It’s me, Suchandrika Chakrabarti!
We did it. We got to the end of the hell felt-like-a-decade year 2020. Welcome to the last Friday before Christmas, a day that certainly marks me getting much less online for the next two weeks. For you too, I hope!
(In Regent’s Park, at one of my favourite vantage points to stop and take a photo)
It’s been a year of some good things for me personally, but this isn’t going to be a newsletter version of twitter-threading my achievements - not because I don’t like reading those, I do, so please keep writing them! It’s a nice way to discover interesting work - but because that’s not really where my mind goes when I think of 2020.
When I look back over my year, I think of walking. The subject line to today’s newsletter is a little spin on a sentence from the first chapter of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. In the book, the unnamed narrator is dreaming of a possible future, but I think this version of her words can apply to our shared past.
In no other year have I taken so many walks, mostly solitary, through London’s parks and empty streets, with a podcast or audiobook for company. In the spring and summer, it was lovely to see the blossom fall from the trees, and to catch the first pink-streaked signs of sunset on the horizon.
I’ve even dragged myself out walking during some of these incredibly short, grey days we’re in right now, when it feels like the sun’s forgotten about us, and rain hangs menacingly above our heads and finding the will to wear clothes and shoes and a coat and to leave the house is an achievement.
Every single time, I have returned home feeling better, wishing I could’ve spent longer out, grateful for the warm welcome of the flat. Thank everything for the freedom to walk through London in a pandemic. Oh, and to take pictures for the ‘gram. The pure endorphin of each like and comment hit a little differently this year.
Not sure how I would’ve managed 2020 without any of that. Looking forward to the 2020 pix becoming just some old photographs…
I love Mad Men in a stupid, grandiose way, in a way that’s about history and the moon landing and the feelings you only have driving at night and wishing I could have known my parents before I was born and wanting to be good enough at something that it punishes everyone who has ever hurt me.
Here are five of my favourite personal essays that I managed to slip in to the masterclass this week, along with three of my own that we looked at:
Apparently I’ll be be getting back on stage soon…
Thank you so much for reading! Merry Christmas and a happy new year in 2021!!
If you enjoy my work & fancy buying me a virtual coffee, I’d be delighted (and will hopefully experience a virtual caffeine rush):