I’ve returned to my writer’s notebook during this time of distance learning and COVID-19. It provides me with a calm space to think and write and be. It’s also a nice way to get away from all the screen time.
One notebook strategy I remembered from years ago, was to paste a photograph into your notebook, and write off of it. First write about what you see, and then write about what you don’t see. Maybe it was something that happened just before the photo was taken, or immediately after, or something that you know that just isn’t captured in the picture. I decided I would try this strategy over the weekend.
I started scrolling through my photos from the last five weeks, trying to select one to put into my notebook. There are lots and lots of photos. Most of them are of our family of four (as these are pretty much the only people I’ve seen for the past 5 weeks unless I was on Meet or Zoom). There are pictures of wonderful dinners created by our daughters, walks with the dog along the shore or on beautiful trails. There are pictures of us playing pool on Morgan’s miniature pool table and taking dance lessons or yoga classes. There are pictures of the four of us playing games or putting together puzzles or completing the New York Times crossword puzzle. There are a few shots of the fire glowing in the fireplace.
What would someone think if they looked at these photos of March and April, 2020? Would there be any sense that the world around us is falling prey to an aggressive virus? Would anyone imagine the many thousands who have died and continue to die as this virus rages on? Would anyone envision hospitals filled with patients on ventilators? Would anyone see a world that has changed fundamentally and may never return to what it once was?
My photos reflect the cocoon I have spun. I’m afraid to emerge. I’m not sure there is a butterfly on the other side.