A long-overdue lawn trimming revealed a rabbit’s nest in the yard. There are two babies that we can see. Twins, each no bigger than a child’s hand. A quick internet search revealed some interesting facts: that baby rabbits need only to nurse a couple times a day, and do so very quickly (unlike the seemingly endless nursing sessions I experienced with my own twins). But then, it’s “quick as a bunny,” not “quick as a baby.”
It was a joy to see the excitement on my more tender-hearted boy’s face at his discovery. While the boys left them alone–wild rabbits are not pets–they did name them: Peter and Bugs. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t worry that these rabbits might not make it. Death’s natural, and all that. Only, now I do worry–about that and everything else. I also worry I might not make it through this year without securing a real pet for my boys, something to hold and care for. I’ve suggested a domesticated rabbit; the boys are talking about a dog, again.
I’m chronicling my days of COVID-19-induced isolation here at the blog with the help of WordPress Discover . This post was in response to Discover Prompt Day 6: Hands. Won’t you join in?
Of course, I’m still reading and writing the Rust Belt and beyond. Looking for an author interview, writing advice, or story? See my categories above.
“There is still a plan,” I hope…I pray. On this Palm Sunday I share with you this post I found to be such a comfort, this week. Our stories–whatever they might be–are, as Allison K. Williams writes, “our valuable labor.” Stories, yours and mine, are also a comfort. This morning, my kids and I shared in the story of Christ’s Passion through virtual Mass over Facebook. It was weird, but the familiar words, along with the priest’s vestments of red, his blessing of spring green palms, were a rote and ritualistic balm. That’s the Church’s labor–its chopping of wood, its carrying of water. Whatever your story or labor, I hope you share it with someone today. I thank Allison K. Williams, Brevity’s Social Media Editor and a wonderful memoirist, essayist, editor, and coach for sharing hers. I encourage you to check out Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog, and Allison’s other work at idowords.net. Be well! ~Rebecca
We woke up and everything had been different for some time now. Maybe we finally slept through the night. Or embraced waking up early, wired without caffeine. Maybe the bleak haze had become familiar, waiting for something to feel like feeling again. Maybe a call came—your friend is dying. Or, I think we should take a break. Or a text, WE WOULD LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT PUBLIC MOVEMENT RESTRICTION HAS BEEN IMPOSED.
Maybe we woke to the memory of weeks ago, some faraway country tracking their citizens, an alarmist friend stockpiling taco mix, our partner still warm-eyed and cuddly. All we want is to go back to sleep, back in time, to the moment before the pandemic, the break-up, that moment of sweet unknowing, when everything was still OK.
How can we write? How can we read?
How can we possibly address the page with our life, or…
“I’m so happy, I could sing.” I’m saying that never these days. Sure, there have been moments during this isolation when I’ve put my fear aside long enough to engage in a little car-trip sing-a-long. It was Day 14, when I had to go out to retrieve books from my kids’ school and rescue my dry cleaning from its hold-up situation. In the car by myself, all alone, I belted out notes along with Patti LuPone in Evita (read more about how she’s entertaining her fans from her basement right now). Then I mixed it up and got a little angsty–no surprise there–with Amy Winehouse. Finally, on my way home I swung from the vocal chandelier with Sia. It was a wonderful release.
Still, I can’t bring myself to practice the choral pieces I would have sung over Holy Week and Easter. I want to. In “Open Wide” I talked about my re-upped hobby (now that my boys are old enough not to need this enforcerin the pew). I talked about joining my middling soprano voice with others’ in praise of something bigger than all of us. Now, it won’t happen–at least it won’t happen the way I thought it would.
Maybe I need to do it, first, and feel it second? Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from my creative writing program was that there is no writing muse. Not really. There is inspiration, sure. But, it’s closely followed by work, more work, a dash of intuition at times–which sometimes feels like a muse–and then more work.
Now, I’m thinking maybe I need to treat singing like I do writing. Do the work. Do the vocal exercises like I respond to writing prompts like this; blog, little by little, and don’t wait for inspiration. Make the inspiration. Make the song. I was just going to write: “be the song.” But, really, I’m not there yet.
I’m trying to remain open, these days of isolation, to what might pass for connection now. I try not to rail against the world for small annoyances–and thereby close my heart to possibilities. I try not to cry at the faulty internet connection that makes me drop my first-ever Zoom call. I should be happy for technology, for the virtual happy hour with my friends in town, happy to have friends, a town, a house, a basement I can sit in–which is dry despite all the rain–where the Wi-Fi works best.
Another friend dropped toilet paper at my kitchen door today–the best kind of pandemic calling card. Yet another friend, far away, is teaching her four-year-old his letters and decided to bring pen pals back. My own boys are practicing their cursive on loose-leaf (I’m glad we don’t have to re-purpose for the bathroom) and have discovered the joys of snail mail. My freelance work has me writing for hospitals, which makes fiction feel not just false but useless. My creative writing is changed, not closed, but working through different channels now.
A novelist friend, when addressing how to write at such a time as this, suggested acting like a different kind of artist. Writers, try on your dancing shoes. Performers, take to the page. That kind of thing. I desperately miss singing in my choir, raising my voice in song. I’ve written about it here and here and mused on singing for Ruminate, here. But I don’t seem to be able to open my mouth in song today.
I recent days, I have written a short essay and a flash fiction piece, departures from my WIPs–historical novels that don’t let me address this present moment. It’s a moment I don’t want to close myself off from–or forget–for the lessons it might teach me. Meanwhile, I should be teaching my kids; we should be writing a middle grade book together. Maybe we will, and set the story in a wooden boat.
The day before my state’s governor issued the latest isolation mandates, my husband and sons took to the water. My younger twin named the dinghy, “Aqua Dove”–big name for a small boat. With oars, a centerboard, and a little sail, I hope it will give my boys a sense of freedom on open water, when this is over.