summoning bad winter


From below shot of a stage with four performers, one featured on a curved, jutted out portion for the platform; the room is dark but the stage is illuminated in bright neon blue light and 3 of the background performers have their fists raised.

This was supposed to be a post about Bad Winter, a most wonderful time of the year, but I got waylaid. First, the weather withheld its end of the bargain, maintaining a balmy 30s and 40s as we crossed into the new year, making it difficult to sink into the feeling. It didn’t help that I avoided as best I could the usual December hysteria, opting for a few measured doses of holiday cheer and pouring into bed (still finely drunk) within an hour of the newly born 2023; no regrets there, but no high to come down from either. And then I violated key tenets of Bad Winter—shadows and relative solitude—by weekending away from it just as the weather began to chill in earnest, sunning (among other indulgences) in a warmer climate down South.

So here I am attempting to reactivate the Bad, which is actually good, and if there’s a need to know what I mean, get thee to Katie McDonough’s christening of the name in Jezebel from 2019 and Jo Livingstone’s rebuttal published days later on the same site. The rebuttal is where the good comes in:

Consider winter differently. If the holidays are an annual event designed to glue the shredded remnants of the American nuclear family together through sheer force of convention, then of course you have to be bribed to participate in them. But after the holidays? Then, you can be alone.

During so-called “bad winter” you can spend as much time in total solitude as you like, and it is still the “correct” behavior for the season. What this means in practice is that the months of January through March are the only time of year you can be both misanthropic and live free from guilt. With the year’s greatest obligations to others behind you, the cold indoor months are a time to separate from society, to turn inwards, and to act selfishly.

…In solitude art is made, books are read, books are written, knitting is knit.

Livingstone, “Bad Winter is Good”

Here, here.

reading: will save books ‘til the month ends; in the meantime,

teaching: Greg Tate, “Cult-Nats Meet Freaky-Deke” (1986); Hortense Spillers, “‘All the Things You Could Be by Now, If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother’: Psychoanalysis and Race” (1996)

watching: creed; charlie’s angels (2000); the last of us s1e2-ish; top chef s15e1-3

moving: been nearly a week since I hit pavement, just saved by a pious saturday morning workout along to lagoon (brag!); lot of spinning… or, who am I impressing, logging sessions on the peloton, which for some reason never feels like real fitness no matter how hard I’m working or how many call outs I’m missing (not for lack of trying). So, hoping to get back outside soon.