Thursday, April 23, 2020

Things Change. Things Stay the Same.

I have to admit, the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t changed my life very much. In early March, my husband and I were visiting family in Savannah. I came home for a meeting and a mystery panel at a local library. Both my events were canceled. I’d left my husband in Savannah with the grandkids, so I was alone for three weeks. During that time, I finished a book I’d been writing on and off for a couple of years. I went through it again, edited, then sent it to my editor. We're still trying to make it the best it can be.

Except for not going to the grocery store or meeting friends for lunch, life went on as usual. I had plenty of food, and because I’d recently bought paper products in bulk, I wasn’t in dire need of anything. During this time I was alone, I watched less cable news—depressing, watched the Amazon series, Hunters, with Al Pacino—somewhat depressing, read more, worked on my writing, and traded critiques with my long-time critique partner. The house was eerily quiet. My neighbors were eerily quiet except for one of them asking if I needed anything. I didn’t. I walked the dog. Even the neighborhood was eerily quiet. People walked their dogs, acknowledging other dog walkers from across the street with a nod. The cyclists who zoomed around the lake never acknowledged anyone in the best of times. That didn't change.

In early April I drove down for my oldest granddaughter’s sixth birthday—where has the time gone? The party consisted of a parade of twenty-three cars decorated with signs and balloons driving by my granddaughter, shouting greetings of happy birthday.
She knew nothing beforehand about what was going on. It was colorful fun, and a little noisy, too, but she loved it. No one got out of their cars except a few who dropped presents off nearby, got back in their cars, and drove away. We had a party that night with just our immediate family. A couple of days later, my husband and I drove home.

Finally, when my food supply dwindled but not the paper products, I followed food-shopping guidelines from NPR — "No, You Don't Need To Disinfect Your Groceries. But Here's How To Shop Safely" – and ventured out with mask to shop for groceries at four stores to fill our two refrigerators. I’m convinced I’ll never have to shop for food again. Of course I will, but it won’t be for a month or more except for milk. I haven’t bought flowers for planting, so that might be my next trip.
There’s a garden shop nearby that opens in the spring and closes before winter.

Of all people, those who write or paint or do dozens of artsy things from their homes have fared the best. We are solitary beings. Others can make this time productive or feel trapped and confined. I’ve made the most of my time without ever resorting to deep cleaning my house and not feel guilty about it. Life is short, getting shorter. I prefer to take the lemons and make lemonade.

Polly Iyer is the author of nine novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and Indiscretion, and four books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, Backlash and The Scent of Murder. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

10 comments :

  1. What a great idea to have a drive-by birthday party. Not as good as being able to gather, but your granddaughter will remember this birthday, as will your whole family. Glad you've been safe and well.

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    1. It was fun and such a great way to celebrate without coming in direct contact with anyone.

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  2. Loved reading this, Polly. You sound very content with your life, even with the virus out there. I do hope we can all go out at will soon, but it is what it is.

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    1. I don't know how I'd be if I didn't write, Jan. Getting into a mindset of being someone else, somewhere else, really helps keep the mind busy. What the end result will be is yet to be determined.

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  3. Your experience sounds a lot like mine, except our contact with grandkids has been via Face Time or What's App. I don't mind staying home at all, but I do think a lot about the people who have to go to work, especially those on the front lines at hospitals. That stress must be overwhelming.

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    1. I agree, Pat. I have actually stopped watching the news because it's so distressing. Doctors and nurses dying because they're taking care of others is heartbreaking. We also do Face Time, but every time I mention I went out to the grocery store, we don't get any more invitations to visit. My next order will be delivered.

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  4. The news isn't for me, either -- much too discouraging. If I really want to know what's going on, I can check in with Newsy, which doesn't come with comments or opinions, just a quick overview of what's happening and where. Now it's back to work. Please stay well and safe. :-)

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  5. For me it feels like a glitch that is keeping 2020 from installing properly. Time feels suspended, even though the calendar pages keep turning.

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    1. Kind of like Groundhog Day. Same day over and over.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.