I’ve written earlier how Covid-19 has helped me establish some better writing habits, and it has. Yet the last two weeks provided some interesting self-learning opportunities for me. We traveled to California (via car), to spend time with family. This hasn’t been a trip for sight-seeing, but has allowed us to connect with some family members while staying in one location. A location different from our house. Everyone here has their normal activities, as do we.
Yet the environment differs vastly from home. The sights, the temperatures, the plants—I’ve found all these differences sparked additional creativity for me.
In the past, I’ve found traveling ignites creativity, or time appreciating natural beauty, or enjoying another’s art creations. Just spending quiet, uninterrupted time in a different environment from home provided an unexpected burst.
This gift of creative energy was a surprise, a very pleasant surprise.
A daughter commented that she’s heard other writers say that’s the reason they enjoy going to a retreat. I’d always thought one went on a writing retreat to remove one’s self from their routine and have more time. So like me to consider “time” as the limiting commodity. …and so, incorrect! I’ve enjoyed this “writing retreat” to work on multiple projects.
Reflecting on the first half of 2020 brings many thoughts to mind. It’s a year that has affected everyone.
Civilizations around the world all touched by Covid-19 have dealt differently with it, each in their own way. Even in other cultures, individuals have responded diversely to the impact. Recognize that I will only address the affects to me, and in no way mean that to minimize or marginalize anyone else’s experience. Personally, Covid-19 allowed me to slow down; no really, forced me to slow down. I considered myself to be a grateful person, yet this slower pace allowed me to recognize even more things to be grateful for. Regular Zoom meetings allowed me to stay connected with writing friends from Ireland, and the local writing group, now on-line connects more frequently. I’ve been able to establish some new patterns or routines in my life, resulting in more consistency in writing. A new children’s story awaits art work; a compilation of short stories (some new and some former writings) is coming together; there’s noticeable progress on the sequel to “Dream Glasses.” With this slower pace, I find after an initial writing, it’s easier to go back and review it with a more critical eye and make corrections. I recognize I’m more calm. Life feels less hectic, and more relaxing.
The question that plagues me is, what of these new patterns will I bring to my future when life returns to some semblance of normalcy?
Have you found aspects of these last few months you want to carry forward? Are you willing to share them?
I’ve been part of a “Writing Through the Pandemic” group. It’s been an interesting process which sometimes surprises me at what surfaces. You can find some these writing on my blog under the following menu options: “Writing Categories” and then select “Pandemic”. Feel free to leave your comments or write your own thoughts.
Together, we’ll get through this!
Everything is a process
Processes have invisible strands that tie the pieces together
For me the process started in late spring of 2019
Spending 10 weeks in the southwest of Ireland and England left me shaken
The recognition of my own materialism hit hard
The crazy pace of my life was revealed as just that—crazy
I tried to share those revelations upon returning home
My friends looked at me with that dazed look you give one when you think they’ve lost it
I still made little sense of this
I was trying to process it
Or figure out what it meant for me
Another trip to Ireland in early 2020 reinforced these thoughts and cemented relationships there
I arrived back to my home in Colorado just as Covid-19 was being openly talked about, but before any lockdowns
The lockdown has given me the time, and space to process those thoughts birthed in 2019
Given me the opportunity to be at peace with experiencing a relaxed schedule
Provided opportunities to have communications with friends and family scattered around the globe and revealed the shared trauma of this pandemic
No one wonders “why” someone is concerned—at least not in my circle
It’s my hope we will come through this fear, into love and thus come alive
Come alive to the purposes created for each of us
Ah, but first we have to recognize and acknowledge those purposes
I suspect that revelation process will be different for each of us
Some may even fight these truths, preferring instead to return to what was
My pragmatic side knows this and thus expects the “coming through” will not necessarily allow us to land in a “happy place”
There will be “happy places” but also some rough patches
There may be some friends cemented for life, but also some lost
I hope I can cling to the values learned through this process
I hope to make them an integral part of me
I hope more of us find the “happy place” and can affect and influence those still searching
I hope we will release the aspects of life that were—let them drift into a space of “what was”
And thus be able to allow those conditions to remain in that space.
The sun comes up; the sun goes down. Another day, another night. So we count time.
Time has stopped, or so it seems to me. I cook, I read, I write. I do creative things. I connect with others.
The calendar says it is April. Really? Did the sun rise and set so many times?
There is no rush. No rush to fix or finish dinner. No rush to get somewhere on time. No rush to finish projects, just gradually work on them.
The sun comes up Prepare morning drinks and luxuriate as my husband and I sit and chat. Enjoy the morning sky with clouds drifting by. Notice the few neighbors out walking their dogs. Listen to the ever growing population of birds arriving for the season. Open patio doors to breathe in the cool, fresh morning mountain air.
Another cup of tea. Snuggle into a chair by the window, and allow the sun to warm the body. Get lost in the day with either a book, writing, or communicating with a friend who is also sheltered in her house. Or spend some time on one of those creative endeavors.
Fix dinner and enjoy the quiet of the night. The sun goes down. Followed by peaceful sleep.
During this time of “Sheltering In-Place,” I’m part of a writing group. The group is writing about this time, fears, feelings, concerns. Different prompts and readings are used to generate inspiration. Sometimes I’m surprised at what surfaces. None of us in the group have experienced a time such as this. I’ll be sharing some of my writings generated from the group. You'll find them under the menu option, Writing Categories and then Pandemic. Feel free to leave your comments or write you own thoughts.
…while memories from my childhood came flooding back.
Yesterday’s day was full. While in Glenwood Springs we went to the pedestrian bridge to view the demolition progress of the main street bridge.
Upon arriving at the site, fragrance in the air drove my memories. I detected a mixture of huge equipment exhaust and oil; broken cement; dirt and hot metal smells. It reminded me of my father. He spent his life doing road construction work. My dad smelled like this when he came home. He’d take us on weekend drives to see his work. Those sites were always close to completion, had minimal equipment there, no workers and not yet opened for public use.
So, though I could say he did road construction work, I knew little about how he spent his days, or what that work entailed. He didn’t talk about it much and when he did, it always sounded like ‘just a job’ and effortless.
After his death I learned more about what he did. He was in management for the company he worked for; they created a special position for him. Because they wanted him in management, and he wanted to still drive the big equipment the company created a new status allowing both sides to gain what they wanted.
People approached me at his visitation and spoke at length and with great respect for what they learned from him. Former co-workers remembered him as a man of his word. Men talked about some of the larger projects where they had worked with him. I saw a few pictures of him on ‘big equipment’ and he was always smiling.
Great as it was to learn those things, yesterday’s glimpse into the bridge demolition opened his world more. Amazed, I watched this huge equipment maneuver heavy pieces of demolished steel, and load it onto a semi trailer. The big claw making tiny movements, shifted the heavy load to just the right place on the truck. The obvious uncertainty of how these large pieces of mangled steel would be transported away, meant there were additional people and pieces of equipment at the ready, to ensure the work gets done.
I’m sure we’ll return to the site. History is being made in Glenwood. The old Grand Avenue Bridge is being replaced. Who knows that my thoughts will be on a subsequent visit?