as in reading when you're sick. What do you read when you're sick? I've just spent two weeks (TWO WEEKS!) with 'flu/cold/whatever. In between snuffling, feeling sorry for myself and mooching through knitting patterns, I've wanted to read. But I only want to read certain kinds of books. Nothing too heavy, too worthy or too much work. I've tackled some light mysteries - you know the sort where the actual mystery takes a backseat to the portrait of a small town, or the dog show fraternity or even recipes.
I craved Kerry Greenwood's Phyrne Fisher or a new mystery from her Corinna Chapman series. But alas, there aren't new ones out. I've made do with some a dog show mystery writer - who knew? I did miss having the familiar landscape of Melbourne, however - though I feel I learnt a little more about dog shows.
What do you like reading when you're sick? What do you like reading when you're convalescing?
Can you write when you're sick? I don't tend to - I think about projects, however, and make decisions about what I'll be writing when I feel better.
Here's a writing exercise to do with memory. What are your memories of childhood illnesses? Who looked after you? What did you do when you were a sick child? Were you sick often? What kind of food were you given?
When I was young and sick my mother would come home with books for me. Sometimes these were new ones she bought, sometimes they were from the secondhand bookshop we owned. She used to make me inhale with a towel over a steaming jug or bowl of water.
'Sniff up! Sniff!' she'd order. My mother's response to illness was aggressive. Hot lemon and honey drinks, inhalations every hour and if I got that tickly cough that goes on and on, she brought in the big guns - anything to stop it. I'd gargle, between coughs. I'd swig Squill (I'm sure that's what it was called, though it seems unlikely). There'd be more lemon and honey drinks - with a squished up aspro in the days before soluble aspros came on the scene. On one memorable occasion when I was a teenager she gave me a sedative. That worked! I slept for about twelve hours.
She'd make me special invalid food - chicken with apricot sauce - and buy bunches of green grapes.
If I'd had gastro, the first solid food was always grated apple sprinkled with brown sugar. I still eat that - as do my children - as comfort food.
I liked being sick as a child. I loved the idea of my bed being my small kingdom, the books mounting up beside it, the smoothed down blankets and the glass of juice or water on my bedside table. I looked forward to my mother coming home and fussing over me. I liked having dinner on a tray in bed, hearing the talk from the other rooms faintly as I ate invalid food and read my new books.
Even now, if I've got a bad cold or 'flu while I get impatient with what it prevents me doing, there's still this secret pleasure in tucking up in bed for most of the day, tissues in reach, herbal tea steaming in a cup, idle with permission. I become ten again, waiting for people to come home with news from the outside world but content for most of the day to dream, read and plan what I'll do when I'm all better.