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?
We’re each on earth at this point in time, traveling to… No one knows for sure. Early in the year, we found ourselves confident; we knew the direction. We thought we knew at the beginning of the year. We were all headed “someplace” in 2020.
And then Covid-19 hit.
We’re all home now. It took some longer than others yet now, we’re home. Now, we’re living life on “pause.”
Are things getting in your way, in your home? In your previous rush to get somewhere, did you lose sight of what’s important to you? Has the time of “pause” provided the opportunity to find your true north? Has revelation set in that around the globe, we are all shuttered? Life has slowed. Has the change of pace, caused you to ponder your life’s ultimate travel plans? Do you recognize others are on the same uncertain roads?
When life moves from “pause” to “reset” I expect there will be a gradual buildup of activity. I expect many of us to come out of our homes, a little dazed. Uncertain, perhaps, of what to expect from this point in history. I expect some will burst out of their homes expecting life to pick up where it left off. Will they bump into an unexpected reality, or will life simply return to what it was before Covid-19?
Please leave a comment in response to any of the questions. Happy New Year!
Do you read my blog because you too are a writer, or just interested in what I write about?
Either is good; I’m just curious.
If you write, do you have writing goals?
How to you track your goals and evaluate your progress?
Does this motivate you?
I use writing goals. It’s a process I’ve refined over the years. It started with generic lists for big projects that I seldom looked at and by the year’s end; I found I accomplished little. Not very satisfying!
My process evolved and suspect will continue to evolve.
It’s important for me to break down a project into tasks; this level of detail ensures things don’t fall through the cracks and provides a more accurate view of the work and time involved to accomplish the project. Making that simple change to my goals has allowed me to be more realistic in what I can accomplish.
As I contemplated 2019’s goals in creating my goals for 2020, I realized how frequently you, my followers have been part of the process. Thank you for taking time to read my posts, for choosing to “like them” or make comments. Those efforts encourage me, as a writer.
My hope for you is that as you reflect on 2019, you enjoy good memories. I look forward to 2020 and hope my writing will bring a smile to your face, or provide something for you to contemplate.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, Not a creature was stirring….
Perhaps this is a night for reflection.
…a quiet night to sit by a fire, or simply on a couch
…a time to think of what is right in your life
…or to think on the things you might like to change
Christmas is special to me. I’ll spend this evening in my home, reflecting on Christmas’ past, and the people who’ve impacted my life. I’ll count my joys and blessings, and though I hold those things lightly, for me it’s important to recognize them.
I’ll wait for snow, like a child waits for Santa because that is part of the magic of my Christmas.
I’ll think on that time so many years ago when history was changed a child was born in a manger. Then I’ll think on the time I made his saving grace a part of my life.
May you enjoy the blessings of this holiday season and find joy in the coming year.
Why, as the sky turns dark, and I lay my head into my pillow, do all these great thoughts and ideas come to mind? I want to sleep but instead I ponder story starts, and various scenes to add to pieces I’m writing. My body is weary, too weary to get up and write. The thoughts are so vivid I’m sure I’ll remember them the next time I sit down to write, or for sure, in the morning.
Slumber finally comes. Then when the pink glow of morning lights up the sky and the sun peaks above the horizon, my eyes slowly awaken. Gratitude for the new day and all it offers, fills my heart. But alas! Some thief snuck into my room in the night while the stars twinkled and shone. I’m certain I was considering something wonderful last night, but all those thoughts vanished. Not a remnant remains, nor is there any evidence of who took the fruit of my inspiration.
The tulips are gone. The weather turned a corner and I shed my daily sweater layer. We witnessed community clean-up days; people pruned their shrubs, bushes and trees; or painted their house fronts. The sound of birds fills the air, the trees are greening, roses fill walkways, everything is in bloom or soon ready to break forth. Tour bus traffic has increased on the roads since when we first arrived. Ireland has readied itself for the tourist season, just as we prepared to pack up and leave. It is a different place than when we arrived.
Red Roses of Tralee
Yellow Roses or Tralee
We’ve enjoyed two months in County Kerry, and enjoyed the people we’ve met, gotten to know and hope to maintain relationships with.
The current stage is of goodbyes with the question, “when will we see you again?” The answer is in God’s hands.
Friends from home are asking, when you return?
Life activities on both sides of the Atlantic are calling.
Goodbyes are never easy as they pull on heart strings.
We leave with many memories.
A piece of my heart remains here and a piece of my heart is calling me home.
If you were to ask what my thoughts are, Bittersweet is the answer.
Wow! It’s hard to believe we wrapped up week seven in Ireland. In the blink of an eye, seven weeks passed.
Thoughts whirl and twirl through my mind as I try to sort them. I suspect the sorting process will take some time.
Each of us has made contacts in County Kerry that have a place in our hearts, as do many people back in the US. I’ve read each of us only has the capacity to maintain a finite number of relationships, and that number varies little from person to person. That’s not my life experience. I find as I reach out and build a relationship with someone, my heart expands to make room for more relationships. With each relationship I build, it enriches something within my life.
My heart swells at the good thoughts of those who have touched my life; I’m grateful for the simple expressions of friendship, for the caring acts of our family, for the loving arms of God’s expanded family who know no geographical boundaries.
We’ve written about the weekly activities we each take part in, and those activities may sound simple or repetitive, but in many ways that is what life is about—simple, repetitive acts performed again and again; all the while with lives interacting and crossing one another. And so, week seven was another such week for us, full of people, interactions and activities.
We try to take one day each week and drive somewhere. The attached photo is from a seashore town, an area traveled often by tourists which is why I suspect the houses are so brightly colored. It is beautiful, and then nearby is the blue of the sea and the sky.
…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?