Building A Writing Practice: An Update
It seems unbelievable that we are now observing anniversaries of specific events and milestones of the Covid-19 pandemic. Reading my journals from that time, in February 2020 I was stockpiling wipes and hand sanitizer, on March 11, 2020 my husband took his last flight before we went to lockdown, etc. I remember discussing plans with friends for “when this is is over…”. What seemed like a quick efficient battle has turned into a war with advances and retreats on multiple fronts, mass casualties, and generation-defining changes to how we live, work, study and play.
For most of the lockdown (and thankfully Singapore only has had one), we gathered ourselves, maintained high spirits, and kept busy. Kids were educated and entertained, culinary heights were attained, old friends reconnected, events moved online, we figured out how to work effectively remotely. I started the Artist’s Way programme and every week revealed new insights and creative delights. That all dissipated in July. It felt like I had no more energy. The world was enjoying summer travel and life seemed normal in many parts of the world. We still lived under restrictions and leisure travel was impossible. My sister would be getting married in November in Mumbai and it was highly unlikely I would get to attend.
The three daily pages seemed difficult. They became short then sporadic. Creative projects seemed lacklustre. Yoga seemed boring. The baking slowed as supplies got difficult to obtain. The plants drooped and looked as unhappy as their carer. My basil died.
Then in September we took a decision to repair and renovate our beloved house. I guess we all need a project over and above our daily lives, something new, an adventure. By November we had a vision, a plan, and people to help deliver the plan.
The writing came back. I joined an online class to learn to chant the Vishnu Sahasranam with correct pronunciations, and then the teacher offered a beginners class in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language, the language of Gods. I jumped in. Learning Sanskrit every week is fulfilling a lifelong wish.
Today, life in Singapore seems as normal as it can be. We wear masks, use a contact tracing app, and limit gatherings to 8 people. Staycations and cruises to nowhere are the leisure travel options unless you are willing to serve a 14-day quarantine at a hotel at your cost when you return. On the bright side, I practice yoga at the neighbourhood studio, my kids are in school, and I get to meet my friends for drinks or dinner.
For the last two months, I’ve written my pages everyday and have immersed completely in the creative process of home renovation. Artist’s Dates now include visiting shops for tiles, lights, and laminates.
My plants are blooming and so is my yoga practice.
I no longer bake Melissa Clark’s adaptable one-bowl cornmeal pound cake or banana bread on a weekly basis. They will forever be associated with the lockdown. But new recipes are created everyday and now that both King Arthur Flour and Bob’s Red Mill flours are finally available, new baking frontiers await.