4 Things I've Learned From Being Quaratined

Thursday, April 30, 2020
So far I’ve been trapped in my house—quarantined—for 4 ½ years. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But it feels like it’s been that long.


Although I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home (teaching 5th-8th graders), and I’m fortunate enough to have remained healthy (along with my family and friends), it’s been rough. However, I’ve learned some things about writing while being forced to stay home, and here they are:

1. Boredom can be a good thing. I fill my days with eating, reading, binge-watching TV, eating, writing, eating, yard work. Shake off the boredom and use being bored as a nudge to try something new. I’m (mentally) working on the idea of writing an article to pitch to WOW. Check out the website and scroll down to the "Submissions (website/newsletter)" section to see what the current themes are. And contemplate doing something different, because you know you saw that episode of Law and Order last week… and here it is again.

2. Be loose. I live in sweatpants or pajamas. Did you notice (see #1) how much food I’m consuming? It’s nothin’ but elastic these days, baby. I’ve taken this loose attitude and applied it to other facets of my life. Be flexible with your opinions about your ever-expanding waistline. (Most women who are immortalized in museum sculptures or paintings have extra meat on their bones. Would you rather be thin for a fleeting amount of time, or admired forever? Ask yourself that while you’re getting a late morning snack, because your early morning snack’s memory wore off.) Also, be flexible with what you’re working on. Perhaps you’ve got a long WIP (like a novel) going on. Take a break and stretch your abilities with something shorter. A poem. An essay. A bit of flash fiction.

3. Be patient. I went to Costco early one morning during the “old people” shopping hour to get toilet paper for my daughter. (She’s no hoarder. She’s just finally down to her last roll and hasn’t been able to find it anywhere.) I got there 10 minutes after they opened. The line went along the short side of the building, then down the long front, then it snaked back along the long front to the door. Thankfully, I was able to snag a package after scratching the eyes out of a little hunchbacked 80 year-old without incident. It was worth the 40-minute wait. Getting my manuscript published? That will be worth it, too. I just have to be willing to play the waiting game, and take a few steps forward at a time getting there.

4. Smelling bad is alright. Reread #1 and #2. If I’m having too much fun lounging in pajamas and fantasizing about Benjamin Bratt while eating whatever isn’t duct-taped and nailed down, do you really think I have the drive to take a shower every day? Sometimes… well, sometimes it even becomes a three-day funk. Coming up with a rough draft that stinks is okay, too. If you’re having an online writing critique meeting with some friends, or you’re emailing something for some feedback, it’s perfectly acceptable for the first draft to suck. To smell badly. It may be stinky initially, but after some constructive criticism and some revision, it will smell as sweet as a freshly-shampooed head of hair.

Hopefully we’ll follow the advice of the medical profession instead of over-eager nonexperts, and hopefully we’ll feel safe to truly venture out sometime this summer. But until then?

Nothin’ but elastic, baby!

Sioux Roslawski tried to take a cute picture of just her "quaratine coiff" but it was too scary. Radar luxuriating in his dog bed will have to convey the level of laziness that Sioux's enjoying. If you'd like to read more of her stuff, until she gets off her rear end and builds a website, check out Sioux's Page.


Joanne said...

You and your writing are a treasure. Thanks for bringing a smile (and great metaphors) on this cloudy, rainy day (in Virginia).

Sioux Roslawski said...

Joanne--Could you build a publishing business tomorrow? Then you could publish my manuscript. No more queries!

Thanks. The writing accountability group you suggested is still going strong. Me? I'm AWOL right now, but have plans to rejoin (if they'll have me) soon.

It's hard to be quarantined when the weather is dreary. I'm sorry.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Sioux, step away from the snacks and get in the shower. Then you'll see it's not your manuscript that stinks, right? :-)

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux, I'm here to kick your butt and get you back to the BKs! We all post when we can and no one yells at one another for going AWOL here and there, LOL. You've made so much progress on your submission goal that I'm sure some of the others would love to hear about it, (twisting your arm).

And yes, I just told Daniel I'm tired of wearing nothing but workout clothes and I've utilized my streaming services WAY to much in the past month and a half. My family is about to rip the remote from my hands.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I like your way of thinking. Thanks.

Renee--I really think (and of course, it's me trying to rationalize) that my sluggishness is my attempt at healing. Or it could be my supreme procrastination (in looking for a job, in finishing up submitting, in cleaning up all those $%#@&*! gumballs in my backyard). Yes, I will come back, because I know I missed lots of wonderful news and funny posts, but I have nothing but rejection to share. :(

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux, your post made me laugh. Thank you!

I think anything goes right now and we shouldn't be hard on ourselves. I've been going out every day to feed a kitten who lives at a Super-8 Motel since last December. I've been working with cat rescue to try and trap her to get her shots and fixed, but then the pandemic started. I watched the motel get emptier and emptier until there were no guests. Then they got a contract to fill it with homeless people who were more susceptible to the virus. So it went from ghost town to party town USA. Lol. But they have nurses and paramedics there frequently. And a little over a month ago, the "kitten" ended up having kittens, and now we're trying to trap the kittens. I've been putting birth control in her food every night, but she's feral and won't let us touch her. Last week, two of my cat rescue coworkers tested positive, and sadly, one just passed away. My husband is getting tested next week.

I feel like my life has been busier work-wise since the pandemic started, and I know that's my way of coping with stress. Some people binge-watch or eat too much, and I do those things too, but I mostly throw myself into my work and combat stress with stress. I'm facing burn out, and still haven't had one day off since this whole thing started! I'm craving boredom so I can create. Creativity is a leisure pursuit. Writing is a practice. I've noticed some writers are killing it right now. I'm a bit jealous, but the essays that have come in about the pandemic are the best essays I've read in a long time.

What I've seen through all of this is people's generosity. The freebies and people pitching in to help businesses stay afloat during these times. Writers helping writers.

I hope you do pitch WOW, Sioux! I'm thinking you should interview an agent about all the trials and tribulations the publishing industry has been through recently; and in your intro, you can talk a bit about the issues you've experienced while pitching your ms, then ask the agent her thoughts on those issues in general, as well as how Covid has affected the publishing industry in terms of what types of manuscripts acquiring editors at Big 5 are accepting, etc. That would be a good one for our "Burning Question" issue. Either way, I'm proud of you for continuing to query agents. :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Angela--Sadly, I'm now your pinch-hitter slug. You can vicariously enjoy boredom and too much guilty-pleasure TV through me... and I will "enjoy" the added pounds and fat rolls.

I am so sorry about your cat rescue friend... and the cat... and of course, your husband will be in my thoughts. This is a really sucky time in so many ways.

(I did not know there is a birth control for felines. Wow! I'm impressed with your sneaky savviness.)

This is a time when patience and flexibility and humor is extra important. For those of us who are lucky enough to be able to emerge alive on the other side, hopefully we will be emerging as better people.

Linda O'Connell said...

You have a delightful way of bringing the writing life to the forefront of even a pandemic. Elastic is right!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Linda--Elastic rules!

Pat Wahler said...

For the record, the day after I retired, elastic became my best friend! :-)

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