Occasionally I like to torture myself and reread some of my old blog posts. Though my writing style today is hardly different, and certainly not any better, reading things I wrote in a different time somehow makes them seem so distant and separate from me. What I have learned from these addictively horrible delves into my past self is that my opening lines leave a lot to be desired. A perfect example of this can be seen in this very paragraph. I am a very “judge a book by its cover” sort of person, except that usually, I judge based on the first line or sentence. If therefore, I was an outsider reading my own blogs, I do not think I would make it beyond the opening lines. A worrying thought indeed.
Despite knowing that this is one of my numerous failings in my writing, I do not know how to fix it. I wish I could begin my blog posts with as much veracity and insightfulness as L. P. Hartley who so famously composed the opening line of ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there’. Or with as much interest and eccentricity as Dodie Smith whose opener is, rather charmingly: ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’. Often I do write in rather odd places, as Dodie Smith through the voice of Cassandra so eloquently points out ‘sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring’ but never as of yet, in the kitchen sink. Part of the issue, I suppose, with writing in very odd places is that as a society we are now limited by our technology. I could not, for example, write for more than a few hours in a particularly secluded place as my laptop would likely run out of battery. Nevertheless, in the future, I shall endeavour to write both more entertaining opening lines and to write in more unusual places in order to stimulate my mind and hopefully incite some sort of linguistic magic.
Though that rather lengthy opening tangent may suggest differently, this post is neither about my need to improve the style of my work, nor about my favourite authors and their many exaltations. This post is rather about my imminent return to St Petersburg. One of my friends is currently in the great city, and has been for about 2 weeks and has been sending me daily updates on the horrifying weather conditions that I have the pleasure of returning to in a few days. In spite of her best efforts, I still remain fairly positive to return. The weather is about 20 degrees colder than I would ideally like, but I will not let that dampen my excitement.
My upcoming trip to St Petersburg will last slightly longer than my last one, it will be six rather than three months. In order to ensure my own survival, I have put together a kit of sorts which includes about 300 Vitamin D tablets (the average amount of daylight in St Petersburg in January is between 6 and 7 hours) and about 700 tea bags. In all honesty, I am not sure if 700 is enough, luckily I have a godmother coming to visit me in April who may be instructed to bring more if needs be. Though the weather and daylight hours don’t hold much appeal, the thought of returning to St Petersburg does fill me with tenuous excitement. I have genuinely missed my walks to and from university, crossing the blisteringly cold Neva in the dark as the sun rises over the city is an incomparable experience. And wandering through the snow-drenched streets and over the now totally frozen canals affords a totally new perspective on the city I have come to know so well.
That is not to say that I have not enjoyed my time in England. Quite the contrary, it has been highly energizing filling my lungs with English country air. I have met my newest niece and swum off the less than warm English coast on more than one occasion. I have lain on the floor surrounded by and being attacked by my wonderful and fluffy dogs. I have visited friends at university and watched one of my favourite people release an EP with their band (its called Oxytocin and is by Horses on the Beach… it’s awesome). Being surrounded by people who speak English has also been absolutely wonderful and my brain has been incredibly well-rested, perhaps too well-rested which could prove problematic when I return to St Petersburg. I have truly felt the truth of the old adage of ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’, or in my case until you, yourself, are gone. Returning to the rolling hills and rather stunning coastlines of Dorset has been balm for the soul and has filled me contentment. That said, there is only so much you can do in a place where the only neighbours are the cows that literally lick the kitchen window. This Christmas break has indeed been restoring to everything except my purse, which has felt the blow of having four siblings, two of whom are married with children. But I do feel it is now time to return to the hum of the city and surround myself with sour cream, vodka and canals once more.