My last post, way back in February, was ‘One More for the Road’. And all I can say now is that it has been a long time between drinks.
Today is the first day of August, and I regret not having come back to my blog since the beginning of the year.
Back in January, I took up the challenge of writing a blog-a-day for the Ultimate Blog Challenge; I fell short by a few days – well – more than just a few. But the discipline of having to try to write every day made a difference.
Left to my own devices, it doesn’t happen…
It seems self-discipline is not something I’m good at.
So what have I been doing instead of writing?
This is 2020 – the year that will go down in history for all the wrong reasons.
And just for the record, the next time I shout from the rooftop that this is going to be the best year ever, please, someone knock me off my perch before I get the words out.
I reckon that’s why this year has turned out so bad.
When I was teaching, not so many years ago, if I dared to voice how wonderfully behaved the students were, it would all go pear-shaped just minutes later. So I quickly learned not to put the thoughts into words.
So why did I do it this year?
The numbers made me throw caution to the wind and announce that this was going to be my year – and everyone else’s – just for good measure.
My birthday is the 2nd February, so I’ve always considered 2 to be my lucky number.
My birthday this year was 02 02 2020 (can numbers be a palindrome?), so I figured this would be The Year!, for me.
How wrong could I be!
The year is more than half over and so far (apart from January and some of February) it has been the worst year on record, well at least in my lifetime. It makes Queen Elizabeth’s ‘Annus Horribilis’ of 1992 look a lot better than it did at the time.
Somewhere in February of 2020, the Coronavirus emerged. And within weeks of coming to the attention of just about everyone on the planet, the virus had spread far and wide. By March, many countries around the world had imposed severe restricted movement rules. Others imposed complete lockdown.
It was no different here in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales. We simply closed our doors and stayed inside for a very long time.
Some people went a little stir-crazy with cabin fever. The rest thrived.
I’m one of the thrivers.
I painted and sewed my way through the isolation period.
- An old table got a fresh coat of paint and a sanded top (my first attempt at sanding and varnishing – which didn’t end well)
- Chairs were painted white to match the legs of the table
- An old ottoman got a patchwork cover (my first attempt at crazy-quilting – with the focus on ‘crazy’)
- I made triple-layered masks, in the hope we would eventually be allowed out again … and we were
- The furniture in my living room was rearranged on a weekly basis (it’s supposed to keep your mind active because you have to remember where things are. It’s a shame it didn’t work for the printer ink I still can’t find…)
- I even built a shelf in one of the kitchen cupboards
What I didn’t do in isolation…
Pure and simple – I didn’t do it – not even a word.
I thought about it often – but that’s as far as it got. No action, no writing, no regrets…. until now.
I look back on the time of isolation, when writing could have been my only focus and I wonder why it wasn’t. I have no answer. But somewhere in the back of my mind is that the opportunity to legitimately shut the world out, overtook everything else.
When I write, I can be in a busy cafe and stay focused on writing.
But when I have sewing or painting to do, I don’t handle interruptions easily. I think it’s because I don’t have the confidence in either, which makes any project more difficult than it should be.
With the opportunity not to be interrupted by anyone knocking at the door, and not having to answer non-urgent phone calls, I poured myself into the more difficult tasks of painting and sewing.
And the outcome?
I’m happy to say I arrived at the point where my sewing machine, and a paint brush, became an extension of myself.
I can now confidently tackle those paint jobs and sewing projects, without having to psych myself into it.
But the biggest problem with not writing, is that I lost the confidence I had developed. Now I’m back to having to psych myself up a bit first.
The events of the last few weeks…
A few weeks ago my best friend, Kathie, emailed me a few simple words about our friendship. She reminded me of how we met on the first day of High School, and have been best friends ever since.
That email ignited a spark of inspiration. And the more I thought about it, the brighter the spark grew, until it became the flame of our forthcoming memoir.
Kathie and I have shared memories of our lives over the past few weeks, highlighting the good and the bad. And we will compile those memories into a book of Friendship, describing how our lives merged, then separated, and merged again. And of how the bond between us has remained constant for more than fifty years.
A long time between drinks…
While it has definitely been a long time between drinks, the incentive to write again is rekindled.
I now have the need to put fingers to keyboard and type out the words that describe how two thirteen-year olds met, and became best friends forever (BFF!).