Tag Archives: writing

Snow Day January 2022 & an Addendum for March 2022.

Indira Ganesan, Blue and Yellow Skies, 2022

It is January. My cat Izzie is under the bed. We lost power this morning at 7am, and the power company says it will be restored by 7pm. It is 4:30, and already so much has happened. We are experiencing a Nor’easter, and “bombgenesis” cyclone, a perfect storm that is creating a blizzard with 80 mph winds. Luckily, it is only the power that is out, and the apartment is still standing.

Neighbors arrived bearing soup, and another neighbor arrived, bringing hand warmers, and also her dogs. My two cats were startled, and the two dogs were excited, and after a while, it was decided the dogs would go home, but everyone else would stay for soup. I had been to a market earlier in the week, and had brought back focaccia and fried zucchini. I added that to the tomato soup, with some rasam powder seasoning, and we ate happily.

But it proved too much excitement for Izzie. While her mother hid under the chair, and some of the neighbors left, I made tea. Izzie snuck upstairs, and letting out a cry of anguish, peed on the bed. Now, luckily, because Izzie had been sick, and had lately taken to soiling my bed, I had taken the precaution of covering my bed with a shower curtain. She had been doing very well, but the combination of cold, blizzard, wind, strangers and dogs must have pushed over, and there I was, swabbing away with paper towels. I bundled everything up—nothing had seeped!— and took everything to the trash outside to toss.

That was when the blizzard wind got a hold of, tearing everything out of my arms. Without a coat, I plunged into the falling snow , managed to retrieve everything, get it all in the trash, and came back inside. I washed up, changed my wet clothes, after saying goodbye to my remaining stalwart neighbor.

I lit a candle ( the power was still out) plugged my phone into my laptop to charge it, and took up my book, Tears of the Giraffe, book two in the No. 1 Ladies Detective agency series. I had reached a part that concerned some treachery contemplated to break up the happiness of the heroine, a woman who had completely entered my heart. I did not want anything bad to happen to her. I turned to the last pages of the book , to see if I could glean the way the plot might go, but feeling guilty, returned to my place in the book.

So I began to write up this day, to forstall returning to the book, even as the light outside is fading.

I hope the lights return. I hope my cat gets better. I really hope my heroine isn’t in too much danger.

And here it is, more than a month later. It is March. Izzie got better, and her litter box manners have transformed back to old routine. The book was satisfying in its plot twists. But the biggest plot twist was to arrive. Before the month expired, a crushing war ensued. Everything else was pushed aside.

Now I read the papers three or four times a day online. We are day eighteen into a nightmare. I try to imagine what it must be like to live in a suburb, walk to the shops to get a paper, bread, tea, and have everything destroyed in an instant. To witness falling mortar, hospitals shelled, children killed, women and men killed. I think of surban NJ, of towns I have lived in all over the States, the little shops, the green parks.

Today, my heater stopped working, and a neighbor helped me start it again. Others helped me get the gas company to visit on a Sunday. I went to the radio station and found the entryway frozen, and had to wait for a friend to bring a key. I tried to go to a concert in the afternoon, but got the date mixed up. Instead, I filled my car with gas for fifty dollars, and drove home. I made dinner, and Izzie began to knead her paws onto the throw. I realize with an accute clarity how lucky I am to be here, and how fragile our luck is.

May peace prevail, and prevail quickly.

Places to donnate:




At Home

I was struck by an offhand comment I overheard the other day. Well, said the speaker, I’d love to sit at home all day and write, but I have to go to work. And it seemed that this is a key bit of misunderstanding in how a society sees writers. Unlike artists, writers hardly ever have much to show for our process. There is not a stack of canvases to display, or sounds and smells emitting from a studio of cans of paint and brushstrokes. In the old days, the clatter of keys was the sound of a writer writing, or the scratch scratch of pen on paper, but one doesn’t usually display drafts of underlined manuscript, nubs of pencils. In fact, very few of us sit up all night feverishly writing a novel, with a break to eat an apple, swadled in crazily patterned yet terribly chic knitted things, the way Jo did in the recent film of Little Women. Usually, a writer wakes, attends to the task at hand, and emerges a bit sleepy and disheveled to check the mail. One doesn’t make chitchat because the conversations are arranging themselves inside. So I imagine what a person who might write at home looks like is a person not working at all.

Of course, writing is work, and not often pleasurable. It’s work. Creating is fun, but weighing each word and aligning it with another, revising a paragraph, and re-typing an entire chapter only to throw it away, is most definately not fun. But then come those moments, when the world around you seems to fall away, and something clicks, and feels write, I mean right and all is impossibly good.

Not to say there aren’t The Distractions working at home. There is the time spent on social media until one flinches back and shuts it down. There is the time spent reading the news, doing laundry, sweeping the floor. There might be the nap following reading whatever book one is buried in at the moment. I start in the morning, and stop after four hours. I make my favorite lunch ( grilled cheese) and attend to correspondence. And at dinner time, if I am really into my work, I watch the blandest tv possible with dinner, and head to bed. Months or years later, a book emerges. So while it may not look like work, it is. And that work accompanies you to every market trip, every Cafè stop, every dinner party. There is a need for tremendous head-space to create anything, and there is a certain disconnect from the world of 9-5. The work is invisible, but it’s going on, all the time.