The New Normal

A writer needs routine: sitting in the same place at the same time with the same books and pencils and paper/laptop/computer, whatever, and writing. When that routine is interrupted, changed in some way, the writing suffers. I expect that’s hardly news to most people. Most, I expect, know that writers are creatures of habit.

People, in general, need routine. That may be why changing the time from Daylight Savings to Standard is so rattling for some—maybe most people. When the light is different from one day to the next, our bodies react. When the time changes gradually, bodies cope. The sudden change of an entire hour puts everything oddly catawampus.

But of course, that’s not all that’s off. Time is all out of kilter, period. Some days we dash around and time slides away faster than we can move and accomplish, and some days it stretches. I’m always surprised by time in the mornings when I’m still in my corner and journaling, and I look up and the light is different or the time is either zipping or inching. How does that work?

And what happened to days off? Remember your parent’s lives or grandparent’s? They always took a day off. Sunday, for many, or Saturday if the family was Jewish, was a day of rest. That’s what we did. We went to church or temple and then we rested. Unless of course it was harvest time on the farm. But that was a different and didn’t last forever. When was the last time you rested for a whole half-day? Even a quarter of the day?

This, the pundits say, is the “new normal.” Time compressed and stretched, all within the same go-round on the clock face, until we’re out of sync with ourselves and time is either supposed to be one thing or the other when actually it’s neither. It’s an is.

So here we are: eleven days from Thanksgiving. How did that happen? The Sunday after the Thursday of Thanksgiving begins Advent….. OOOkkkkaaayyy…..and then it’s Christmas.

But at this particular moment I’m feeling virtuous early. I’ve cleaned off both desks around my work space that pile with papers and sheets of paper and to-dos and notes to look up and bills to pay. Wood is a clear reminder of order—and one I appreciate.

So tonight, with a clean desk and in the PC office with the big computer instead of with the laptop in my writing office in the mornings, I’m writing, at night. Go figure. I’m not a night writer. A night rider, maybe, but rarely a night writer. Tapping the keys, conscious of the wonderful sound of a keyboard functioning beneath my fingers, means I’m writing. And my body, ever grateful to take a deep breath and relax, does so.

I’ll take this as new normal.

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4 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. I agree, what you describe is the new normal.

    Since the implosion with the C of A, I have tried to reorient my life and a major part of that is converting a 12X16 space in my basement to create an art studio.

    But…and there is always a but, isn’t there? My but is that I have finished several manuscripts but never got around to going back and copy editing…and again…and again. Yes, I know the work is not finished until that process is finished but…oh, there’s that but again, the creative part of writing is so much fun – and for me gets my endorphins going – that I hate to go back, and back, and back again copy editing.

    Yet, even with the best of intentions, life interrupts in unexpected ways. For instance, just as I finished writing the last paragraph, Barb called to me that Bentley – my son Warren’s dog – got out of the yard. I found him down the hill on the sidewalk but…there’s that but again…when I picked him up I discovered he had rolled in feces and now my hands were covered with it.

    So, what can one do when these “buts” intrude into our lives? I try to remember the words of Wee Willie Keeler who at 5’4″ was the International League batting champion in the late 1800s-early1900s.

    What was Wee Willie’s wisdom. It was, “Take two and hit to right.” What he meant by that was when life throws a fastball by you and you are fooled by a curve ball, don’t panic. Simply wait for the next “but” and do the best you can to make the best out of a bad situation.

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