Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 2020 IWSG: Stay in Your Shell

On a good day, my issues with anxiety, germs, etc. remind me of children playing hide-and-seek. They dart from shadowy corners to poke my nerves with sticky fingers, giggling all the while. Annoying, but manageable. 

Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, those same issues are tantrum-throwing hooligans, hopped up on sugar, bouncing on the bed like it’s a trampoline, laughing maniacally at the top of their lungs. 

So, I act like the mother I would've been if I had children (human children, not hard-shelled ones. Besides, the tortoises know better than to jump on the bed), and I ignore them. Head down, I write. 

Not too long ago, writing had become a struggle. Now, writing is saving me. My creepy tales are actually providing some light in my darkness. I focus on small projects like flash fiction – easier to hold the story in my head – and ones with upcoming deadlines to keep me on task. I'm considering a bigger project, keeping the attitude and the plan loose, seeing what develops. And I'm going to try some brainstorming sessions, get weird and wild on the page. 

I still have bad moments, bad days. My freak-outs are freakier than usual (just ask my poor husband!) But I'm doing what I can to hold it all together and right now, that's enough. 

All of us here at TSR are sending good thoughts and prayers your way. And, in the words of the tortoises (okay, so they say it with their eyes) – 

** Stay safe. Stay well. **
* Stay in your shell. *

*****

How are you all doing? Are you writing? What's one positive thing you can share, something you're grateful for? Not big picture like health, but on a smaller scale - a great book you read, an excellent movie you watched, a new recipe you tried, a night sky full of stars you don't normally look at - that kind of thing. 

*****

Join us!

72 comments:

  1. I'm cooking constantly these days. Some recipes turn out better than others:) Reading lots of books too. Stay safe out there!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,
    What you're doing sounds great! I am doing similar but different things and I am enjoying the stillness in my small village. It is heavenly.
    Wishing you all the best and stay safe.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...enjoying the stillness" and "heavenly" are such a wonderful ways to look at the experience! I'm going to try that and focus on how few cars I'm hearing in our neighborhood now.

      Delete
  3. I’m so happy writing helps you so much these days. It does me too. Good luck on your bigger project. I love flash fiction too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear writing is helping you, too, Astrid. Flash fiction is my go-to writing-wise, but I don't rule out anything bigger. You just never know. :)

      Delete
  4. Hi Madeline, its good that you are writing, it does help in keeping the anxiety at bay. Prayers for you. Be safe, be healthy. Do share the picture of your tortoises.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rachna. Wishing you good health and safety, too.

      The tortoises' pictures are on the sidebar. I'll have to update the photos one of these days.....

      Delete
    2. Saw the picture. I love tortoise, always wanted one as a pet, but sadly never got.

      Delete
  5. Just focus on your writing and your family and don't worry about the world.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a small wonder all of us aren't running in circles, pulling our hair until it hurts, and yelling, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" It feels that way at times, doesn't it? (Especially if you're a news junkie.) I'm really sorry your anxiety has amped up so much, but I'm glad writing has provided you with some much-needed pressure release. Hang in there, kiddo. This, too, shall pass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It feels like that sometimes and I'm not even a news junkie! :o

      Thanks, Susan - appreciate that. You hang in there, too.

      Delete
  7. You have so much self-awareness about your anxiety, and I'm sure that will help you keep it under control. I think a whole lot of us are going to walk out of this thing with a new level of anxiety over germies.

    Okay, something good...well, tonight I'm going to try out the Pizza Kit a local pizzeria has started offering---for $10, you get a ball of dough, sauce, cheese, and two toppings to make-a your own-a pizza pie. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so, Nicki. Fingers crossed....

      What a fun idea! I hope it's delicious!

      Delete
  8. The numbers are pretty low in my province and zero here in town. So we are good. Very good considering the rest of the world.

    I loved your saying. Words to live by at a time like this. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I can't take credit since it really came from the tortoises. :)

      Delete
  9. The best any of us can do is cope in our own way and take it one day at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Glad you are writing, and that it helps! It is funny—you’d think dark and horror-filled would make one more stressed (and I think it would, if I read it), but maybe writing it helps give those demons somewhere safe to go.

    Cooking is my small blessing right now. We had a little trouble making it home from a trip, and I’ve had 3 weeks of eating restaurant food (excellent stuff, but still...). I’m currently happy to be cooking, but not unhappy to have another cook (Second Son) coming into the house today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised, too, that my dark, creepy tales aren't making things worse/me more stressed, but maybe because it's a different kind of "dark", if that makes sense.

      Have fun cooking...and eating! :)

      Delete
  11. I've been singing a lot, praying a lot, and writing like wild in my journal. Plus, I started writing my fun, fluffy flash fiction chapter to novelette project so ... writing is a good distraction.
    Breathe, write, breathe again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you, Tyrean! Hmm, maybe I should try something "fluffy" although I have a feeling it wouldn't stay that way for long....

      Delete
  12. I've had some freakier freak-outs, too. (Sorry, significant other!) Hence the mountain of work I decided to take on. But we did some star gazing the other night, and he was super excited to be able to see Venus. That was nice.

    The tortoises are very wise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope focusing on all those projects is working for you, MJ. And fun on the stargazing!

      I will let the tortoises know you think so.

      Delete
  13. Glad your controlling those fear hooligans. One good thing...all six of our children calls us every day to make sure we're okay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, some days it feels like those hooligans have the run of things. Sigh.

      Delete
  14. Glad that you're able to use writing to help you get you through this difficult time.

    Since my kitty died, so many people have been so loving and supportive. My ex, who is still a friend and knew Samba the best out of all my friends, had a perspective which really helped, and left a surprise care package at my door. The little kindnesses are getting me through.

    Take care of yourself. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those little kindnesses really mean something, don't they? It's funny how something so small can have such a big impact on someone's day, their emotional health, etc.

      You take care, too.

      Delete
  15. Finding ways to keep us busy and focused is important right now. Stay strong. Stay safe out there! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. So something good as come from this isolation. You're writing! I wish it were working that way for me. For some reason, I've got nothing to put on the. page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, some days are better than others, but writing is definitely helping.

      Hang in there, and find what works for you, whether that's writing or something else.

      Delete
  17. I'm glad writing is saving you right now. <3

    Stay in your shell...I love that! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right about now, I really wish I had an actual shell to hide in!

      Delete
  18. Say hello to the tortoises for me! Writing really does help hold things together, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm so happy about your silver lining! Most excellent! I've been writing some dark poetry, which I find strangely satisfying. It's keeping my fingers on the keyboard, more or less.

    As for a positive share? I recently finished the book This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger. I could not put it down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So interesting about the dark poetry. I'm glad it's working for you!

      And books we can't put down are going to help get us through all of this.

      Delete
  20. We will get through this, Madeline. Staying in our shells is good advice, so thanks to your tortoises. I'm sorry that your anxiety has increased, but you are certainly not alone in that! This is a very difficult time. I'm glad that writing is saving you. I find big hugs from my husband especially comforting right now. Happy writing! Take care!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will, you're right. And I'm glad you're getting great comfort from your husband's hugs. :)

      Delete
  21. Glad you are finding that writing is saving you. I'm still working as a contract writer at home so it gives me structure in my days plus some income. Hope you stay safe and healthy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Routine and structure are helpful even in "normal" times. For me anyway. :)

      Same to you, Natalie!

      Delete
  22. That's great that you're writing! I'm just watching as many TV shows as I can. I'm hoping to get back into writing soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm watching TV, too. Mostly old sitcoms, which I find comforting. :)

      Delete
  23. We all have to have those freaking out moments. It's part of the coping mechanism. Get it all out and then move on until it all builds up again. :)
    Writing is one of the best therapies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Problem is, as someone who has anxiety even in "normal" times, it doesn't feel like it ever really goes away before it builds back up. But I'm trying! :)

      Delete
  24. It's great your writing works in these trying times. I'm attempting to write too, with intermittent success.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I like the idea of staying in your shell, it sounds good to me! I'm glad you're back at writing and that you're finding it helpful during this time. We need to do whatever we can to get us through this. Take care!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only I had an actual shell!

      You take care, too, Debbie.

      Delete
  26. I'm reading a book called Little by Edward Carey about the girl who would eventually become Madame Tussaud of the famed wax museum. It is fascinating and contains all these amazing drawings.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm writing comments, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry by hand!, washing floors, watching too much news, and painting rocks. I wish I could sleep and then have someone wake me up when this is over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I'll skip the washing floors, but I love the idea of painting rocks. :)

      Hang in there!

      Delete
  28. Hang in there. I've been doing a little more cooking, and when I order out, I usually have leftovers to get me into the next day, so I'm grateful for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you for doing more cooking! Leftovers are a good idea.

      Delete
  29. Flash fiction is the perfect way to keep one's sanity!

    Yes, the world has gone mad and everything is in limbo… neither here nor there… the global tailspin is crazy. Actually, it’s surreal. One of the bloggers used the word “discombobulated” and I had a good laugh. But she’s right. Just under a million virus infections within a month? Yes, discombobulated IS the word!
    Stay safe in your corner of the globe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sanity? What sanity? :)

      Yes on the discombobulated! That is exactly the feeling.

      You stay safe and well, too, Michelle!

      Delete
  30. I am so glad that writing is saving you! It really can be a salvation. Please stay well and safe "in your shell."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Writing really can help.

      You, too, Liza. Hang in there....

      Delete
  31. I'm reading, writing, and working on my websites and newsletters, which is really a normal routine for me. Nothing has changed much since mobility issue keep me mostly housebound.

    Others in the house all the time may get tricker as they all restless and want to go go go constantly, so far so good, but we still have the whole month to get through amdn the next.

    Glad to hear writing is helping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's similar for me in terms of day-to-day routine staying the same, for the most part anyway. It's the increased anxiety level that makes everything feel off course and in limbo.

      Take care, Juneta!

      Delete
  32. I'm so glad to hear that writing has been helping you, and that you've been able to do more of it. Though I'm good with staying in my shell, I've found that I've got a real-life version of those rowdy kids in my shell with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those rowdy kids IN the shell with you?! You are one good, patient woman, Loni. :)

      Hang in there!

      Delete
  33. So glad you're staying safe. Anxiety and fear can be overwhelming. Not watching the news helps. Glad you can write. That's sure to help, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Limiting my news intake definitely helps. And stories help, too - reading them, watching them, writing them. :)

      Delete
  34. I'm not as freaked out by covid, but I am still working, and in a hospital, so daily life hasn't changed much for me. I do look forward to my writing days. I'm an introvert, so I enjoy being home. I am reaching my limit on being cooped up, though. I want to be able to go shopping for some necessities, like new shoes for work. Hang in there. It'll get better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As an introvert, I enjoy being home, too. It's everything outside my home that jangles my nerves and fries my focus. :o

      Delete
  35. Like the tortoises, I like retreating into my shell and I feel like the lockdown is well suited to introverts - which so many writers are! I also think there's something about writing being a solace because it's something we can control, when there's so much going on outside we can't control - and I feel that's heightened now. I've been able to work on my WIP when last year was a block. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So great you've been working on that WiP, Nick! Lately, I'm finding my creativity is coming is spurts. I think I did a better job of blocking stuff earlier on and now I'm letting too much of the outside in. Where's a shell when you need it?!

      Delete