I generally write mostly outside of my home, apart from early morning sessions in a home writing space, that is.
I have routinely written on planes, in airline lounges, in coffee shops around the nation and world and more…my life rhythm generally drove my writing rhythm and productivity.
COVID-19 and the associated coronavirus pandemic has literally grounded me and through my own “process and proceed” reflections I have also been grounding myself in this time and space figuratively.
Initially, I grounded myself in the continuation of my writing practice through “forcing” myself to write more at home in my “morning space”, but my mind struggled to convert this treasured space to an everyday and “all-day space” for writing. So, after urgent deadlines were filled and no longer served as the motivation to “stick and stay” in my home writing space, I tried relocating to other places in my home—with variable and limited success.
This only served as a short-term solution.
As spring has slowly emerged in mid-Michigan, I have found a new seasonal solution…finding deserted spaces with a bench—even just a large stone or clearing will do—to write in nature. A self-made tea or coffee in hand, I’m finding inspiration, new words, and new motivations in these sacred spaces among the songs of birds, comfort of a gentle breeze, and gratefully receiving gifts of oxygen and occasionally shade of the plants surrounding me.
My “writing space” and time are different, as dictated by a different time and different challenges in the face of COVID-19.
Whereas I can no longer be “alone together” to write in public spaces surrounded by the energy and sounds of other humans that I treasure in places such as cafes, in nature I’m able to be “alone together” with other beings, including my plant and bird kin.
Today, between writing bursts, I listened to the birds in their song-based conversations. I listened to the trees “speak” through the rustling of branches and emerging leaves. I didn’t capture all that they were saying to each other and perhaps to me; yet, I listened intensely in hopes of capturing some seed of wisdom, of kinship, of shared understanding of our changing world.
Just as I have had to learn to “be different” in this time, I will likewise have to be different after, because the world itself undoubtedly will be different.
At least I am learning more about the flexibility I can—and must—demonstrate by providing avenues and searching out spaces for being with other beings to facilitate continuing my work—my conversations with the world.
We will all have to emerge from this pandemic different. I have specific hopes about the ways in which we will be different.
May we be with each other differently.
May we be with other beings differently.
May we truly emerge different and better.
May we emerge more thoughtful, more aware, more humble, more “grace-full”, more “grace-giving”.
I’d love to hear more about the ways you are processing and proceeding in this unique moment in time. You can find me as always on Twitter—@BerondaM.