Observations on Writing, Eeyore, Bone and a Woodpecker During the Time of Covid-19

Eeyore dons a face mask for a trip to the grocery store. He’s out of carrots.

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 asked Peggy if I could take a photo of demonstrating the smile and the zip. She held up a book, Mission to Civilize. I think she was referring to her efforts to civilize me, a 30-year effort with few results to date. “I have more time, now,” she said. Should I be worried? Hmmmm.
Here’s the mask that she sewed for me. Our county now requires wearing masks when we are out in public. It reminded me of wearing dust masks at Burning Man…
Which led me to grab my Burning Man hat and shades. I’m ready for the Playa. Whoops, it’s been cancelled.
In case you are curious about how serious Peggy is about this mask business, she even made one for our elephant. They have big trunks, right. Think big sneezes!
Suddenly, we hear a squeak from the book case. It’s Bone, self-isolating in his Bone Cave, demanding that Peggy make him a face mask, too.
Of course Peggy does. Bone requests that I take his picture with some rapids in his background to remind him of the 43 years he has travelled the world before coronavirus. For those of you not familiar with Bone, I’ve placed the Bone Interview in my pages above. And added a question about Covid-19. His answer isn’t for tender ears.
Eeyore goes into a tizzy when the pandemic is mentioned. It’s worse than misplacing his tail. Here I give him a little TLC. Or maybe he is giving me the TLC?

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.

“Darn, Curt has his writing sign up. I have to be quiet. Maybe if I bring him a warm cookie…”
“Yay! Curt’s turned the sign around. Now where’s my list of 25 things I need to talk about.”

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. 

Few things give Peggy and me more comfort than books. They are even more important now.
Our library is also filled with memories of our travels. This hanging is from Alaska. Peggy found the quilt hanging kit in a quilting shop in Anchorage.
The view out our library window.

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…

Are you in there? Are you okay? Where’s my apple?
She’s mine!
“So this is what happens when I do that! I’m outta here…”
The fawns are so tiny when their moms first bring them by.
The deer really cooperated when I was working on this post. The whole herd showed up when they heard they could get their photo on the blog. They are admittedly looking a bit scruffy. This is the time of the year when they shed their winter coats.

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. 

Me, self-isolating.
And finally. There has been a lot of confusion about how best to test for coronavirus on the national level, in case you haven’t noticed. This isn’t the way.

25 thoughts on “Observations on Writing, Eeyore, Bone and a Woodpecker During the Time of Covid-19

    • 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

  1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

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