Month: April 2020

Avoidance

On this blog, I’ve promoted the use of lists to accomplish tasks in a timely manner.  I have found this a very useful technique for both writing and non-writing chores. Once I’ve itemized a job and added it to a weekly list, changes are pretty good, I’ll get it done.

Except. . .

Clean the sewing room has been on my weekly list for the past four weeks, and still the stacks of fabric, missing buttons and lost threads accumulate in corners. I have become a master of avoidance when it comes to a deep dive on organizing my sewing room. Can’t explain it, but the many times I’ve transferred to task from last week’s list to this week’s is testament to a deep-seated resistance. Mind you, the little clip at the top of this post is another reason the sewing room is not decluttered.

Decisions and Fear

Perhaps it’s the need to make decisions that holds me back. To really tidy the room I’ll have to decide on what to keep and what to throw away. Fear of making the wrong decision keeps me from making any decision and the detritus grows.

The Discovery Stage

I’m also resistant to writing the “romance” in my romance novel. I’ve finished the plot line days ago, but cannot arrive at a logical happily ever after, because I haven’t built the love story into the middle of the manuscript. This is a common failing of mine. I should be used to it by now. 

Because my first draft is more a voyage of discovery than a charted journey, I’m afraid of locking myself into a bad idea, of picking up a theme that I cannot sustain throughout the novel. So, I hedge. I leave my options open, hoping that somewhere in this flight through the mist, I’ll stumble upon the key to the romance. Usually I do. Usually it is not until I’m about to smash into the mountain. The clouds lift and I see where I’m going.

Resolution

Having reached the crisis moment where h/h must chose each other or the story turns from romance to downer, I finally have a clue as to what the big issue between them is and how to resolve it.

Hint:  It is not the issue that seemed to be the stumbling block at the beginning of the story. That first conflict is never big enough to hang a novel on. 

Promise

So, my promise to myself and to you, dear reader, is that this week I will face the challenge of both the laundry room and the romance. I post that promise here to give myself extra motivation. Having publicly made a declaration, I don’t want the humiliation of admitting I dodged the issue once again.

Conversation

So writers and readers, how do you cope with avoidance? Is there a magic formula that will get that closet cleaned out? Do you have to be stuck at home amid a pandemic before boredom drives you to the neglected recesses of your home and your mind? Does avoidance make you feel guilty or clever?

Use the comments section to share your wisdom or your frustration.

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A Little Levity

In this time of world crisis, we could all do with a little jocularity. (Remember Father Mulcahy on M.A.S.H.–jocularity, jocularity?)  The calico cats bring you lots of purrs and a little chuckle.

 

 

This is a sweater I’ve been working on for months. The knitting, in the round on long circular needles,

is awkward and slow. I’ve had to rip back over and over.

 

This is a big flaw in the sleeve only five rows from finishing the dratted thing.

 

This is why, there is a big flaw in the sleeve, only five rows from the end.

This is Chloe, having a lovely afternoon nap, that is because she gets up at 5:00 am and insists on going out!

This is Chloe demanding a brushing.

 

Here are the calico cats curled up together in the shower. I don’t know why this is their favourite spot, but I have to get there ahead of them to wash my hair. Of course, I couldn’t possible boot them out.

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Hope you enjoy these glimpses of my cats.  They do keep our lives interesting, even while we are physically distancing and missing our usual activities. Are your pets keeping you sane?

 

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COVID-19 Lessons in Perception

Perceptions of time.

In my part of the world we are beginning our third week of shut-down. On the calendar the past fourteen days look like nothing at all, but in real life it feels like forever since I attended a church service, met a friend for coffee, or popped into the grocery store without lining up.

Perception of reality

I feel like the news reporters at CBC   are my new best friends. I spend more time with them than my actual friends. Interesting to watch the fluffy-haired blonde reporters turning into bed-head brunettes. Vik Adhopia is bald so his style has not been affected. Who knew hair loss would be an advantage?

Our Prime Minister (who is practising self-isolation because his wife was infected with COVID-19) appears on television every morning with the latest word from government. There have been missteps along the way, but when one considers the enormity of the task I have to take my hat off to the elected politicians and to the civil servants who are rolling out massive bailout packages at a phenomenal speed.

Websites must be built to handle millions of applications all at once.

Personnel must be deployed to process all those millions of applications within ten to fourteen days.

When one is waiting for the money, that seems a very long time, but from the administrative side, that is lightning fast.

Perception of Nature

At a time when the virus is making us close in, hunker down, and worry, spring has still come to my part of the world. While the virus narrows our outlook, spring appears with open hands, flinging beauty far and wide, free of fear or restraint.   I found this lovely lady at the end of my street yesterday.  I share her with you and hope your heart will lift as mine.

 

Perception of Kindness

There are many examples of kindness to be found just now. Children put hearts in the windows to say thank you to essential workers. Residents bang pots and pans at shift change at the hospital, to say thank you to medical staff. Our local distillery started making hand sanitizers instead of gin and a local delivery company offered to distribute them to fire halls and emergency rooms. Neighbours are helping neighbours — I’ve picked up groceries for some of my housebound friends–families are finding imaginative ways to keep in contact with relatives in nursing homes. 

Perception of WritersInternational Women's Day

On the writerly front, many authors and groups of authors are offering free classes, free critiques and free jokes to help writers through this trying time.  Close to home, the creative academy, has thrown open their virtual doors and opened up conversations with authors–about writing, about selling, about covers, about self-publishing — just about anything you can name. Three cheers for them.

Another example I found is on Writer Unboxed — you know I’m a fan of that blog. They have taken up the blight of debut authors who have had their book launch events cancelled. Under the tag of Helping Fellow Authors in the Age of COVID 19, they have invited debut authors whose events have been cancelled to pitch their book on Writer Unboxed.  Writerly kindness in spades!

Perception of a hero

A crisis brings out both the best and the worst in people–those of you emptying the shelves of toilet paper, just stop it!

But there are many more examples of individuals, companies and governments going flat out to help their neighbours. Kudos to all of you, and especially to authors. While we’re all stuck at home, we need stories. We need writers to take us on a journey of the imagination. We need writers who make us laugh, writers who make us cry and writers who show us the possibilities beyond today.

As I heard a closed restaurateur remark from his closed business, “chin up.”  

If you’ve got a COVID-19 story–it can be funny or profound or heartwarming– please share in the comments below.

 

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