Edith here, in the cold stark dark of a New England late fall.
I was trying to come up with a meaningful post for today about writing, something that would engage you all and spark thought-provoking discussion. I failed. This has been one of the most difficult autumns of my life, both personally and professionally. It included deaths, health issues, and conflicts with which I am ill-equipped to deal. Almost all of it was out of my control.
So how did I cope? And now how do I brace up, as the British say, distract myself, and move on? Here are some of the ways I came up with. I hope you can add more, and I have a reward for one of you!
Bake bread. The sourdough starter in my fridge, in a little jar on the front of the top shelf, speaks every time I open the door: “Bake me! Don’t let me die!” Is there anything more comforting than the smell of fresh-baked bread?
Watch something good. Luckily, the next season of “The Crown” blew into town last week, and it has moved to Netflix. I love Olivia Colman as the new Elizabeth and Helena Boneham Carter as Princess Margaret.
Go for walks in the sunshine. I am not a serious sufferer from SAD, but sunshine always helps my mood, and I am regular walker. Being in nature has always held a bit of being in church about it for me. Which leads me to…
Sit quietly. I’ve taken more time to sit with my thoughts, in meditation and in the worship room of the beautiful, historic, spirit-imbued Friends Meetinghouse that is my church (and Rose Carroll’s, of course).
Run away. Regular readers of this blog know I take myself away on solo retreat from time to time. I thought about doing that, but also didn’t have the energy to arrange a place, pack up food and drink, and get myself there. So I’ve been holing away in my office, instead.
Hang out with children. As I no longer live with children (which can be its own kind of difficult!), I draw great joy from hanging out with my two-year-old great goddaughter (who is DARLING but her parents don’t allow her picture on social media except this one from a day her grandma and I took her apple picking).
I love that my young friend Miss B – tall, willowy, and nearly fourteen – still wants to have after school “play dates” with me, too.
Write something different. I have a first draft going (Murder at the Lobstah Shack, Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries #3) and developmental edits to wrestle down (Taken Too Soon, Quaker Midwife Mysteries #6), and I am working on both. But I carved out time this fall to write a short story featuring entirely new characters, setting, and era. I sent it off on submission and of course the whole concept is still knocking at my brain, so I might try another story along those lines.
Read more: I’m always reading, but lately I’ve been making more space for it. I just finished (and loved) Paula Munier’s new Blind Search, and have started my good friend Ang Pompano’s debut mystery, When It’s Time for Leaving. Most evenings, you’ll find me on the couch with my nose in a mystery.
Readers: how do you move on from the tough stuff? Please share, and I’ll send one commenter one of the brand new ARCs of Murder at the Taffy Shop!
I know what uts like going thru bad times. Ive had my ups and downs. What di I do? Well recently i did a course called Welmed by my new friend Debbie Sparks. It was a 6 wk course that helped me a lot. Also i started going to a cardio drumming class that keeps me moving now that its getting cold out. I love to walk when weather is good. It helps my mind body and soul. Going with a pastor friend to a nursing home where she sings gospel songs and gives the people there some happiness. And after all that i love to read. Sitting in my favorite chair with my cup of coffee, gotta have my coffee my books and my two cats and alls well in my workd.
I like the sound of cardio drumming!
My way of moving on is by keeping busy. At my house there is always something to do plus I have my reading, blogging and I like to put together puzzles. I have had a rough year as well. I hope next year will be better for everyone. Thank you for a chance to win. Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m sorry about your rough year, Kristina. Here’s to improvement for all!
I read, spend time with family and have game night. Oh and I cook. It’s been an up and down couple of years for us. Bought a house, moved my aging Mom in with us after she suffered 2 strokes and a heart attack. We’re trying to make the most of it and enjoy the little things each day. Thank you for the tips and the chance to win.
Enjoy the little things each day – so important, Michelle.
Margaret Utsey is the winner of the ARC! Margaret, please send your snail mail address to me at email@example.com. Congratulations!
Sounds like it’s been a rough year for a lot of us. I was hospitalized earlier this year & diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure.We were accepted into low income housing in October & have been trying to move since then, but one hold up after another has pushed it til Jan. 1st, although my mail has made the move!
But, as I’ve said all my life, I’m cheap to keep & easily amused, so I read my humorous cozies,watch comedies on TV, do my math puzzles & gets lots of love (especially in the bathroom, where I’m held captive) from my furry children.And Pinterest is a great escape for me. So much cuteness & humor. And I’ll be 60 on Thanksgiving. My b’day only falls on Thanksgiving about every 7 to 10 yrs, & for some reason it always makes me happy.
Edith, I found this posting to be very relatable and will hope that everyone dealing with overwhelming situations will find some comfort in their own special method. This past year has been especially rough for me as I’m now fully into macular degeneration and so my love of reading and doing many other things has been supplemented with books on CD and audio versions. So that’s one way to handle that problem. I’d already had to deal with not being able to stand and walk due to other medical conditions and how to pace myself due to my auto immune conditions and coping with vision disturbances or how to compensate for things too difficult to do the traditional way. Right after being hospitalized with injuries from a bad car accident in June and not being able to care for myself very well and overwhelming my husband, I was fortunate that my two granddaughters ages 8 and 16 had just ended their school year so they were able to come spend lots of time to cheer me up and to help me do basic tasks. Even with three times a week physical therapy and PT at home the other days my injuries will remain permanent injuries to my entire right side. What I had to realize was that I couldn’t change matters very much physically but I knew I needed to help my emotional side! I desperately needed to find a way to deal with more pain than ever before. So I plunged myself back into art but painting canvas’ in bed had a lot of drawbacks 😄 so I combined that with my previous jewelry making and could work on a movable table tray over the bed. I bought more new magnifying lamps and my husband added other lighting and I got specialty tools that allowed me to do favorite activities although not with ease. But…. Many were accomplished! Thanks to online shopping I’ve created about 300 more jewelry items added to my previously painted and created crackled marble jewelry items and painted metal items of about 400 other pieces. Using all of the jewelry tools helped strengthen my very weakened fractured wrist and elbow and got my upper arm muscles working better up to the torn muscle damages in my bicep and shoulder so at least I could do most personal care again and dress myself almost totally by this month. The girls came over often to do art and jewelry making with me and it was a wonderful distraction from a lot of this very stressful and painful past 5 months! My biggest joy is with my family around me but when they aren’t with me, I keep my mind and hands very full with books on CD, and art work/painting and crafting jewelry which has been my biggest challenge and now an accomplishment. Now I am hoping to be able to get my little blessings/helpers to do a spring craft fair which, if successful, would be really nice! My best to everyone coping with situations that are difficult in any way.
Stories like yours keep the rest of us, who have problems but not nearly as serious, going with a lifted spirit. I praise you for your persistence and positive attitude. I’m sure you have had a lot of down days, but you make yourself bounce back and keep going. I’m in awe of you, dear.
Those are some beautiful loaves. My bread’s rarely that attractive visually (tastes awesome though) but I’ve been working to change that lately.
I loose myself in books – it’s the only way to stay sane. Thank you for all your wonderful books.
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