September 20, 2020
What do you do to fill your free time during this pandemic? In the past, I enjoyed meeting friends to chat and talk about our writing. I enjoyed getting together with my sister and niece for lunch in a restaurant in the Atlanta area. I used to enjoy the beautiful drive up to Sylva, NC and a visit to City Lights Books, the best and one of the few independent bookstores left in western North Carolina.
Before the pandemic I met with other writers at the Moss Memorial Library once a month for Coffee with the Poets and Writers. We gathered around tables where one of our local writers or poets read some of their original work. After, we opened the floor for others who want to share a poem or two or a short prose piece. I began this event for our writers back in 2007, and it has become a favorite with our members. The local community is invited. Refreshments are included and announcements of future writing events are offered. I miss this group.
But there are positives about being stuck at home all the time. Less stress from deadlines, too many appointments, too many hours working instead of playing.
I find that I like waking up each day and realizing I have no pressure to be some place or do something before the day is over. My time is my own to watch a movie or Heartland, this wonderful Canadian series on Netflix that takes me completely away from the uncertainty and frustrations of the world of today.
More and more I seek programs on television about ordinary people dealing with everyday problems. No murder, no gore. No bad guys terrorizing girls, no rapes and sexual abuse of women. Today’s modern television and movies are filled with violence. It symbolizes our mean culture, which has developed in the past couple of decades.
There was a time when the top-rated television shows were multigenerational shows. The Waltons, The Andy Griffith Show and other similar shows kept everyone enthralled for years. Today, people are flocking to those old shows. But it soon became the norm for crime shows every night. People were killed and in our living rooms, we witnessed close-ups of the blood running out of their mouths and noses or the beatings where we saw the damage to the victim’s face and body. It seems the movie makers and producers of television shows are only happy when the audience feels they are in the scene seeing the gory mess and pain on the screen.
I have never understood anyone wanting to see women being terrified by knife-wielding thugs or mentally ill men. Horror movies serve no purpose as far as I can see. Life has enough difficulties without manufacturing things to frighten and disturb me.
I find myself listening to Celtic Thunder CDs and watching shows made in Australia and Canada or England. Shows about relationships, characters I can relate to.
What is happening in my own country today is upsetting and depressing. I just want to escape the anger, the lies, and the violence I see on screens. I know things will get better, and I am looking forward to next year.
I read books meant to make sense of it all. I escape into historical novels or memoirs. I visit my sister and her husband to have intelligent conversations with people I admire and love, people who are not mean-spirited, who don’t judge others just because they are different from them, who are good and want good for all of us in this world. The only safe house I feel I can visit is their home in Roswell, GA.
|Stu and Gay at the Old Oak Tavern where we had lunch outside.|
Never in my life would I have thought that, at my age, I had to become isolated from people. I am glad I am not bored although I feel lonely at times, missing my dear Barry. But I have lots of projects I want to complete, so I can always work on them.
During these months I discovered people I can learn from, people I admire. I found them on podcasts. I listen to podcasts regarding health matters, and some that are funny like Trevor Noah who speaks with humor about our chaotic political situation. I listen to The Creative Penn for Writers, Unlocking Us with Brene Brown, Hidden Brain, Fresh Air, Meaningful Conversations, Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda. Alda’s theme is communication, the lack of which is a major problem with our culture. People do not listen. They are only waiting for the other to shut up so they can speak. So much communication today is filled with anger and name-calling, dishonesty and fear. So sad to me.
But I am speaking of the positives in my life right now. I have blogger friends in states far away from me as well as in other countries. I have met relatives I did not know through my genealogy research. Because of the NC Writers’ Network, I know wonderful writers and fantastic poets from all over the state of North Carolina and in other states as well. I am more fortunate than many widows and women who are alone at this time, and I am grateful. Acceptance and adapting are my words for now.
Thank you, my readers and friends, for stopping here. I love to read your comments.
How do you fill your free hours these days?