Normal Things

I wasn’t going to blog today, but I need to, so I am. This is not a post about the election. This is a post about normal things. For me, today, that means writing. This morning, I got up, my head muddled with news and social media feeds and friends fearful and angry and hurting, on all sides of this whole deal, my heart heavy, and the first thing I could do was go to my office, open my morning pages book, and put pen to paper. Because that’s what I do. That’s as much a part of the entire morning routine as feeding the cat and making tea.

Normal things give us a sense of purpose when it feels like invisible hands shook our lives like an Etch-a-Sketch. I love my office; it’s not yet perfect but it is a place I can go inside, close the door and feel that sense of peace, especially needed on days when everything feels turned around. This morning, I made tea, settled into my office chair, opened the morning pages book, took a moment to appreciate the pretty pages (pretty pages are like catnip to me) and put pen to paper, because that’s what I do. That’s what’s normal. That’s a first step forward.

This post was going to be about fountain pens, in honor of the National Fountain Pen Day that I missed, but I’m going to save that for another time. I didn’t want to write about pens today. Sure, I could, but that wasn’t what I wanted. What I wanted was historical romance. Not as an escape. I don’t use the word, “escape,” to refer to reading, of any genre, because it isn’t. Whatever is going on in my life or the world at large is still there when I close the file or notebook, or put book or Kindle aside, but it is a respite. A place where I can go for a little while, do something else, and come back stronger, fresher, more equipped to take on what else needs doing.

The “historical” part of historical romance reminds me that we are resilient. The “romance” part reminds me that we are not alone. Both things good to keep in mind during turbulent times. There’s something special about stepping into another time and place, somewhat like going into my office and closing the door. There’s that moment of taking a breath, letting the new (old?) surrounding settle around me and slipping into the world of the story, the cadence of the author’s voice. Still holds true when that voice is my own, but, depending on where I am in the story, guessing where things might go could me a little different when I’m the one in charge of that. (Or my imaginary friends are; they do tend to have minds of their own.)

It’s rainy today, my very favorite kind of weather, apart from snow, and so my instinct is to go out in it.  I have snazzy leopard rain boots, and the coffee house the next block over is always good for my story brain. Memories of a historical I tried to force out of my brain -well, two, really- in that very coffee house, inch by kicking and screaming inch, jumped into my head when I mentioned that. Maybe because this is the month of NaNo? Not guilt over them, or any feeling at all, really, only more of a “well, those were there, at previous points in time.” A passing thought, probably nothing else attached to it, but it was in my head, so onto the page it goes.

There is tea at that coffee house, and I may allow myself  a baked good if they have anything especially appetizing. The Earl Grey cookies are amazing, and I will go for anything with coconut in it, as long as it doesn’t contain any nut-nuts as well. Cup of tea, possible cookie, work on scene for Beach Ball, because that’s on the list, and spare a few minutes to take in the bare brick walls, adorned with the works of local artists. Take in some atmosphere. Fill the well. Maybe bake cookies myself when I get back home, because that’s relaxing for me, and we get cookies. Normal stuff; it has power.

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