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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