Tag Archives: #writnglife
Many of my writer friends posted blogs this past week of their thoughts as the pandemic came to the end of its first year. This, of course, had me evaluating my own thoughts and actions during this unprecedented time in our lives. I can say this with absolute clarity and truth: I am not the same person I was 365 days ago.
Not even close.
Prior to March 2020, I would have defined myself as a happy hermit. Since I write/work from home and the majority of my friends and my husband still work full time out of the home, I spent every day alone for up to 13 -15 hours.
Let me be clear – I didn’t mind this. It made me extremely productive as a writer, proven by 25 books in 5 years. I had a daily routine that included going to the gym or hopping on the treadmill for some exercise, a little light housekeeping, and then I’d settled down for 8-10 hours of writing until I needed to decide what to make for dinner. Every now and then hubby and I would go out to eat on the weekends for a treat, and we’d see our friends when everyone’s schedule aligned. I visited my daughter in another state often, and she came home here when her work schedule permitted.
I was happy with this life. Really happy.
Once a week I took my 80+ year old parents food shopping because they don’t drive and live two bus routes from the nearest grocery store.
Then, I heard about what was happening with nursing homes in Washington State and about this deathly “flu” like condition, novel coronavirus 19.
I can in no way predict the future, but as an old nurse who’s studied and loved public health history, I knew something big was going to happen if this situation wasn’t capped immediately.
I don’t need to reiterate that didn’t happen. I’m still trying to come to grips with the incompetency of the previous person in charge of this country.
What I will say is, that seeing the handwriting on the wall and knowing how fast people can get sick, I immediately told my parents I would start shopping for them so that they could stay home and out of harm’s way until this situation was over.
A year later they still have not gone out to a grocery store, the doctor’s office, or anywhere else public. I am the only person they’ve seen and interacted with in over 12 months.
Put yourself in their position. You’ve seen no other human being to interact with, say hello to, or simply smile at, for an entire year. The only way they know what is going on in the world is through their television news. They don’t have cell phones. They don’t have a computer. I have noticed a decided decline in their mental status this year, that I have tried valiantly to allay. I’ve brought them books to read, magazines, encouraged them to write letters to people, anything and everything I could do to help their cognition stay active. But I’ve seen them grow more anxious, forgetful, and even begin bickering with one another over the stupidest of things. This is all a direct result of human interaction deprivation.
When the official word came down and we shut down ( as much as we could) as a country, I thought, no big deal for me. I’m used to being in the house.
There’s a real difference between electing to be a hermit and being forced to be one. Prior to quarantine, I could run to Target for a few minutes if I needed something. I could grocery shop at any time of the day and find everything I needed on my list. I went to the gym. I went to the post office. I lived my life in segments of hermit-dom. When I needed fresh air and human contact I sought it out. And I found it.
Once I was commanded/forced/encouraged not to leave the house, I realized what truly being a hermit was.
Isolation. Complete and total isolation.
Suddenly my hermit-like life wasn’t as fun as it had been. My writing suffered, that is for certain. There were days when trying to type a coherent sentence was a monumental task. In 2020 I had 4 new works published either traditionally or independently. While that isn’t horrible – many writers had nothing new come out – every word I wrote was a struggle, something I’d never experienced before and which I can lay directly at my mounting anxiety’s door. With uncertainty surrounding me/the world due to the raging numbers of infections and deaths, my anxiety and nerves skyrocketed and I know, internally, my brain was wondering “why are you even doing this (writing?). You don’t even know if you’ll be alive if you get infected.”
Heady thoughts and the stuff of nightmares – awake and sleeping.
Schools went into quarantine, parents were forced to work from home, and kids were forced to learn remotely, not see their friends. Not learn how to socialize, how to sit still, how to ask for help. I can’t imagine the mental health issues that will be coming to the surface once we got back to a semblance of school-normal for these kids. And think of the children who were going to school for the first time when this pandemic hit. They have never known a schoolroom that isn’t virtual. They don’t know how to raise their hands to ask a question, wait their turn to speak, how to sit still in their seats for a lesson.
Women have had to leave their jobs because they need to stay home with their school-less kids. The social inequity of that alone has rolled female empowerment back decades. Imagine the mental health issues these folks will have/are having. I know one shouldn’t derive their self-worth from their occupation but from the person they are, but let’s be honest: most people categorize their worth by their job title. When your title is taken from you, or worse, you have to abandon it in order to be able to care for your family, that has to weigh heavy on the psyche. In fact, I’m certain it does.
When this pandemic is over and done with, which it will be eventually, and the world turns right side up again, I’m truly worried about the mental health toll all the isolation, quarantining, social dis-interaction will have taken on people. Adults, children, seniors. No one has been left out of this equation. The world will be a completely different place once the virus is contained. People have changed.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I am not the same person I was 365 days ago. I’m more anxious about the future, something I’ve never been before. I’m worried about the health ( mental and physical ) of my aging parents. I’m worried about my daughter’s future and the future of the children she will have. I’m concerned I can go back to the care-free hermit-like ways I used to have without worrying that I am doing myself mental harm by not being around people. I worry if our children will ever be able to live in innocence again, and not be bombarded with mask mandates, hand washing instructions ad nauseum, and fear that they will die.
So yes, these 365 days are not ones I will remember with undiluted pleasure ( to quote Queen Elizabeth).
A few bright spots I can share, though, are that my husband is fully vaccinated since he is an essential worker, and my parents have received their first injections, with appointments to get the second dose later this month. Since I have no comorbidities and am 60, I will have to wait a while to get my vaccine. But I will be getting it, make no mistake about that. In a year where I had no control over anything that happened to me, around me, or with my loved ones, getting vaccinated is the one, singular, empowering thing I can do to ensure the next 365 days are better than the past ones have been.
Stay healthy, my friends. And when you can, hug the living daylights out of the people you love; tell them you love them – often. Get out – take a walk, say hello to people you see on the street that you don’t even know. You have no idea if they are hurting for interaction and human contact as much as you are. I would bet cash-money they are.
Smile. Take a breath of fresh air. Enjoy being outside again. Be cautious but try not to be fearful.
I’ll see you all on the other side of this pandemic.
This is always one of my favorite writing prompts – FAVORITE BOOK OR MOVIE QUOTES ( and why!)
I’m gonna do both. Books, first
From NEW YORK TO DALLAS by J.D.Robb.
“Want to finish, give my report. Is my face messed up? I hate when that happens. Not like I’m pretty or anything, but–”
“You are the most beautiful woman ever born,” Roarke said from the doorway.
“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
“I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t do anything but think about him. At night I dream of him, all day I wait to see him, and when I do see him my heart turns over and I think I will faint with desire.”
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
“Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.”
In Memoriam A.H.H. by Alfred Lord Tennyson
And now the movies
“After all… I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” Anna Scott, Notting Hill (1999)
“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind (1939)
“You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love… I love… I love you.” Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice (2005)
“Do, or do not. There is no “try”.
“Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.”
“Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”
“When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.”
“Get off my plane!” Air Force One, the President
Okay, those are mine. Let’s see what some of the other authors in this challenge have to say: L&SR
And remember, if you’re looking for me, I’m usually here:
For a complete listing of my books, you can search here: Peggy Jaeger, Author
The weirdest thing I learned reading fiction is today’s topic.
Hmmm…..this one requires real thinking on my part- something I’m not known for ( hee hee)
Okay, in THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES I learned all about making honey, bee anatomy, and just how precious bees are to our environment and food supply.
Other than that I can’t think of anything WEIRD I’ve learned reading a book.
Now doing research for a book is different. For my own book, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, I learned that cows have 4 stomachs, I learned a horse has a gestation period of 11-12 months, and that emotional abuse can take many forms.
Let’s see what some of the other authors in this challenge have learned – and I can bet it’s way more than I have!! L&SR
Until next time ~ peg
No, Hell hasn’t frozen over yet, although with all the climate change problems, that may become a reality sooner than expected.
I’m joining the Indie ranks of publishing!
You may be wondering why I finally joined the bandwagon of Indie authors after resisting for so long. It’s a valid question, especially since I vowed I’d never go that route because the learning curve is more than my mind can fathom! Indie authors are amazing to me because there is so much they need to know and do to get a book into print. Plus, the money it requires to do so.
When Limitless Publishing accepted DIRTY DAMSELS (DotComGirls book 1) for publication, I already had book two, Helpful Hunks, written. When I submitted it, the publisher decided not to contract any more books in the series for monetary reasons. I get that. Publishing is a business and publishers are grappling day to day to compete with the growing hoard of self-published books. Investing money when they don’t think they are going to see a return is just poor business sense.
I already had the second book written and the third plotted. When Limitless informed me I could either publish the book on my own or take it to another publisher, I didn’t want to wait another year or so and countless emails, revisions, etc. going the traditional route would have needed. I wanted to get the book out a.s.a.p. The answer, really, was the only one that made sense to me: self-pub it.
So, a title change from Helpful Hunks to IT’S A TRUST THING, countless hours learning how to get it published, and lots of sweat, money, and sleepless nights, and here we are. The book will be released on 11.1.19 and the preorder link is live. The book will only be available in Kindle and KU, only. I simply didn’t have the brain power left to figure out the rest of the online venues (Heehee).
Any mistakes in the manuscript, be they spelling or tense, or anything else you can find, are strictly on me. This was an experiment from beginning to end just to see if I could do it.
Thanks for reading, thanks for reviewing, and the only thing I ask is that you be kind. Remember, to authors, their words are like their children. When you bash them, it truly is like bashing their kids.
Until next time ~ Peg
Looking for me? I’m usually here:
I missed posting this last week because of my inability to type yet, status post rotator cuff and torn bicep repair.
Thank you, Jesus, I’m able to type a little now.
This is a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from book2 in my DotComGirls romance series. There’s a good chance I might be self pubbing this in the near future if no one in the industry wants to to that for me (heehee)
Anyway, Heroine is Nell Newbery, hero is Charlie Churchill and this scene is a little banter between them I kinda like.
My ride had arrived during the time we were being questioned and hadn’t stuck around.
I ordered another one.
“Two minutes out,” I said. “He’s around the corner.”
“I’ll wait with you,” Charlie said.
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to.”
I nodded and readjusted my briefcase strap around my shoulder and sucked on the inside of my cheek.
He grinned down at me. “You first.”
“I just want to say…thanks. For everything, from helping me when I fell, to when I banged my chin, and for the burger.” I shook my head. “I feel like I’ve had a black raincloud following me around this entire day and I sucked you into my own personal squall.”
“I’m British,” he said, a bemused expression on his face. “I’m used to the rain.”
“I don’t care about storms, Nell,” he added. “I always have an umbrella stored in my briefcase as a precaution.”
“I bet you were a boy scout.”
It was his turn to laugh. “Something equivalent, anyway. Listen.” He took my hand in his and my nerves instantly ebbed away. “I enjoyed spending time with you this evening and I’d like to do it again.”
“Why do you sound shocked?”
I lifted a shoulder and pulled a corner of my mouth between my teeth. “Raincloud, remember? Plus—”
When I didn’t continue he squeezed my hand. “Did you not have a good time?”
“No. I mean, yes I did, not no, I didn’t. I did. It was fun.”
Lord, when did I turn into such a babbler?
He grinned down at me.
“It’s just, well…I don’t date much.”
“Neither do I.”
My head slammed back up. “I find that hard to believe. I caught some of the looks those women tossed you when they were leaving my lecture tonight.”
“I don’t date students. Ever. That’s a line that never gets crossed. Not by me.”
“Oh. Well.” I swallowed. “I’m sure you know other women who aren’t students.”
He nodded. “None of them, unfortunately, know Dr. Strange isn’t a rapper or confuse Stan Lee with a famous martial artist from the sixties.”
My pulse rate jumped a half dozen beats when he tossed me a cheeky grin, laughter in his eyes.
“I do have some talents,” I said.
He lifted his chin to something behind me. “I think this is your ride.”
With his hand still wrapped around mine, he walked me to the curb. Habit had me checking the license with the one I’d been texted.
He opened the passenger door for me and I got in.
“You never answered me,” he said when I was seated. “Would you like to do this again?”
I’d lived my entire adult life taking chances in my professional life but shying away from them in my personal one. The reasons to avoid becoming involved were valid ones, in my mind, and they’d served me well.
But there was something so different about this man, something that wanted me to finally give in and take a chance that he wouldn’t be like all the other men I’d gotten close to. He wouldn’t use me to his own end purpose; he wouldn’t betray me; he wouldn’t lie to me about who and what he was.
And dammit, I deserved to have some fun in my life.
All this ran through my head as he stood, patiently waiting for my answer.
It really didn’t take much effort on my part to make a decision. With a half grin and my gaze staying zeroed in on his, I reached into my briefcase and pulled out one of my business cards. While the driver waited, I wrote my private cell number on the back of it. There were only five people on the planet who had this number.
Now, Charlie did as well.
As I handed it to him, I cocked my head and said, “Maybe next time we can get through an evening without me needing first aid or being mugged.”
His jaw wide smile made my stomach muscles flutter. He leaned in, gave me a quick peck on the cheek and said, “Where would the fun be in that?”
Intrigued? Stay tuned for my decision on self pub or traditional.
Until next time ~ Peg