A pandemic. Political feuds. Killer Hornets.
When William Wordsworth said, “The world is too much with us” could he have possibly been speaking of 2020? Usually during troubling times, small comforts run large. And right now, nothing is luring me more than the great outdoors.
No, I’m not talking about hiking and swimming—that’s for a true ‘outdoorsy’ girl. .Let’s just say that this has always been a welcome season for me. I find little better than walking barefoot, planting and admiring my garden, preparing and eating things like fresh corn and tomatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe. Doing the beach, outdoor dinners, white wine.And writing.
But this year, I’ve even found writing to be difficult. Trying to stay focused just seems harder with more noise around me. The 24/7 news cycle is hard to escape. And escaping in person? Why, with the pandemic, that’s not easy either. So it’s taken me awhile to get through my newest work. Not yet ready to truly tease it, let’s just say it’s a sequel to The Upside-Down Gardener. And while all of my other books have come to me in a rather clear and tidy way, this one has not. This one has come with a lot of elbow grease, duct tape, smoke and mirrors. For the first time, I wasn’t sure about the tension of the story—the weaving together of intro and conclusion, foreshadowing and building a good strong body. I knew in its fourth draft, it wasn’t enough. And now in its seventh draft, it’s better. Better enough to meet the liking of my editor? I’ll find out shortly. It’s with her right now.
I know millions of others are working from home now as well. And it’s certainly nothing new for me. I’ve been doing it since the 80s. Yet it’s the first time in all of these years that I’m ill at ease. A bit anxious. I’m more challenged than usual. It’s not only not knowing what’s to befall my book, but what about my ability to visit schools this fall? What will schools look like come fall? Will ‘outsiders’ even be allowed in the classroom?
They say that necessity is the mother of invention—and now more than ever, reinvention. Doing the laundry while on a conference call? Trying to calm a crying baby while preparing for a zoom meeting? Truly the world is too much with us, so maybe we need a few tools–time, patience, imagination: the ability to be patient with ourselves when the idea isn’t readily there, the baby won’t stop crying or we spill detergent all over us. The time to be at peace with ourselves and the world and the imagination to know that in time, through challenging times, that at some time, all shall be well yet again.