My original plan was to have a thankful post every day. Since Nanowrimo is also part of November, I decided to change the written posts to daily photos, showing something I’m thankful for. Before October ended and I realized I had no idea what I would be writing about for my Nano novel, I quickly revised my plan to something more manageable. My final plan is to divide the month into 5 equal parts and share six photos in each post depicting part of each day. And so, two days late (yikes, really?) here is my first six days of thankful, grateful, blessed.
I hope to be checking in more often, although when- I’m not sure! I’m already a few days behind for Nanowrimo but hopeful that I’ll make up the lost time by the end of this week.
My state is lifting all pandemic restrictions and fully opening. A new day is dawning.
And I’m not ready.
Since the countdown began to things returning to normal, I’ve struggled on and off with waves of anxiety at the thought. Although today is the “big day” I’ve already seen the shift . A larger percentage of people have ditched their masks. On social media, I see ‘friends’ celebrating with large gatherings, trips, and no safety measures.
And it’s freaking me out.
I am fully vaccinated. People are being asked to use the honor system. If a person is not vaccinated, he is being asked to do the right thing and wear a mask. Unless the person has a medical reason for not being vaccinated (and would still be wearing a mask if that was the case), I am trying to understand why someone would not get the vaccine – not only for their own safety but the safety of others. Then again, I cannot help jumping to conclusions and assuming that a person who would not wear a mask unvaccinated is probably in that same group of people who did not take the pandemic seriously. I know that I should give people the benefit of the doubt and I’m trying sooooooo hard!
Then there’s the matter of my grandsons, who are too young to be vaccinated. They are still at risk. They have to wear masks. In our family, even if we were so inclined to not wear a mask, if the boys are with us masks are required. Especially with six year old Beej, who will not hesitate to point out that it’s not safe to go without a mask. He has been a rock star throughout the pandemic- spending a good part of the year in the company of adults only and remaining safe in all areas- mask, social distancing and hand-washing- with no complaints. And I will continue to keep him safe until he is no longer at risk.
Things aren’t going to be normal. Each state has different guidelines. Businesses have the right to require masks and exercise safety measures. Although it feels like the world is opening up and everything will be ‘normal’ again, the truth is that even normal will be a new normal and it will take time to adjust to it. The reality is other parts of the world are experiencing surges and lockdowns. New variants of the virus seems to be popping up daily.
It’s too soon to toss the masks and pretend that the last 14 or 15 months never happened. It’s still here. It’s just different.
I won’t be ditching my mask. I will be cautiously dipping my toe into the new normal to test the waters. And as we move forward, regardless of where you might fall on the pandemic spectrum in terms of belief or opinion, I hope you will continue to practice patience and kindness.
Last week was Banned Books Week. To this day it amazes me how many books are challenged and the reasons why.
Some of the Challenged Books that I’ve Read:
I read the first seven books in high school. Analyzing these novels led to insightful, meaningful conversations and most of these books left lasting impressions on me. I admit that I only have the vaguest memories of a few
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
by Joseph Heller
by George Orwell
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey
by Kurt Vonnegut
The next two books I read as a young teenager. I have vivid memories of being in junior high and reading Forever aloud with my best friend while we waited for our ride after school. I’m sure my mother would have never allowed me to read the books if she had known the subject content. My poor kids weren’t as lucky as I was.
by Judy Blume
Go Ask Alice
The last titles on my list all came out when my kids were growing up or grown up. While I wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding the previous books and why they were challenged, as an adult I knew that there would be some who objected to list below. My own children read most of them and I wouldn’t have had a problem with them reading them.
by Stephenie Meyer
Harry Potter series
by J. K. Rowling
The Hunger Games series
by Suzanne Collins
Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
I cannot imagine a world without books that challenge us to think, re-think, explore, grow and learn. Isn’t that part of the joy of reading? To be taken to a place you’ve never been?
I’m doing a great job of ignoring the voice in my head that’s been screaming for months. What’s it saying? Ugh. I don’t even want to go there. But I’m the one bringing it up so I have no choice but to share it. “The only way to write is to write!!!” That’s what it says most of the time. But then lately it’s been interrupted by a louder, angrier voice yelling out in a booming voice that ricochets around my head- “COVER YOUR NOSE!!!” That annoying voice is my constant companion when I’m out in public. Luckily most of my face is covered by a mask so the only thing a person might see is my eyes expressing my displeasure at the voice…. and their nose being uncovered.
I’ve contemplated printing up flyers to hand to people or toss into their shopping carts politely showing them the correct way to wear their mask. I’ve considered writing in bold black sharpie “COVER YOUR F-ING NOSE” or “WEAR A MASK” on the back of my shopping list. My son, who sometimes accompanies me on these shopping trips, looks uneasy and almost anxious when I bring up my ideas. It might be the real reason he rarely comes with anymore.
But none of this has anything to do with my lack of motivation for writing. I have a bit to say but lately it’s more about the pandemic than anything else. I keep thinking that this is something I should be filling journals with and yet, I can’t write much at all.
I’m hoping this epic writer’s block hits the road soon. We are coming into the colder months and being cooped inside with my people and no motivation to write might get the best of me!!