The Write Stuff   Leave a comment

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I’m totally grateful I have a job that allows me to work from home. Really. I. Am. As it is, we used a cooperative workspace pre-COVID and all of our files are in the cloud, as is our software, so we’re fluid to begin with. We’re not tied to one place or server. That makes it so easy for us to access whatever we need, create new documents and do all sorts of neat stuff. Wherever I am, I’m usually writing or researching for hours on end. All those words add up to a bunch of sentences that forge into paragraphs and before you know it, there’s a whole document just waiting to be edited by my boss.

When 9:00 am strikes, there I am at my kitchen table, checking the email and social media messages. Usually by 10:00 am I start on my assignments for the day. And when 5:00 pm hits, I’m often in the middle of something so I keep at it until I finish. By then, my eyes are incredibly bleary and dry from staring at a blue-lit screen. So when the evening rolls around, my eyes are too gorped up to write anything. Besides, my creative well’s pretty dried up then, too.

Even writing this blog presents its challenges. Sure, I’ve got plenty to say but no ambition to say it. I really, REALLY hate this whole COVID thing. It’s thrown a monkey wrench into my plans. My Twitter feed is loaded with writers who’re meeting and exceeding all sorts of goals. If I included the number of words I put down daily, I’d beat them all.

Unfortunately, only a select audience reads grant proposals, press releases, blast emails and social media posts. So far as I know, there’s no real story arcs or plot twists in letting the world know my place of employment is hosting a virtual event on Zoom, and in the accompanying press release I’ve sent off to the media to announce it. Although, there is something to be said about the nail-biting, stress-inducing grant proposal…but only after it’s been sent off to the foundation or government agency offering it.

Today’s gorgeous. So was yesterday. Thought I might sit outside and have a cup of something and maybe write some. Within a half-hour, my lungs betrayed me. Damn asthma! Damn pollen! I’m on an inhaler but it only goes so far. It also doesn’t help that the unending roar of motorcycles streaming through my town destroys my concentration, although I’m getting better at ignoring them.

Here I am, in the lower Hudson Valley, and we have so many COVID cases with its share of sorrowful deaths, yet few seem to be paying attention. I took a brief drive yesterday so that my poor car can have its engine kept in shape and I can go someplace in a protective bubble without worrying I’m going to catch anything. Thousands of people were on the road – no lie – and squeezed between all those vehicles were an equal amount of motorcycles. Then those riders hopped off and stood in groups, close, no masks. As I drove through a few towns, loads of people, also maskless, stood around and gathered, no social distancing between them, chatting away as if this was last year.

My town is one of those places that fills up with city people on the weekends and the summer, so it’s no surprise that we have our fair share of COVID cases in town. Even today, people are out in droves, chatting, walking, no social distancing. I really can’t blame people for a little freedom from their homes and worries. But seriously, folks, use a little caution!

Fed up with just about everything, I decided to risk something myself yesterday. I ordered takeout from a restaurant just across the way. I ate there often when things were normal, as they’re good, close and affordable. The last time I ordered from them was March. A day later, on my Facebook page, some well-meaning friend posted a story about how risky it was to order takeout, how one should remove the meal from the bag and cartons and the proper way to disinfect one’s home and self upon placing said meal on your own plate, and to NEVER eat from the original container. I freaked out so much after reading that I swore I’d never do that again. But eating one’s own cooking for too long causes its own level of agitation, so I threw caution to the wind and enjoyed a nice serving of meatloaf, fresh mixed vegetables (not frozen or canned) and a healthy pile of mashed potatoes with gravy. Even went so far as to order a slice of cheesecake that was amazingly delicious. I felt better instantly.

So here I sit now, writing this blog and after I publish it, will go back to my edits for my book that my agent has surely forgotten that I’ve written. My sister has helped me out a great deal trying to get my story into excellent shape. I think about returning to it often, but just can’t get into it for whatever reason. Yet the story lives on in my head, and the characters are beating me up trying to get on with their plots and storylines. I owe it to them to breathe life back into them, and maybe too, my life as a writer.

Stay safe and inspired, friends.

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