of the films featuring that inimitable spinster and elementary schoolteacher, Miss Hildegarde Withers, my first taste of Josephine Tey, and my first revisit in thirty years of that wacky Oxford don, Gervase Fen!
- Take advantage of the extra free time to read more and blog about it. We all laugh about our TBR piles . . . and then someone’s review catches our eye or a small publisher releases the entire works of a previously unavailable author. (Are we excited about Henry Wade or what?) Many purchases have lain on my shelf for months, crying out, “Attention must be paid!” Among them:
- My first Kelley Roos,( The Frightened Stiff), my second Norman Berrow (Don’t Go Out After Dark), and my third Paul Halter (The Invisible Circle, almost finished), all recommended by my invisible pal JJ at The Invisible Event. I plan to discuss two Halters during JJ’s June 19 salute to that author who specializes in locked rooms and impossible crimes.
- My first Robin Forsythe (The Polo Ground Mystery) , my first St. John Sprigg (Death of an Airman) and my first British Library title, (Mystery in White), all encouraged by my cohort in crime (reading), Kate at CrossExamining Crime.
- Curtis Evans at The Passing Tramp has turned me on to so many great authors, including Harriet Rutland whom I loved (Bleeding Hooks, coming up), E.R. Punshon whom I liked (Four Strange Women and Suspects Nine need to be read), and I promised to give Annie Haynes another chance (The Crime at Tattenham Corner_) Plus, I’ve just ordered Curtis’ own book on Todd Downing, so I really should finish Vultures in the Sky!
- For sure gotta read me some Helen McCloy, who I’m mad for. (Cue for Murder and Two-Thirds of a Ghost are on the queue.)
- Henry Wade’s about to be released. Don’t think I’m staying out of that
- Plus, as we speak, the newly translated shin honkaku, The Moai Island Puzzle is winging its way to my door, and there’s Curtain Up, about Christie’s life in the theatreA Banquet of Consequences, the latest Elizabeth George doorstop, Kate Atkinson’s time bending classic Life After Life that has festered in my Kindle for two years now, my first Elizabeth Daly novel, plus sundry thises and thats which keep popping up on fellow bloggers’ lists and reading challenges (June is 1929 month at Rich’s XXX, and I got nuthin’!)
- Use this time to pursue a long-standing ambition to write my own mystery fiction. I’ve been hanging on to this one idea for a year now that I want to try putting to computer screen and find out once and for all if I actually do have the self-discipline to carve out at least one book. Plus, I need to know if I have what it takes to find that balance I seek between plot and character?
- Sweat enough to lose ten pounds. Don’t sweat it so badly if I don’t.
(My “before” pic – hope to get in better shape!)
- Blog about my trip to New York City (coming up July 12 – 22.) The focus there will be on theatre, and I promise to write my thoughts about: The Crucible, The Humans, The Color Purple, the concert by Jeanine Tesori, Sutton Foster, and Jonathan Groff at the Roundabout, Hamilton, On Your Feet, Shuffle Along, and Waitress. I think there’s at least one more in there, but I forget! I also want to check out the used bookstores in the city in order to feed the addiction. (See #6 above.)
- On August 4, I’m giving in to my diva magnet and expending beaucoup bucks to see Barbra Streisand in concert. (I’m also getting my teeth cleaned that morning, but I will only blog about the concert.) A mere nine rows will stand between me and Her Highness, and if she chooses to sing “The Way We Were” to me alone, and if she invites me backstage for a glass tea, and if she decides we’re soul mates, I promise you will all vicariously share the thrill with me.
- Do something political! We have to work to make sure our international friends never have to deal with Donald Trump, that he remain an insignificant blip on the historical timeline. Folks, this dude is terrifying!
- Show understanding and forgiveness to myself if I don’t quite meet all these goals! Celebrate the ones I do meet. Then make a list for the fall!
- Summer’s lease hath all too short a date. Make sure I do something special each day, even if it’s to sit down at a café, pick up my grande no foam soy latte, take a sip and savor it with a sigh. Life is short. Life is good. Enjoy!