I am thrilled and honoured to have this post published by the Quebec Writers Federation as part of their “Chronicling the Days” writing project. Pop over to the site to read the experience of other writers during the pandemic.
Welcome to QWF series ‘Chronicling the Days’, specifically for this strange uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine. In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story – of a single day at this time, because while we’re all living through this time, […]
via Chronicling the Days – Linda Thompson — QWF Writes
I recently acquired, without any conscious effort on my part, the previously-elusive skill of being hyper aware of my surroundings. Not always of course, but definitely when I leave the house to go for a walk. I call it my elixir and it’s all because of quarantine.
In the days “BQ” (before quarantine), going for a walk was a fitness goal to check off my “to-do” list . My mind jumped from errands I had to run to tasks to be completed at work to did I forget to iron my white blouse? Now I notice things, I mean, really notice them. Like the rhythm of my footsteps on the asphalt or the pull of brisk air into my lungs when I inhale. Did it always feel this good?
Take today for example. On my outing, I hear the ring of a young girl’s laugh. I spot her on her front lawn. She has slim, coltish legs and her hair is up in a long pony tail. She’s holding her cell phone in front of her, obviously facetiming with a friend. “That was really good!” she says. “Now I’m going to do a one-hand cartwheel.” And she does, executing it beautifully while still holding her cell phone so her friend is along for the ride. It’s pure joy to watch.
A few houses down, three people are sitting on camping chairs at the top of a drive. In Quebec, a gathering of more than two people who don’t live under the same roof is deemed to be against physical distancing measures. I wonder if they all live in the same house. I doubt it because the chairs are too carefully positioned at what seems to be at least six feet apart. But who am I to deny them the small pleasure of having a chat in the middle of a Friday afternoon in April? And why shouldn’t they get some use from those chairs? They won’t be needed at the sidelines of kids’ soccer games or at outdoor concerts this year.
I round the corner and I can’t see them, but I hear a flock of birds chirping loudly from the top of a tall fir tree. By the sounds of it, there are a lot of them. Don’t they know about the physical distancing? Of course they don’t. And even if they did, it doesn’t matter because this virus isn’t attacking them. It’s only hunting man, the supposedly most evolved of all creatures. Let them sing and make their music for us.
I see and hear so many things that would have escaped my notice before: A tiny, pale pink tricycle with training wheels temporarily abandoned by its owner. A dog barking at a house around the block from mine. Did they get a new dog or has it been there all along? I’m not sure. What I do know is I come home refreshed and looking forward to tomorrow’s discoveries.
I first started a blog four years ago and I was excited and starry-eyed about the whole project. It was called “52 Weeks” and the idea was to post once a week about a fabulous woman (friend, colleague, family member, etc.) I had the good fortune to have in my life. Before publishing, I interviewed the “woman of the week”, wrote and edited the article, found a good photo to accompany the article, etc. It was fun but time-consuming. My biggest fear, though, was not doing justice to the women I was trying to honour. I lasted seven weeks.
Just over a year ago, I re-booted the blog as “Inked In” with a completely different focus. My main goal was to write regularly enough to make it a part of my routine. I didn’t limit my content to any particular topic, but hoped I would find subjects interesting enough to the blogging community. Nor did I commit to posting once a day but aimed for at least 2-3 posts a week.
And until recently, I’ve done OK. Not great, but OK. But lately, well, inspiration is hard to come by so I’ve been missing in action. I’ve tried Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages and stream of consciousness writing (not one of my favourite exercises) without much luck. So, I thought that I would do two things to kick-start my writing again:
- Salute the bloggers out there who faithfully show up and WRITE. Some of the ones I follow and read regularly are Maggie at From Cave Walls, Elizabeth at Saved by Words, Beetley Pete, just to name a few. You are my heroes!
- One of the first blogs I wrote last year was called “The Case of the Missing Sock”, but it’s really about writing what you know. I’m going to re-read it and try to take my own advice and write about something I know, even if it’s missing socks.
If you have advice about making time to write, finding ideas, etc., please feel free to share!