When I last posted here on the blog back in February, the world was a very different place. COVID-19 appeared under various other names, and was only just being recognized as a possible global threat. Now, most of us are wearing masks, and haven’t been to a gathering of more than a few people in nearly six months. So many have died. So many have lost their jobs. Our children struggle to learn, and teachers to teach. So much more has happened, but you don’t need an update from me. If you’re anything at all like me, you have a love/hate relationship with the news: I can’t bear to look, but I cannot bear not to look.
As a writer, my day to day life isn’t actually all that different. I read. I tend the house and my family–including Scouty and Sylvie, our critters. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts. I cook. I talk to friends on the phone. I water the garden and pluck my sad, blighted tomatoes. I stitch my needlework projects too far into the night for my own good. I get up well after 9:00, at what many people would consider a decadent hour. I cook more. I read more. I go to the grocery store and sanitize the cart handle–or re-sanitize as the case may be. I write.
Though there hasn’t been nearly enough writing going on around here. I’m distracted by…news. Existential worry. Worries about the physically vulnerable people in my family. My weight. (Carbs quell the worries for those few seconds I can taste them. Repeat as necessary.) I have, for the most part, abandoned social media since late May. It was too stressful. Too distracting. Too painful. My heart was hurting all the time because of the pain we cause one another.
Do I sound depressed? If I do, I’d like to tell you that I’m not! A life of solitude can be a very good thing. In solitude, there is time to reflect, to breathe deeply. Reflection is just another word for thinking, yes?
It has felt good to think a lot. It has felt good not to be out shopping as a form of entertainment. It has felt very good to spend a lot of time with my guys, and some precious time with my grown up daughter, and even a few amazing days with my parents (whom I hadn’t seen since Christmas). In telling you this, I know I’m one of the lucky ones. Existential worry isn’t physical peril. It’s not starvation. It’s not joblessness. It’s not homelessness or illness. I feel lucky, and awfully grateful. Tomorrow I’m attending the funeral of a lovely man who died of non-COVID 19-related heart failure. Life is happening both inside and outside the 2020 bubbles we’ve created.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve been reading–novels, non-fiction, and audiobooks of both. Sometimes I get a little lazy about reading new fiction. Crime novels are my comfort reads, and there are so many that have already been published in the world, that I think I could never run out without reading books that are brand new. But there’s something about new writing that is so energizing–if I can get past the occasional jealousy factor. As in, “Damn, why didn’t I write that first?!” So I joined NetGalley, a service for publishers that puts free review copies of books into the hands of early readers and reviewers. I have several reads under my belt, but none of the books is yet published. I thought I’d share a few reviews here, since that’s what I’ve been doing. Look for one or two from me next Sunday, and I’ll see if I can keep it up. Maybe you’ll discover some books you never thought of trying before!
Be well, my dears. If you like, please share what you are up to in this strange new world.