When this is all over…
I hear that phrase often these days as everyone, me included, wants life in 2020 to go back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible, whatever that ‘new normal’ will be.
For the moment, though, life (and for me, writing), have to go on in lockdown.
As such, I’m finding new ways to adapt and cope and be grateful for what I have instead of lamenting what I don’t.
Family life with Tech Guy
As many of you know, Tech Guy usually works five hours away from home from Monday to Thursday. As such, our family life is typically squeezed into Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning before he has to leave again on Sunday afternoon.
For us, the silver lining in the dark Covid-19 pandemic cloud is not only that Tech Guy still has a job (and I give thanks for that on a daily basis), but he’s also working from home for the foreseeable future.
Both as a family and couple, we have more time together than we’ve had in years and from walks with Floppy Ears to movie nights, cleaning up the kitchen together and more, life is settling into a new and, in some ways, better rhythm.
Now more than ever, I’m finding happiness in little things like sunshine and blue skies on an early spring day.
I’m also relishing opportunities to try new things.
While online yoga isn’t for me (not least because Floppy Ears is keen to adopt the ‘downward dog’ pose too), thanks to live streaming by galleries and zoos, I’m learning more about art and animal care.
And a few weeks ago, I’d never have guessed I’d be enjoying some of the best in British theatre and dance from my sofa in small-town Canada.
Much like my grandparents who lived through the Second World War, I’m also learning to ‘make do and mend.’
This week, I pulled out my dusty sewing box and, with help from Google, successfully mended a torn comforter, all the while hearing the echo of my late mom’s voice telling me that one day I’d regret not learning the finer points of darning.
Writing the words
Since writing is my job, I have to make space and time to write the words too, despite and for almost the first time in my writing life, finding it difficult to concentrate on my fictional world.
Apart from the constant news cycle, I’m dealing with almost constant familial interruptions, as well as the worry of what writing and publishing will look like in the future.
Also, and as someone who writes primarily contemporary fiction, I’m grappling with questions about how or if to incorporate current events into new stories I tell.
In this difficult time for everyone, self-employed creatives have particular challenges but for me, going back to basics, and where I started from as a writer is helping more than anything.
Currently, I’m writing in short bursts of 250 to 500 words and aiming to write 1,000 words a day amidst and around other things.
As in many parts of my life, I can’t change my current writing reality so I’m adapting to it as best I can.
And for the writers who read my blog, I’m using novelist Julie Cohen’s ‘work hat’ (mentioned in this excellent ‘lockdown survival guide’) to ‘train’ my family that even though it might not look like it, I am actually working and should only be interrupted for blood, broken bones, flood, fire or some comparable emergency.
And when this is all over?
I’ll never again taken for granted…
A hug from a friend and chatting with a neighbour.
Going to a café to linger over tea and cake and choosing items from a well-stocked grocery shelf.
Being able to travel in real life instead of via a screen.
Visiting the library to borrow physical books and access inter-library loan.
Not having to sterilize everything that comes into my house because of fear of infecting my chronically ill daughter.
The work that teachers, doctors, nurses, grocery store staff, delivery drivers and others do to sustain our communities, countries and so many aspects of our lives.
And not least, my home and family and how blessed I am that both are a sanctuary when I need them.
Take good care of yourselves, friends, and at a time when for many of us, reading has never been more important, I hope you’re finding stories that comfort, inspire and give you hope.
In a small way, that’s the kind of stories I write and, at times of doubt, it’s for readers like you that I do what I do—and build books in those 250 word increments.
A note about The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls
If you’ve been waiting for the paperback edition of The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls, it’s out on April 12, 2020.
Given the global health crisis and related (rightly so) prioritization of shipping essential items, paperback deliveries may be delayed. However, if you’d like a paperback, I hope you’ll still order one and understand why it may take longer to arrive.
The e-book is available, though (and FREE in Kindle Unlimited), so if you haven’t read it and would like a cozy, comforting and romantic read, I hope you’ll give The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls a try.
Both the paperback and Kindle editions are available on all Amazon platforms including:
The paperback of The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls is also available at: