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  • Writer's pictureLorraine Norwood

WORD BY WORD: Holding On By My Fingernails. How About You?

Updated: Jan 29

Another week of coronavirus. Sigh. How do you survive mentally and physically in the midst of a pandemic? What if you’re surrounded by dogs, cats, and children and you have to work from home? What if you and your partner are starting to get on each other’s nerves? What can you do?

Hey, don’t ask me—I’m holding on by my fingernails.

Can’t write. Too many distractions, too many worries.

Can’t read. Ditto the sentence above.

By nature I’m an anxious person, prone to catastrophizing, worrying about every little thing, seeing doom and gloom everywhere. But now that doom and gloom are here, as in Right Here, I ask myself, what can I do to survive this? I’ve come up with a couple of answers that might help. And I hope they help you, too.

Celebrate small victories. Did you take a shower today? Eat your breakfast? Woo hoo!

We can be of support wherever we can. One way is to shelter in place so nobody gives it to us and we don’t give it to anybody else. The teenagers are still gathering for basketball at the park because they think they’re invincible. We know better.

We can cheer on the ordinary people who are turning into heroes. These are the people help us through:

Like the older lady in the apartment across the street from me who has put out some Christmas tree lights.

Like the teachers from my granddaughter’s school who held an impromptu car parade for children in the neighborhood. The teachers held out signs saying “we love you and miss you” for the kids who were waving from their yards.

Like the neighbors putting stuffed bears in the windows so little children can “hunt for bears” on their walks. Some folks are putting out bears and Easter candy.

Like the Internet guys taking video of themselves doing crazy stunts so they can stay active and cure cabin fever. How about the guy in Switzerland doing parkour in his apartment (oops, a big wine stain on the couch)? Or the sportscaster doing a play-by-play of his Labradors eating their kibble? Can you imagine sheltering in place WITHOUT the Internet or TV or ebooks?

Speaking of that, I’ve found some Internet sites that may offer a moment of calm or a laugh or a way to move your body or intellectual stimulation. (Many thanks to Author Accelerator writers for their recommendations.) I’ll send some other good sites in the next post.

Take a peek at lots of animals, birds, and other creatures.

Want to do archaeology without getting your hands dirty? Try Virtual DigVentures 2020.

This is a way to help authors whose tours and events have been cancelled. They’ve worked for years on their books, set up book signings, trips across the U.S. to speak at libraries, etc., only to have their book launch cancelled. They’re devastated. It’s not the money, it’s the years of work. And another thing – order through your local indie bookshop.

Modern Mrs. Darcy to the rescue, sign up for virtual book events! Check out the schedule on the website and sign up because attendance is limited.

I have writer friends who swear by this site.

Relaxing and beautiful.

And finally we can send messages, good wishes, homemade masks, or whatever you can think of to the first responders, doctors, nurses, and other health support staff who are in the midst of this awful nightmare. A nurse in my hometown recently made a video plea for all people to stay at home. She is terrified of the expected tidal wave of patients that will come in two weeks. She knows they don’t have enough equipment. Her eyes fill with tears and her voice is shaking and yet she promises she will be there, in the midst of the fight, to take care of the sick.

To me, this young woman is the epitome of courage. I want to hug her but I can’t, so I’ll send her an electronic message. Not the same, but it’s the best we can do for now.

I am not a religious person but I was very moved by this prayer written by a local rabbi:

“May the One who blessed our ancestors

Bless all those who put themselves at risk to care for the sick

Who navigate the unfolding dangers of the world each day,

To tend to those they have sworn to help.

Bless them in their coming home and bless them in their going out.

Ease their fear. Sustain them.

Source of all breath, healer of all beings,

Protect them and restore their hope.

Strengthen them, that they may bring strength; Keep them in health, that they may bring healing. Help them know again a time when they can breathe without fear.

Bless the sacred work of their hands. May this plague pass from among us, speedily and in our days! Amen.”

Until the next post, please keep yourselves safe and well.

Much Love, Lorraine

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