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!