WRITER'S BLOCK, COVID, AND WINTER. OH MY!

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

November 16, 2020



I’ll be honest, I pen this latest blog to trigger my own creative juices, to get my keyboard humming again, to get the ole right side of the brain to ignite, to dream a little. You see, for the past year, I’ve been impassioned about—okay, obsessed with—the presidential election in the United States, and that unfortunately zapped my imaginary enterprise. No, I won’t tell you who I voted for, because I don’t wish to make this a political post. I just want to blog—or blather, rather—to have fun, to increase readership of my debut novel (Tiny Righteous Acts, now available wherever books are sold, tah-dah, yada yada yada!).


So, what will I say? That is the question. That is why you are here. To see what I will say. Or write. To humor me by reading this. Because you are kind.


I can report that as I sit here in the “room where it happens” (the writing, the pontificating, the pensiveness, the procrastination) that the three silver maples in front of our house are 95% bare. Oh sure, the usual hangers-on dangle, the brown or yellow leaves, the diehards. Their comrades having lost the battle with the wind and rain and chill, lie beneath them in mass graves or splay about the disappearing green. Through my second-floor office window, tree skeletons peer at me. No longer do they wave their flashy green ponchos in flamenco fashion.


I declare that the sun, evidently exhausted by working overtime in summer, has adiosed behind a parade of clouds. And, with trepidation, I can tell you that the days are getting shorter. Soon, Anxiety, my oldest friend, sometimes dubbed S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder…bah!) by white coats, may visit me soon. I say “may” because, somehow, hope inserts itself brazenly into my spirit too. Alas, there is something different about this November. “What?” you ask. Patience, Grasshopper. I’m going to tell you.


November in New England is, well, November in New England, after all. It is the Drumbeat of Winter, the Frozen Handwriting on the Wall, the Over-Layered Omen, the Forewarning of the Frozen. “So how is this November different?” you ask. Again. Easy, Tiger.

Today, I present to you, the reader: the COVID November!


“That’s it?” you say. “This is the best you can do!?” you exclaim. “You offer a gray month within a centenary pandemic?” Hang on there, buster.


Allow me. If I can muster hope in this almost-Winter, anyone can. Our sturdy, old Colonial house has known more human and fauna presence in the last eight months than in all of its ninety-two years. While the activity may not be good for it--what with Belle, our big black labbish dog, scratching the wooden floors and sad back door; Edward, our orange cat, meowing to get out and in; Josephine our red-eared slider banging about in her aquarium; and our human residents of three, sliding around in Crocs or socks relentlessly—it is alive with movement. Indeed, the lockdown has not been horrible for us.


That’s right. While I will admit that the beginning was weird and we tripped over each other, marking our territories (a.k.a. work spaces), and the middle was tiring and boring; the end, which I hope we approach soon, may offer a life line emotionally, at least to me. I say this because I am either forbidden by authorities from traveling to my warm hometown of the Big Easy. To the Land of the Y’ats. Or, I am too afraid to travel, catch The Rona, and die alone in a hospital bed. “That doesn’t sound hopeful,” you add. Quiet!


The hope lies in the lack of apparent eject button from the Winter Warlock. Let me explain. Due to possibilities removed, I have no choice but to embrace the incredibly long and frozen season. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve given myself permission to actually enjoy it; which, if you know me doesn’t jive with my cold-weather kvetching of the past.


Something, indeed, feels different this year. Maybe it’s me clinging more to Roommate Numero Uno, Husband Steve, fearful that he will get sick. Perchance, it is that we both perform better than expected at working from home, at the same time. Like, together. In the past, I have not looked forward to Steve’s retirement, because of the stepping-on-top-of-each-other scenario. The get out of my work-from-home space possibility . But, guess what? I’m handling it and so are we. At first light, we sip coffee and listen to the news. Then, we about face and march to our assigned spaces, with neither aggravating—I mean, er, talking to—each other too much. We reconvene at wine o’clock, lift our glasses to us; eat dinner with Roommate-Slash-Son Zack over the counter (Steve’s designated home office occupies the dining room); read, watch television or Netflix together; then snuggle for the rest of the night.


Perhaps it is that if nothing else, I realize (and maybe you do too) that I need my family: my two adult sons, Zack and Jake, my heretofore mentioned hubster, even my four-legged members. If nothing else, COVID, has shown the entire world, and even little-ole-too-often-self-centered me, that life is short, we are vulnerable, and that family and friends are everything.


So, besides swallowing not being able to catapult to New Orleans during this Jack Frost Feckery, I will hug my family members more. Why? Because that I am allowed to do. No, that I will enjoy.

***This blog is dedicated to my dear cousin, James Fornea, who succumbed to this awful virus last month. I already miss him.

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