November, for me, is a month that always feels a bit unnecessary. December should just be the length of two months, so no one can complain on social media about it being ‘too early’ for Christmas related paraphernalia. Warm weather feels like a distant memory; I’m not really sure how we’ve already had two months back at university, but the stacks of assignments and lengthy to-do lists suggest that the academic year is well underway. This time of year for me always feels like my life is like a slightly bad art-house film, where the protagonist is completely tragic. I’ve tried, and partly failed, to try new things in September – but that desire to attempt anything else has definitely subsided until the new year comes around. As an example, attempting to join Surf and thinking I’d be able to swim after not being in a swimming pool since Year 6. Obviously that didn’t go so well at the swim test when I panicked, drowned, and ran away to wander the unknown streets of Bristol in the dark in a complete daze smelling like chlorine. Eventually I opened up Google Maps, made my way to a kebab shop near my house, bought myself well deserved cheesy chips, and got someone to stay up ’til 1am watching viral video compilations on YouTube with me.
Autumn is lovely, the air feels fresh and the leaves being brown is great and all – but in some ways the month feels full of melancholia. We’ve had to start waking up before sunrise to get to lectures in time, turn the heating on to avoid hypothermia, and ‘sweater weather’ is slowly becoming ten-layers-under-a-coat weather. Despite the despondency this season to some extent encourages, it’s not all terrible – the people in our lives are what can make this time of year enchanting and peaceful, instead of altogether gloomy.
This month’s theme is: ‘People’. Cellar Door has been quite seasonal and specific with our themes so far, so this might feel vague. By ‘People’, we mean the people in our everyday lives that make our experiences a little richer. Whilst the combination of the cold and a few ominous deadlines may persuade us to isolate ourselves and spend weekends under a duvet feeling a bit dire – friends, family, a significant other, the people who drag us out of the library or bed and save us from spending all our evenings drinking copious cups of tea and watching rubbish television. Most of my best nights and favourite memories are because of the people I’m around, rather than the events that occurred. Other people are where we get our inspiration, our motivation from. They influence our ideas and opinions about the world, and a lot of the time save us from complete apathy; they are the cause for almost everything we feel.
The theme is always open to interpret as you find appropriate. Use it as a prompt, but not a strict directive. We accept all kinds of submissions: short pieces of prose, poetry, photography, think-pieces, articles – just send us an email at email@example.com.
Aneeqa Munir, Editor
Image: Dead Poets Society (1989)