Monday, February 15, 2021

Snow and writing

 The snow is snowing all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It falls on all our parkas here

And on the ships at sea.

    With apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson

Snow isn't news for a lot of us; it's certainly not for those of us here in Northern Clime. I feel bad for those of you in usually warm places, though, who are now going through this without the benefit of the equipment (plows, etc.) of northern places. 

If I kept a gratitude journal, there would be one overriding theme in it this year, and especially when the snow comes: teaching online instead of in person. While none of us are happy about the reason, thank you, powers that be, for letting us teach online during COVID. Thank you.

Let me clarify the reason for that gratitude: teaching online means that I'm not risking my life on scary, ill-plowed two-lane roads to get to campus in bad weather. Our campus has declared maybe two snow days in the many years I've been there, so yes, we have to show up. For one of those days, I finally struggled to campus after 2.5 hours of white-knuckle driving only to have them close campus. Yes, I had to turn around and drive home. One time they closed the highway while I was still on it 30 miles from home, and I had to drive on the old highway, the one that you can still drive on but that they abandoned because it was too steep & scary. I made it, but it was, as the young folk say, a mood. So, gratitude. 

Here's one post I wrote back then:

 That also brings me to writing, which I have time to do now that it's snowing and we're online. After the election, a weight fell off my shoulders, although like most anyone who watched the news, I assumed there would be violence on January 6. After that, after the impeachment despite its outcome, there's a feeling that the grownups are in charge again and our brains can turn to stuff we can actually do something about, like writing.

The new plan, which is bearing some minor fruit, is to do this:

  • Write by hand before putting it into type. This is new, because I've been able to touch type since I was maybe 15 years old and have always composed by typing. It was typewriters back then and computers starting in 1986, but always typing. But writing by hand now feels less stressful than the blank page, and there's less possibility of distraction from the interwebs.
  • Keep strict track of time. This involves not just pomodoros but writing down the times and what I'm doing.
  • Keep piling stuff in the main document and not worry about whether it's terrible or not until a few days have passed. Yesterday I looked: yes, some was terrible, but some was okay, and all of it is more than I would have written otherwise. 

Hope you are all safe and warm!


Sunday, February 07, 2021

Random bullets of settling in to 2021: Things are looking up!

  •  Happy New Year!
  • Who had armed takeover of the Capitol by violent white supremacist Trump worshippers & Trump's impeachment on their 2021 bingo card? Sadly, Spouse and I kind of did, but it was still horrifying.
  • But we have a new and competent administration now, and there are vaccines, and said competent administration is getting those vaccines to us and cleaning up the mess of 4 years of misrule as swiftly as possible.
  • Everyone is now promoting their Substack on Twitter. Substack, I learned, is a newsletter format that lets you subscribe for a fee to read the thoughts of people you would like to follow. So: a blog, but not free.
  • How's your imagination doing, now that we're still in lockdown? Mine is running toward thinking about some of the antique furniture I've recently received after my mother's house was sold. Now, this furniture isn't old by European or British standards, but it's old by mine. I'm thinking especially of a little burled maple table that would have been made in the 1830s-1840s in, probably, Connecticut or Rhode Island. It's a plain little table, nothing fancy, but every time I walk by it, I wonder what its original owners would have thought of where it is, what it's seeing, so to speak, and otherwise imagining myself back into its original time and place. 
  • Classes are going well remotely. Writing is going poorly, but maybe inspiration or the will to work will hit now that things are looking up.