Washing Bananas: A Writer’s Response to the Pandemic

I’ve just finished washing and drying two bunches of bananas, one avocado, one lime, and two broccoli crowns. They are currently drying on a towel on my kitchen counter. I am also thinking about how I’ve neglected my writing since March 11. On that Tuesday, I had an appointment with my hairdresser at 9 a.m. After that, a quick stop at the grocery store and a drive home to our country cottage. It was the last time I shopped with ease, or carried on with my normal activities.

I started out with good intentions, determined that if I was sheltering in place, I would finish two major projects: edit a manuscript that has taken me away from this blog site for months, and edit and prepare for publication a biography that is 98 percent complete. Maybe I’d even start something new.

None of that transpired. I was too distracted to focus on any writing other than commenting to a few friends on social media, or writing an email here and there. I knew I’d feel better if I sat down, turned on the computer, and worked. I had the desk, the chair, and the computer, but what was sorely lacking was motivation. At the end of each day, with nothing accomplished, I mentally beat myself up for being so “lazy.” After all, the hard work was mostly behind me; I had two projects very close to completion. All I had to do was apply myself, but . . .

I found myself bouncing around the house, busying myself with household chores, cooking, and reading–a lot of reading. It was all I could focus on for any length of time. The only thing that seemed like a win was finally perfecting a low-fat brownie recipe.
Then, I read an article that said, in effect, “What in the hell do you expect from yourself–or anyone–in the midst of a pandemic that’s taking lives at an alarming rate?” What indeed?

And that was when I decided to let reading a favorite author, popping a dark chocolate truffle occasionally, and surrendering to the rhythm of the days–as numbingly  repetitious as they have become–be sufficient for now. Perhaps the next seventy-five days will be more productive. At least, a more relaxed attitude has yielded small gains–pages if not chapters.

I often heard the slogan, “Practice what you preach,” as a kid growing up in a prairie state. I still adhere to it, so I won’t tell you to write every day, become the most creative you’ve ever been, or write the memoir you’ve had simmering for years. The only writing pointer I can suggest is to be kind to yourself, write when it makes you happy, and trust that the muse will return.

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