Current Mood(s)

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Yeah…that 1962 photo about sums it up.

Like all of us, I’m a jumble of thoughts, feelings, and emotions these days. My mood is directly proportional to how much news I watch, so I’m careful about that. I want to stay informed but not whipped into a mental frenzy. Some nights I sleep great. Other nights I’m the one in this Roz Chast postcard…

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Just substitute “Covid-19” for “Ebola”

My shoulder is healing well—despite the fact that I have to be my own physical therapist for the time being. I’m out of the sling and once again able to type and write and lift light things. Thank God. If ever there was a time that I need to be journaling, writing letters, sending cards and blogging, it’s now.

Here we are in this strange new world. We’re ticking along as best we can, tamping down fear, practicing hygiene on steroids, trying to act normal in a very unnormal time. (“Unnormal” is not a word—there’s a red dashed line underneath it—but I’m sticking with it.) We’re finding ways to cope and even to have fun. Remember fun?!

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The Mincing Mockingbird folks are my people

Even after the sling came off, I didn’t write a word. I fixated on the news and my plummeting retirement account, paced around the house, and mainlined cookies. I felt so paralyzed. But as the weeks go on, even though the news is not improving, I’m finding ways to feel better. I hope you are, too. My beloved analog tools are saving me.

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I’m getting back to using my Theme System Journal with its 2020 theme—Stoicism. (Hoo, boy—was that a prophetic pick, or what?!) The actions I chose and began practicing in January are exactly what I need to be focusing on right now. January and February were mere warm-up sprints for this pandemic marathon. I’m so grateful that I’ve been developing my Stoicism muscles so that I can come back to these familiar and calming practices.

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I’m writing morning pages again, too. Because my shoulder is still healing, I typically write one page rather than four, but that’s fine for now. At least I’m getting up early and letting the thoughts and words flow. No matter what they are—fearful, hopeful, funny, or jumbled—I’m getting them out, getting them down. (Since I’m my own physical therapist, I might as well be my own mental therapist, too. Look at the co-pays I’m saving!)

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Man, these colors help. The Ellsworth Kelly stamps and this Gene Davis Retro 51 brighten even the gloomy days. Now is not the time for taupe and subtlety. I’m digging into my stationery hoard to write and send letters, notes, and postcards. If we can’t hug in person, let’s hug via the mail. To make sure I have a healthy supply of colorful stamps, I ordered these and these via the USPS website. Home delivery—it’s a beautiful thing.

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Turns out I had WAY too many pens inked, so one of my decluttering projects is correcting that. Every day, I flush out and sonicate a few pens to thin the inked pen herd. What a perfect time for a fountain pen reboot. I also picked up another pen case from Pen Chalet and plan to organize my pens by brand. Restoring order—even in a small way—makes me feel less helpless.

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On a more somber note, I started keeping a “pandemic journal” the other day because, after all, we’re living through a historic event. I’m keeping track of case counts, death counts, and the associated percentages as a way of tracking the progress of this thing. I can’t wait until I see those numbers stabilizing, then declining. I’m also jotting down a few lines about how I’m feeling, what I’m doing, and how I’m coping. I do fear that I’ll be filling up more than one pocket notebook.

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The perfect springtime escape

And of course I’m reading. Plowing through books, actually. This is when I feel best—when I’m settled down for the night with a good book. My own worries, and the troubles of the world, melt away and I’m off on a virtual vacation—to Amherst, MA, in this case. I’ll get there one day, when we are once again free to roam about the country.

So even though, right now, the world feels very much like this…

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and this…

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this is also true…

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Much-needed encouragement courtesy of Baux Pen Co.

WE got this.

And, hey, let me know how you’re doing.

17 thoughts on “Current Mood(s)

  1. I have been lurking for years, and I am so thankful for you, your posts, your honesty, your approach to life, your reality-sharing, and your humor. It feels a little stalk-y to be this effusive, but honestly, if not now, when? Thanks again!

    • Awww…thank you so much!! Sometimes I’m not sure that I’m making sense…especially now. I appreciate your kind words very much!

  2. This post was certainly a breath of fresh air! Thank you for helping me to ground my coronavirus anxiety and to get back on track!

    • Love this, Tina! Well, not the chapped hands and anxiety—of which I have both—but YOUR version of morning pages. Sending peace and good health to you!

  3. I was so happy to see this post pop up in my email, Mary! So glad that your shoulder is letting you write again. I think you have put into words very well what so many of us are feeling. For me, too, the analog tools help so much – writing a letter or just stroking a beloved pen and new notebook with its smooth, smooth paper. Be well.

    • Sad to think that we would’ve/should’ve been having fun in Atlanta this weekend…but there’s always next year! Glad you are well and enjoying all of those wonderful analog tools!

  4. Mary I don’t know if you’ll get this (replying to a sender list) but I can’t seem to comment on the word press site because I can never remember the account I created a thousand years ago at work. Word press is not friendly that way. Anyway. I always enjoy reading your posts, and this morning in particular your words were a tonic. Thanks.

    Sherri

    >

  5. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – April 5, 2020 | Fountain Pen Quest

  6. As a person who prefers to be at home more than anyplace else, this hasn’t been more than an occasional minor inconvenience to me so far. I’m working from home too except for going to the office once every two weeks to write paycheques for staff and print off the records that need to be filed; I lock the door to the public, and my income hasn’t take a hit. I live in the country so can go outside and walk for miles if I want, without seeing anyone. This pandemic is much more difficult for many other people and my heart goes out to them. Be well, all. – Kate

    • My biggest anxieties with this whole thing revolve around my elderly parents—my dad in a nursing home and my mom in her own home. We haven’t been able to visit my dad for a month, though a nurse helped me FaceTime with him this morning. That was wonderful. My sister and I tag team my mom’s needs, while keeping a safe distance. Tricky times! Glad you and yours are well! Here’s to better days!

  7. I always love to read what you write Mary! It’s comforting to know I’m not the only writer who was paralyzed at first. There are so many things to write about all at once. Where to begin!? I started my COVID Chronicle about ten days in and am still going daily. The world needs us -anyone willing to write – to create a record of all the many aspects.

    • Thanks, Sue! I really enjoyed your UTCA piece this week! Your writing voice is one that really resonates with me. It feels good to get back to blogging again. Took me three starts to write something coherent. Be well!

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