Showing posts from March, 2020

WTF WFH: N M Browne

Staring into my screen in hope rather than expectation.  I suppose I should write something funny about working in isolation. To be honest I have been ill for most of it so far – not desperately-not-breathing ill, more fall- asleep-in-the-afternoon- blancmange- brain kind of ill, which has been almost restful.   Of course I’ve worked at home for years and, although I like going out as much as the next person and probably more than many, I have no problem with the weird world of home working. I feel a bit ashamed that I’ve never learned a language, become amazing at yoga or found out how to cook sixty tasty things with pasta and tinned beans, instead I’ve just quietly been battling my own inertia for years.   My top tip for home working? Chill. Don’t worry about it. The world does not end if you are still working in your pjs at lunchtime. I’ve always regarded the relaxed sartorial standards of home working as one of its greatest perks. If I’m not in pjs then I never

The Isolated Writer - Andrew Crofts

At the time of writing this, “isolation” is gradually morphing from “voluntary” to “compulsory” around the world because the human race is under attack from a clever new virus.  It has set me thinking about the whole business of being a loner in life. Like many people who choose to write for a living, I have always been a solitary soul, a watcher of life rather than an active participant. If I hadn’t had the good fortune to marry someone gregarious and have a great many children I would probably be living up a mountain in a cave by now, (that’s the romantic version, I would more likely have spent my life locked in a bedsit in Brighton, eating ready-made soup amongst stacks of old newspapers).  Maybe it stems from being an only child who was very much left to his own devices most of the time, (always good to make the parents responsible for everything that isn’t quite as glitteringly wonderful about one’s personality as one would like), or maybe I’m just a sociopat

Home-quarantine: Through the Eyes of a seven-year-old

When she went to her weekly ballet class on Saturday, 14 th March, Srishti had no idea that her normal school routine was about to change drastically. On Saturday, 15 th March, the West Bengal State Government declared suspension of all classes and exams in all educational institutions of the state till 31 st March – to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I broke the news to Srishti only on Sunday night. She gave me a quizzical look… but thankfully was very sleepy and didn’t proceed to ask any question. Just a day later, the suspension was extended to 15 th April. The whole of that week, her international school & the private undergraduate college where I teach, like all other educational institutions, were frantically trying to re-adjust to the new reality – working out the modalities of conducting online classes and working/learning from home. I was caught up in it both as parent and teacher, wondering whether this session/semester can get back on normal track at all

A Noisy Ghost Story -- by Susan Price

Tuning pipes When I was a child, my parents had a family friend who was, in Fast Show parlance, a little bit whoo, a little bit wha-hey. He came by things. He wheeled, he dealed, he knew people. But however whoo and wha-hey he was with other people (I really don't know the details) he was great to us. (And I loved his dogs as I wasn't allowed to have a dog.) Me and my siblings were always in need of drawing paper and the friend would turn up unexpectedly with boxes of pencils, enormous rolls of paper and once, two big rolls of shiny metallic foil, one gold and one silver. On another occasion, he handed a cavalry sword to my brother, albeit a broken, rusty one. He was a picker-up of unconsidered trifles. When I won the Children's Literary Prize, I came home from school on a Friday afternoon, with a cheque for fifty whole pounds. (Note: this was in the early 70s. Banks closed at 3pm and didn't open at weekends.) By lucky chance, our friend rolled in that same ev

Words Matter - Jo Carroll

We live in apocalyptic times. I've not read much dystopian fiction - The Day of the Triffids was enough for me - so I'd be interested to know if the current runaway virus and the panic it has engendered is accurately reflected in fiction. For one thing that has struck me in recent days (distracted me, if I'm honest) is how words that have such momentous consequences for us all are thrown around now without a second thought. For instance: Social distancing : this, we are told, means we have to stay about two metres away from anyone else. Unpicked, it means no hug for the friends you bump into in the street. No sharing a cake. No sharing books unless you both do the ritual handwashing thing first. But - does it mean we shouldn't hug our children? Can we cuddle up to our partners on the sofa? (In theory, I've heard - no. We must all sit in separate chairs; couples should sleep in separate beds. As if every house has enough chairs and a spare bed lying around

Splendid Isolation by @EdenBaylee

“Splendid Isolation,” a song written by Warren Zevon is about the difference between being alone and being lonely. I’ve featured it on the Music Monday segment of my blog today. Being alone is spending time with oneself; being lonely is a state of mind. Though the two are distinctly different, we can slip in and out between them. Many of us have probably done just that, more so this past week than any other time. Life with the COVID-19 pandemic has meant self-imposed isolation for us here in Canada. Like most countries, we are asked to “social distance” and to isolate ourselves physically from others for fear of spreading the virus.   I believe it’s the right thing to do, and whether you are living on your own or with others, you must reconcile how to do this.   Social distancing is a misnomer, really, as we’re not being asked to socially cut ourselves off from others. A more accurate description would be physical distancing. As writers, many of us are used to a