Sunday, August 30, 2020



If you had asked me three months ago what I expected to be doing in the last days of August, I’d have told you I was looking forward to keeping the doors and windows open, planning a trip or two, and enjoying walks at the Tucson Botanical Gardens again. But I wouldn’t have taken into account that this is 2020, the year when nothing seems to be normal.

Our weather pattern has been unusual, to say the least. In a normal year, our monsoon season, when Tucson gets half its annual rainfall, starts around the 4th of July and continues through mid-September. Almost daily thunderstorms pop up and drench us, filling the washes and turning everything green. This year, we’ve had one thunderstorm and a couple of sprinkles.

The rains also bring cooler temperatures—not cool, mind you, but days in the 90s and nights in the low 80s or even 70s. This summer, we’ve had a ton of days that have been around 110 degrees. I don’t think our high has been under 100 since early June.

I cheered when I read the Botanical Gardens were opening on a limited basis again a couple of weeks ago. I still haven’t been there. It’s too hot to go walking, even if I managed to get myself there when they first open.

In May, I would have said I was planning on attending several writers group meetings in the fall. Because of the heat, everything usually slows down around here in the summer. People go to cooler places for a few weeks or months, and it’s hard to get guest speakers to visit from out of town. We ramp up in the fall, and by Thanksgiving have snowbirds joining us from Minnesota and Wisconsin and other wintry places.

Instead, we’re still on lockdown and no one is going anywhere. I have to say I’m getting a severe case of cabin fever.

A few months ago, I was looking forward to booking a vacation or two. My family was going to have a reunion in Dallas in October, the date set to coincide with the State Fair. I was trying to decide between a visit to a guest ranch in February or a trip back to Massachusetts in the summer. The State Fair was canceled, and with it, the reunion. I haven’t booked a trip because who knows whether I’d get to take it or not?

I’m also not comfortable traveling on airplanes just yet. Even those which promised social distancing and extra cleaning have taken to filling those middle seats and running fewer flights to economize. Airplanes haven’t been a healthy place to be ever since they stopped venting in outside air. I can’t imagine being on one for three hours or more during the pandemic.

Writers have reacted to being in lockdown in one of two ways. Some have found themselves unable to write anything. Fear, isolation, and depression have resulted in severe cases of writers block. Others are being more productive than they’ve ever been. After all, what else is there to do?

I’m somewhere in between. I’ve tried to stick to a normal writing schedule for the most part. But there are days when all I want to do is read a mystery or binge-watch BritBox. That makes it hard to figure out when my next book will be published. Three months ago, I’d been hoping that would be done by now, but I still have work to do on it. It’s getting close, though. And I have lots of ideas for my next books, so there’s something to look forward to in the future.

Photo: Photo by Mike Lewinski on Unsplash

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Elise's bookshelf: currently-reading

A Clash of Kings
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tagged: currently-reading