Word-smiths are able to handle seclusion better than most people. Self-isolation provides writers with the focus needed to craft sentences. At least that’s true for me. The smallest interruption in the middle of a creative moment and zap— it’s gone. And boy is it grumpy about coming back! Of course, life is full of interruptions. The phone rings. More often than not, it’s a spam call. I have won a free cruise. All I have to do is buy a time-share. Woohoo.
More common, Peggy has something to share. Nothing unusual about that. As a husband and friend, it is my duty to listen and respond— in a positive way. I think she wrote that into our wedding vows. We’ve been happily married for 28 years, so I guess I’ve passed that test. And vice-versa. But Peggy is also sensitive to my needs as a writer. She made me a small hanging quilt with two sides. The side with books on it means I am writing. It’s quiet time. She walks by and smiles at me while pretending to zip her mouth. The little devil. Or plants a quick, quiet kiss on my lips. No way I can object to that. Or brings me a cookie still hot from the oven. Now she just walked out to fit me for a coronavirus mask she is sewing. But, for the most part, she honors the sign.
I turn the quilt over when I am not writing as my part of the bargain. There are lots of things I do related to working on my blogs or books that don’t require the same concentration. Doing research and processing photos are two examples. Interruptions are okay, even welcome. Except for spam calls. I particularly like the kisses and warm cookies.
Like many writers, I discovered that I can also work in coffee houses. In fact, I like to. The noise of people talking becomes background, a form of white noise. It’s a way I can have human companionship while still being able to focus on writing. Plus, it gets me out of the house. When I lived in Sacramento, I would start my day with a 5-mile hike along the American River and then head for one of my favorite coffee houses for a couple of hours of uninterrupted writing. And then move on to another, and another.
It’s not so easy now. We live 30 miles from town, on the edge of being off-the-grid. Try as I might, it is really hard to justify making a 60-mile round trip into Medford so I can spend a couple of hours writing, or even several hours. Coronavirus has eliminated even that option. I make do here. It’s not hard. As most of you know, Peggy and I live on a beautifully wooded five acres with the Applegate River on one side and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest on the other. Views of the Red Buttes, still covered in snow, dominate our views out the front. It’s a great place to write— or hide out from Covid-19.
My primary writing space is the library. I am surrounded by books and reminders of our travels for inspiration. The major attraction, however, is my window on nature. My chair turns so I can either stare at books or check the action outside. Right now, a pair of rosy finches are pecking it out over who gets first right to the bird feeder while two grey squirrels are chasing each other around and around a tree trunk. Love is in the air.
The downside here is that nature itself serves as an interruption! And the woodland creatures don’t give a hoot which way my quilt is facing. Of course, I can turn around or look down, but how do you ignore a deer looking in the window, or bringing a fawn by, or a pair of bucks fighting over who gets the doe. Or a whole herd coming by while I am working on this post…
The creature that wins the trophy for the most flagrant violation of my quiet time is a male flicker. These large members of the woodpecker family would normally win their lady loves by holding drumming contests on hollow logs. He who drums loudest wins fair maiden’s heart. You know how that goes. One particularly large fellow has discovered that drumming on our vents creates a noise louder than the loudest log. To us it sounds like someone is using a jackhammer on our roof. And the ladies gather round. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve discussed his obnoxious behavior with him— or lobbed pebbles in his direction— it’s rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat. Over and over again.
But even here with all the beauty and wildlife to amuse me, I get restless. The need to wander is buried deep in my soul. Fortunately, there is a temporary solution. I’ve designated a number of different locations inside and outside as writing spaces. When I get itchy feet, I move between them. And that, my friends, will be the subject of Monday’s blog.
25 thoughts on “Observations on Writing, Eeyore, Bone and a Woodpecker During the Time of Covid-19”
Laughing….Love this post and you two, your beautiful place, and Bambi!
Thanks, Cindi. What a special comment. Bambi (Floppy) sends love right back to you. –Curt
I’ve been wondering about Bone. Thumbs up to all of your and Peggy’s efforts.
Bone’s been following the news closely, Peggy. I may not see him for months when the travel ban is lifted. –Curt
I suspect you are more used to isolation than most. I love your more ridiculous thoughts. 😁
Laughing. Creative thoughts, Ray, creative. And yes, I can handle a lot of isolation. 🙂 –Curt
I enjoy hearing how you move around to different locations to quiet your wandering soul. I love your distractions, thanks for sharing them.
My pleasure, Arati. And I enjoy being a distraction. Grin. I feature my different writing locations tomorrow, and Floppy the deer. Thanks. –Curt
Keeping the atmosphere light – I love it. I’ve been trying to do the same, but some days are harder than others….
I’m surprised I have any hands left, G. and this is without going anywhere! Peggy and I will venture out on Wednesday, however. It’s Date Day but there will be no lollygagging. It’s in and out as fast as we can go. We made it for a week and a half this time. Our new goal is two weeks. Wondering if we will make to a month. I certainly hope not. Do take care. –Curt
The better we all do – the sooner we can get back to normal!!
I doubt that truer words were ever spoken, G. It is the world war of our generation. –Curt
Thank you for your comments and photos. All reminders that we can still wander through time and place without leaving home.
Appreciated, Kate. What we are experiencing is really bad, which makes maintaining a sense of balance and a sense of humor all the more important. –Curt
Thanks so much for such a pleasant post!
There are sure a lot of conflicting messages about who should wear a mask! Fortunately, hand washing and distancing is a fairly consistent and universally understood directive!
Lovely post! Does Peggy do commissions? 😀
Thanks, AC. As for commissions, she always seems to have a line up waiting for quilts. 🙂 –Curt
HA! Your Burning Man looks more like you are ready for a West World role ( or one in the first couple of seasons – which so far I deem better)
Peggy is cute – especially with her humorous “hint” in the picture
Sigh, the outdoors is always interrupting…but that’s OK. Probably better anyway?
Burning Man is the Wild West, Phil! You can find outlaws, Indians, dance hall girls, and aliens there. Not to mention pirates, angels, demons and apes.
Peggy insisted on pulling that book out! 🙂 It may have been more than a hint. Woe is me.
You’re right, natures a pain. The deer just came dashing out of the canyon with their tails up in the air. Now they are staring back down into the canyon, all ears. At least I know it isn’t the cougar. They would have been out of here. Thanks! –Curt
What a perfect place you have for writing (and self-isolating). I’m a sucker for deer and books, so I almost can’t imagine better surroundings if stuck in a house!
Peggy and I realize how lucky we are, Lexi. Well, maybe not so lucky since it took us a year to find this place. I think that the poor realtor was seriously doubting we ever would say yes. He came from LA and just couldn’t understand my criteria of not being able to see another house. 🙂 As for books, they’ve always followed me around. Even when I took off on my 10,000 mile bicycle trek and had sold everything except my bike, panniers, and gear, I had put several boxes of books in storage. –Curt
Great masks — and it does look like some of the photos from Burning Man. I also like Eeyore with a mask and your last photo. You seem to be in good spirits, but you’re also more accustomed to “shelter in place” than many of us are. We’re so bored, we just get in the car and drive — through subdivisions looking at dogwoods right now. But who knows what we’ll take a look at next.
No problem with looking at Dogwoods, Rusha! One of my all-time favorite drives is the Natchez Trace in spring.
The last time I can remember being bored was in 1969. I solved that problem by quitting my job. 🙂 Haven’t been bored since. –Curt
I suspect all the writers out there are enjoying a little extra time to write. I might write more (although I’m not really a Writer writer), but what with all the extra output all the Writers are cranking out, I can’t seem to get caught on the reading side – much less write more. Looks like you’re doing it the write way.
Laughing, I can hardly keep up myself with all of the blogs that are being produced. But what else do bloggers have to do? 🙂 Not sure I would classify myself as a Writer’s writer, but I work at it. Let’s call it a serious hobby. Hopefully, I am made up of the write-stuff. –Curt