On one of our two-mile “keep from going crazy” jaunts, I remarked to Arnold, “We have never walked down this streets before.” Also, we’d never driven down them. And they’re all within a few blocks of the junior high our sons attended. And they’re all beautiful. Also they have cool signs.
So house arrest has proved reasonably pleasant. We take long walks and photos of beautiful flowers and little green men. We cook A LOT. I actually make a menu for the week because running by the store to get a missing ingredient ain’t happening in this house. We read a lot. However, I don’t write a lot. It’s so much easier to be productive when you only have a little time. So here’s the sort of thing I’ve been producing.
You can’t control the Pandemic, the economy, the state of the world in general. So stop agonizing over it. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m talking about preserving your health, mentally and physically.
Focus on what you can accomplish (any or all of the list below)
1. Clean your house.
2. Cook a real meal
3. Read a book
4. learn a song or listen to a new one
5. Take a walk if you’re able to do so safely
You get the idea.
And do something for others.
1. Call, email, or mail a card to someone you know who might be lonely
2. Donate a few dollars to a local food bank
3. Order food or goods from a local merchant and forget about Amazon. They don’t need your business.
4. Post something funny or beautiful on your social media accounts.
These are just a few of the hundreds of ways you can empower yourself and do good for yourself and others.
Our sons have put us on house arrest because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Technically, it’s of the honor system variety, but they do text, call, FaceTime, etc. at least once a day. If they catch me at my favorite coffee/writing spot, there will be hell (or at least, heck) to pay. So I’ve made a list of the several positives.
- I’m blogging for the first time in weeks.*
- I’m writing more.
- I can watch every single season of Project Runway All Stars without feeling guilty about it.
- I have the time to take two long walks a day.
- I can order groceries online, which is way more fun than I thought it would be.
- Also, I can contemplate the very nice view outside out breakfast room window
*If you don’t see that as a positive, pretend you do.
The very lovely and clearly bright young woman behind me at my coffee/writing spot is doing a job interview. She’s used the word “like” twelve times in two sentences.* Although she’s also using words like “protocol” and “robotics,” she’s coming off like a refugee from Encino. I am sad.
*Yes, I counted.
I don’t read. I devour. Unless I don’t like the first 15 pages. Then I shelve the book in my “TBR”* collection.
In the last two weeks I’ve inhaled the first two books in Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow series. I hope she takes time writing the third, because I seriously have to read something else occasionally.
Now I’m half-way through a memoire, which is odd since I hate them unless they’re hilarious, and I like plot, (lots of plot) and believe there should be a legal limit on the number of adjectives you can use per page. **
So when I tell you to read Four Seasons in Rome, by Anthony Doerr, you know how fabulous it must be. It has only a sliver of plot and it’s definitely over the legal limit for adjectives.
*This is a euphemism for “I’m never, ever going to open this book again, but it has a nice cover,
**I also love run-on sentences. This isn’t going to be one.
I will have to write a novel set in Madrid, so next time I go there, I can claim it as a tax deduction.
Queen Carol and King Arnold incognito at the Puerta del Sol
I’ve also heard people make this idiotic claim (writers shouldn’t read). For me, one of the perks of becoming a writer, was an excuse to spend countless hours reading. Research! So what if I’m sitting on a plane, reading a middle grade novel? Research! A Victorian romance? Research! Do I need to clean the house? So sorry. Too busy doing research!
So one of my two partners in my last critique group (which I loved) had the nerve to have a baby. So much for that group, which especially distressed me because a group (which I also loved) from a couple of years prior fell apart because both my partners had the nerve to prioritize their families and work over our meetings. I was bereft.**
Low and behold, a partner in one group suggested exchanging pages and a partner from the older group said “Hey kids. Let’s put on a show!” Or as we writers say it, “Put together a new critique group.” And everyone’s great and they better not have the nerve to find something more essential they have to do.***
*So are cute little puppies, kittens, and adorable granddaughters but they’re not a whole lot of help revising a novel.
**That may be a slight overstatement. I just like the word.
***Just kidding, but you knew that.
The new name will be “No Writing or Querying Day.” To make sure I don’t succumb to temptation, we’re going to drive to Frederick, walk through the amazing Carroll Creek Park, and have tea* and a bran muffins.
*When I have tea instead of a latté, you know I’m serious about taking a writing break.