Tag: pandemic

Survival Tip #3: Stillness

I’m finding it very difficult to focus. No sooner do I sit down to do one thing that I jump up and have to do another. Partly, I suspect, this is due to anxiety. Its hard to relax when people around you are suffering. But partly it’s because there is a steady stream of things calling for my attention, and everything has become more time-consuming and difficult. Tonight I teach my first Novel Draft class of the semester, and I’m always particularly partial to new classes. I love meeting new students. I love hearing their stories. I love telling my stories, and the great thing about a new class is they haven’t heard them before. I’m sure the whole thing will go well, and yet I have this steady undercurrent of anxiety. I’m going to have 14 faces staring at me from a screen. How do I get them to know each other, and like each other? There was a book I wanted to show them, but I couldn’t go to the library. Usually I have lots of hand-outs, but I can’t get to a photocopier, so I’ve downloaded them and will share them on Zoom. But what if I […]

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Survival Tips: Joy

I’ve spent much of the last twelve months trying to survive. First it was a cancer diagnosis, then it was a fairly harrowing course of chemo. Now the pandemic. In the midst of all this, I managed to finish a novel, chair an important committee for the Mystery Writers of America, and keep teaching classes at Gotham Writers. Sometimes I find myself quivering with anxiety, but for the most part I’d say I’ve survived. So far. People are always asking me how I did it, and I wonder about that myself, though, as you can see from the large picture below, trees are part of the answer. My mother, who had a difficult life, used to tell me, when I asked her for survival tips, that she coped because she had no choice. You either coped or you died. (You can only imagine how cheerful our dinner conversations were.) But she was actually a very cheerful person and she took a lot of pleasure in small things. Every week we would go to Nathan’s and get one of those huge sodden baskets of French fries and a hot dog covered in relish in sauerkraut. So my survival tip number one […]

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