Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

14 – Pandemic Mechanics

I’m trying to imagine
the giant mechanism
my homunculus
must maneuver each morning,
how enormous the
the weights and counterweights,
the mile-thick ropes and pulleys,
necessary to close off this reality

YOU SHALL NOT PASS

close off this reality
just enough so I get out of bed,
do my hair, make coffee
right-side up instead of
upside down like it feels
when I peer through the crack,
one eye closed or cautious squint
knowing I have the privilege to ask

is it safe to come out?

what’s for dinner today?

do I have time for another poem?

 

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

13 – Storm in a Pandemic

Spring storm arrives with wind and rain
that rattles windows and pushes against doors,
huffing and puffing I’ll blow your house down it growls,
but we know how this goes, we’ve done this before,
so we set out candles, search for matches, batteries,
hope the giant maple in the yard can persevere again —
check to make sure the basement doesn’t flood too badly,
that the roof in the kitchen doesn’t leak,
that I remembered to close the bedroom window —
it was warm last night…or was I?…
I wake often now, press palm against my forehead
relax when it’s only a flash and not a fever,
breathe deeply and pray when I still can
because we don’t know how that goes —
that other storm that’s still raging
that doesn’t show on the radar map
and won’t blow out to sea anytime soon,
that will still be here when the sun returns tomorrow,
when I put the candles away in the drawer,
when I look out those windows to the yard,
to the giant maple, her leaves in wait,
and my neighbor in her mask in her garden
moving dirt and planting seeds
that will grow despite the storm,
we know they will.

 

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

12 – Grave Tenders

She had promised them
and so each Easter
we gather ourselves
and the pots of
sweet Hyacinths,
the cut wire-hanger hooks,
the glass jars of water
and drive together

to Holy Savior first,
where we clear off the old stone
of her mother and father
secure flowers to the iron red earth
for them first and always
and then for her brother;
we bow our heads,
she prays and crosses herself
once for each of them,
touches the stones before leaving
as if to say, Nice to see you,
and I’ll be back.

It’s a slow and somber drive
then to Memorial Park,
past the fireman statue
to her husband’s grave.
She tends and weeds,
seems not to notice her name
carved in stone by his,
remarks at the well-mowed grass
before we leave,

drive by the place where my Dad
played cowboys and Indians,
riding the headstone
shaped like a stagecoach,
where he left toys guns in the grass
for my grandmother to find
by flashlight and shadows.

We leave hyacinths on his grave, too,
kneel together on the damp ground,
clean red dust from the bronze plaque,
touch-spell his name one more time,
listen to cars passing, and crows,
and weep fresh tears,
for this, the hardest tending.

 

Photo Photo by Brett Sayles. Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

11 – 2 Cups: An Ode to Bisquick

2 cups
then milk, sugar, egg
for sweet batter and
more with
brown sugar, cinnamon, butter
for sweeter topping
layer one onto the next
and bake until
heavenly scent insists
you make coffee for the cake

2 cups
and chopped parsley
milk, salt, pepper
dropped by heaping spoonfuls
into bubbling hot stew —
my granmother’s recipe of
chicken, carrots, celery,
with onions stuck to the underside
of buoyant dumplings, divine

2 cups
add eggs and milk
mix until smooth
smooth enough to pour
round on a griddle
then wait for bubbles
before you FLIP!
to a golden brown,
stack high and drizzle
pour, engulf, drown
with sweet maple elixir

2 cups
and milk
(yes, only milk)
don’t overmix the mix
then drop one by one
the soft, sticky dough
into rounded domes
and dream of jams,
light, creamy butter,
honey or marmalade,
berries and cream
while they rise to
biscuity perfection
before your hungry eyes

2 cups
in a pandemic make
old school coffee cake
dumplings for stew
pancakes, flapjacks, griddle cakes
(call them what you may)
biscuits, waffles…
makes a person wonder
why so many Bisquicks left on the shelf
as she wipes a crumb
from her mask
with her blue-gloved hand.

 

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. Find coffee cake recipe here. You’re welcome. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

10 – Like Tinnitus

They call it Angels’ Song,
the ever-present ring,
its high-pitch serenade,
that lulls us to weary sleep,
lulls us too awake at night,
the slow resurface to a day
not yet over, not yet begun

But the company of angels —
these singing angels —
is no more welcome than
the weight of anxious demons
woke by the great pandemic
and dancing on our chests…
……..at three while the angels trill
……..at nine while the angels chant
……..at noon while the angels croon

Demons cast down from the heavens,
their affliction of fearing
like the affliction of hearing,
a gathering of the unseen —
……..at three what we don’t know
……..at nine what we can’t control
……..at noon what we fear comes next
an omnipresent troupe
that dances in the shadows,
hums like a swarm of bees,
and sings their unyielding songs
all the livelong day.

 

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. Image: Angel Piping to the Souls in Hell, Evelyn De Morgan. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Art Books Creativity Poetry

9 – Mind’s Eye

April

full moon

rises

 

floods

uncertain

landscapes

 

overflows

 

unravels

everything

 

and she alone

sings softly

 

Hmm mmm

Hmm mmm

Hmm Hmm mmm

 

Mind’s Eye

Moon’s Eye

Who Am I?

 

Hmm mmm

Hmm mmm

Hmm Hmm mmm

 

Mixed media collage, Mind’s Eye, and poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

8 – Dream’s Landscape

They were holding umbrellas

made of stone

granite I think, pink

like the kind that seeps

from moss on my walks

by the old quarry.

Umbrellas of stone

but inverted as if

the lion winds of March

caught them off guard,

as if they were vessels now

large stone blossoms

held overhead

in a field of people

frozen in time

and waiting out a storm.

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. For more about the umbrella art installation pictured above, see “Enchanting Cloud of 1,100 Umbrellas Suspend Above a Grand Hall,” By Kristine Mitchell. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

7 – Imposter Poet

I am no more fit for the poetic form than I was the 9-to-5 work day

I learned that lesson early…by 27 my own task master

with no rhyme or reason to the days since.

They flow as they will or they should — meant to be

whispers the woman beneath the weight anything else.

Meant to be, too, the poems.

Never sonnet or senryu

villanelle or paradelle

rondeau, rispetto, or ode.

They are short and sweet or long and leggy

begging for edits, or begging for more:

I want some more please.

What, you think a free-verse poem doesn’t beg?

Doesn’t hold itself up and ask you to decide

……….half empty or half full?

……….half-baked or baked to perfection?

But how are you to know, really?

Especially if you dance to the beat

of that different drum and the music is so loud

you can’t hear yourself think

never mind rhyme.

 

So, never mind rhyme.

I don’t, and you don’t mind me.

 

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. Photo by Tasha Kamrowski. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

6 – Star Child

Curled small on the driveway,

only seen for the cruel contrast

black beneath pale pink white skin,

star child, squirrel child no matter

she stayed in the palm of my hand,

nuzzled into the warmth of a thumb

womb, nest, home, heaven

‘til neither of us could bear

that cold, damp morning

that cold, wet pavement

that cold and unforgiving world

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

You are braver than you believe & stronger than you seem…

I’ve been walking around barefoot a lot. Outside, in the yard, to the mailbox — no matter the temperature or weather. It reminds me of that opening scene in Die Hard when John McClain’s seatmate tells him “After you get where you’re going, take off your shoes and your socks…walk around on the rug barefoot and make fists with your toes. It’s better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee.”

It turns out, that’s pretty good advice.

In the article “This Die Hard Relaxation Hack Is Actually Brilliant,” podiatrist Ernest Isaacson explains, “Being barefoot is a great way to feel one’s way around new surroundings, and by removing the protective covering of our shoes it also establishes a level of trust to the new digs, which is comforting, relaxing, and just feels good….Walking barefoot takes us back to our primordial roots, and allows the many nerve endings on the bottom of the feet to make contact with the ground, thereby establishing a real tactile connection to our new surroundings.”

New surroundings like these weird, scary, sad, difficult pandemic surroundings? I don’t know about you, but I’ve got anxiety on a constant feedback loop. Adjusting means processing a lot more information, being OK with a change in routine and expectations, and settling down into not know what happens next.

Walking barefoot, wiggling my toes in the wet grass or on the cold pavement, reminds me to be in the moment.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” — Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, The Teaching of Buddha

Living wisely and earnestly for me right now translates into surrounding myself with the things that immediately bring me comfort: phone calls with good friends, my cat Lola, homemade meatloaf, living room yoga, walks in the woods, writing, and books.

I realize I’m lucky in that. I’m not on the front lines, working in a hospital, striving to keep our communities safe, managing a houseful of little ones. For each and everyone one of us, these are hard and difficult times, in vastly different ways.

So, how are you spending your pandemic days? Are you safe and healthy? Are you balancing worry with wonder? Getting enough rest, movement, breath, prayer, food? Reaching out and digging deep? Have you found what brings you comfort?

Here is a gentle reminder from one of my go-to comforts, Winnie the Pooh:

“You are braver than you believe, you are stronger than you seem, and you are smarter than you think.”

We will be Okay…and YOU will be Okay.

Take off your shoes. Wiggle your toes. Breathe.

Love, Jen


News from My Living Room

THANK YOU, ALPHA COIRO!

Friends of the Blackstone Memorial Library board member Alpha Coiro recently featured me and my books in the library’s spring newsletter Marble Columns. You can read an advance copy of her article by clicking here.


MEATLOAF

Hankering some comfort food, I looked up recipes by cooking goddess Ina Garten and found her recipe for Meatloaf (click here). I had to ad lib a little: I didn’t have tomato paste, so I used sundried tomatoes in oil; and a crumbled Bisquick biscuit stepped in for bread crumbs. I served it with canned peas and macaroni and cheese and was immediately transported to my grandmother’s kitchen circa 1972. Ahh, comfort.


BOOKS

If you’re looking for something else to read, visit my Etsy Shop where you’ll discover both print and NEW! ebooks for sale.

“Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.” – Roxane Gay

Essay ©2020, Jen Payne. Illustration by Ernest Howard Shepard, “Pooh and Piglet walked home thoughtfully together in the golden evening, and for a long time they were silent,” illustration for A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (London: Methuen; New York: E. P. Dutton, 1926. Quotes from This ‘Die Hard’ Relaxation Hack Is Actually Brilliant , by Dan Myers, The Active Times. Winnie the Pooh Quote by Karl Geurs and Carter Crocker, Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin.
Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

5 – Sunday Haiku

the day is quiet

save for the slow, soft hum

of a cat snoring

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

4 – Pandemic Pause

The construct of time

in our pandemic pause

is such that my computer

now tells me the day —

in small letters the date, too —

and the hours move by

so slowly we seem suspended,

teetering here on trust

that the sun begins the day still,

and the dark is when we rest

and dream of crowds of people

— or that one we adore — before

the sun rises on another day as is

but another day closer, too

and find in that somewhere: Joy.


Right before the world shut down, I was working with photographer Joy Bush to promote her new exhibit at City Gallery in New Haven. We had a phone call scheduled, so I set my phone alarm: 8:50AM, Joy. That’s what inspired today’s poem. You can check out Joy’s thoughtful work on her website: www.joybushphotography.com.


©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity Poetry

3 – Useful

It appears they mostly need it

for its usefulness:

can it produce

assist

support

respond

perform the necessary tasks

be present

be invisible

 

but there’s a deficit

in the transaction

that no one seems to notice

except me

 

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity Poetry

2 – Soap

It’s a small bar,
tucks into my hand
smooth and white

I’ve pulled it from
its palm-tree wrapper
the one that tells me
in small letters
Soap – Savon – Jabón

It smells like Cape Cod,
that hotel room
with the view of water,
the southern wind
just off the beach,
the cedar trees,
and fresh-washed towels,

so I sing more than 20 seconds —
maybe 40 or 60 seconds —
long enough to stay until
the sun lifts up
and I recognize the day,
my self maybe too,
in a mirror so far away.

 

This poem was featured as part of POETS OF THE PANDEMIC on the website Headline Poetry & Press, April 16, 2020.

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity Poetry

1 – Level Up!

He was a giant black dog

wooly from toes to eyes

— if he had them —

and every morning

on my way to school

at the end of the street

he would race down his driveway

…..growling

………..non-stop

……………full speed

………………..and full bark

full enough to scare anyone

most especially my 11-year-old self

who hadn’t quite figured out

what to do with her monsters yet

except run, run, run.

 

Then His name is Sam,

a voice yelled from a dark, dusty window

in the gray house set back from the road,

Sam, it rolled down the driveway

and across my path, a magic coin,

a power token, password — SAM

and I knew exactly what to do!

 

The next morning, I bravely stood,

hands on hips and waited

David me for Goliath he

at the end of his driveway

waited and waited and waited

until Sam came out,

…..charging

……….non-stop

……………full speed

………………..and full bark

SAM, SIT! I yelled as loudly as I could

SIT, SAM, SIT!

And then he sat.

And I did too.

First monster vanquished. Level up!

 

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity Poetry

It’s National Poetry Month!

Happy National Poetry Month! Here at Random Acts of Writing, we’re going to be writing a poem a day — #NaPoWriMo — so check back daily! But did you know that National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996? Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture. Here are 30 ways you can participate…

  1. Sign-up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.

  2. Sign-up to receive a free National Poetry Month poster, or download the PDF, and display it for the occasion.

  3. Read last year’s most-read poem, Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness.”

  4. Record yourself reading a poem, and share why you chose that work online using the hashtag #ShelterinPoems. Be sure to tag @poetsorg on twitter and instagram!

  5. Subscribe to the Poem-a-Day podcast.

  6. Check out an e-book of poetry from your local library.

  7. Begin your virtual meetings or classes by reading a poem.

  8. Talk to the teachers in your life about Teach This Poem.

  9. Learn more about poets and virtual poetry events in your state.

  10. Read about your state poet laureate.

  11. Browse Poems for Kids.

  12. Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.

  13. Make a poetry playlist.

  14. Browse the glossary of terms and try your hand at writing a formal poem.

  15. Create an online anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.

  16. Organize a poetry reading, open mic, or poetry slam via a video conferencing service.

  17. Sign up for an online poetry class or workshop.

  18. Donate books of poetry to little free libraries and mutual aid networks.

  19. Research and volunteer with poetry organizations in your area.

  20. Take a walk and write a poem outside.

  21. Start a virtual poetry reading group or potluck, inviting friends to share poems.

  22. Write an exquisite corpse or a renga with friends via email or text.

  23. Take on a guerrilla poetry project in your building.

  24. Read essays about poetry like Edward Hirsch’s “How to Read a Poem,” Mary Ruefle’s “Poetry and the Moon,” Mark Doty’s “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now,” and Muriel Rukeyser’s “The Life of Poetry.”

  25. Watch a movie, lecture, or video featuring a poet.

  26. Read and share poems about the environment in honor of Earth Day.

  27. Make a poetry chapbook.

  28. Submit your poems to a literary magazine or poetry journal.

  29. Make a poem to share on Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30, 2020.

  30. Make a gift to support the Academy of American Poets free programs and publications and keep celebrating poetry year-round!

National Poetry Month poster, with permission from the Academy of American Poets. Artwork by Samantha Aikman.
Categories
Creativity Living Wellness

Blessing Shout Out!

I fell in love with this fabulous Self-Soothing graphic! Isn’t it wonderful?

Know what’s event better? The lovely Miss Dominee at Blessing Manifesting who created this fab artwork. Are you anxious, worried, scared, sad? There a blessing for that!

Needing a little self-care, some mental health boosters, positive affimations? There are blessings for that, too!

She even wrote this great article about “Managing Anxiety About the Corona Virus.”

Please visit BLESSING MANIFESTING now. What a treat in these dark and twisty times!

 

Categories
Books Creativity National Poetry Month Poetry Writing

Finding Inspiration

When I told a friend last spring that I was writing a poem a day for National Poetry Month and NaPoWriMo, she asked me how I found the inspiration for 30 poems.

“It’s like rummaging around in a junk drawer,” I told her. “You’re bound to put your hands on something!”

And sure enough, one April, I found inspiration from a seagull, bugs, a haiku class, a trip to the Dollar Store, and pizza. Among other things. (See the full tally here.)

Now granted, they are not all masterpieces. But that’s not the point. Like any writing challenge — NaNoWriMo, HistNoWriMo, SciFiWriMo — the goal is simply to get into the habit of writing.

“Simply” of course being somewhat of an issue if you are lacking inspiration. Which brings us back to that junk drawer. There are so many things in your junk drawer – think about it!

the first time you rode a bike
your best friend from kindergarten
your mother
what you had for breakfast
your first kiss
last night’s dream
what you saw on a hike last weekend
your favorite painting
the song you can’t get out of your head (and why)
an object sitting on your coffee table

So, GO! Rummage around — see what you can find. Reach way far back if you have to…and then CREATE! Describe, elaborate, enumerate, paint a picture with words (or even paint if you are so inclined). It doesn’t have to be perfect…as Nike says, JUST DO IT!

Here is some evidence of rummaging. This quirky little poem showed up from a post-it note I found on my desk one morning:


(Chinese Food)

The note says (Chinese Food)
but it is random
out of context on a piece of paper
in a stack of papers
at least 2 months passed

my past included (Chinese Food)

but what?
and with whom?
and what is the purpose
of this little clue
set out for me to follow
too early even for General Tso,
though I never met him personally

rumor has it, he was a press man…

as a proponent of the written word
do you think he rose early
to consider form and function,
rhyme, reason and rice —
like this poet now hungry
for the pork fried variety at 6?


But a fair warning about rummaging…you have to be brave. You have to be brave because you never know what you’re going to find in that drawer. Sometimes, it will be as benign as a post-it note about Chinese take-out. Other times, you may pull out a ghost, some long lost memory that needs to see the light of day.

Hans Christian Anderson is credited with saying: “Everything you look at can become a fairy tale, you can get a story from everything you touch.”

Ultimately, isn’t that our job as creatives? Telling the story. No matter our medium — poetry, painting, prose — we are charged with the task of putting our hands on the story and sharing it with others.

So, get in there! Rummage around for the inspiration. Reach way far back if you have to…and then TELL THE STORY!


You can read more of Jen Payne’s poetry in her books Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind and Waiting Out the Storm, available from Three Chairs Publishing.

buynow


Categories
Creativity Living Wellness

Calm Down

calm down
what happens
happens mostly
without you

— JOSEF ALBERS

Poem and image, Homage to the Square: Blue & Green, by Josef Albers.
Categories
Creativity Poetry

Countdown to NaPoWriMo!

Ready to write?

Sharpen up your pencils. Gather your pens. Dust off the Corona (not that one). And boot up the computer, because National Poetry Month begins next Wednesday, April 1.

No joke!

And National Poetry Month means, among other things, it’s time for NaPoWriMo = National Poetry Writing Month, in which we attempt, once again, to write 30 poems in 30 days! Check it out > www.napowrimo.net!

I sense a little resistance. A bit of “my poems aren’t good enough” or “my poems would never be ready for prime time in one day.” To which I say: Pshaw!

NaPoWriMo is not about perfection or polish. It’s about practice. A daily practice of sitting with your craft and watching what comes up. It’s like practicing yoga and seeing how deep you can go. Or singing scales to tune the instrument of your voice. It’s stretching so your writing muscles don’t seize up and stop working for you.

Besides, let’s be honest, you’ll have plenty of time on your chapped and over-washed hands in the next month — why not spend some of it doing something you love?

Like writing poetry.

Are you with me?

Here’s some more information if you’d like to play along.

NaPoWriMo FAQs
Participating Writers
• There’s a contest for that: NaPoWriMo Chapbook Contest
• They’re’ not all winners, but these are my NaPoWriMo archives

Be safe. Take care. And Happy writing!

Categories
Creativity Living Wellness

Coping in Our Genes

This is my grandfather, Henry Clay Payne, posing in Okinawa, 1945. The photo was taken about a month or so before his ship was torpedoed and then sunk by a kamikaze. He was one of 152 men killed that day, four days after my Dad’s second birthday.

He’s been on my mind since I read the article “These Royal Navy Submariners Know A Thing or Two About Isolation,” by BuzzFeed correspondent Tom Warren. Blame it on the vintage, black and white navy photos, I guess — since Henry Payne was neither in the Royal Navy nor on a submarine. Still, I imagine that he — floating somewhere in the East China Sea, away from his wife and young son and daughter — might have offered up similar suggestions:

Routine, routine, routine!
“Develop a routine quickly and stick to it….This means giving yourself breaks, permission to relax, and times when you’ll focus on work.”

Exercise.
“In order to be mentally alert you need to be physically alert.”

Eat healthy.
“If you eat badly your serotonin will drop and you will go into depression.”

Start something new.
“Keep your mind active… With no commute, you’ve just cut down on a load of non-value added time. You can use it to take up a new hobby.”

Keep talking — and joking.
“Conversation is really important, it keeps you and your friends informed. Laugh at anything. At this moment when stress is high, it’s really important you don’t stress the little things.”

The other reason Henry Payne has been on my mind is that this pandemic is pretty scary stuff. Probably the scariest thing I remember, really. But my grandparents’ story reminds me that the world has faced things like this before — global crises like when Henry went to war, and my grandmother raised two young children on her own. There was fear and anxiety, isolation, and an undeniable sense that their world had changed. But they found ways to cope. All of our families found ways to cope back then. And we will too. It’s what we do, right?

So stick with a routine. Exercise and eat healthy. Keep your mind active. Keep talking, and hold on tight to that sense of humor until we see it through.

Take care.

©2020, Jen Payne. With quotes from the BuzzFeed Article “These Royal Navy Submariners Know A Thing or Two About Isolation,” Tom Warren.
Categories
Creativity Living Wellness

Coping Tools

I hope this blog post finds you safe and healthy, with a good selection of coping tools at the ready. Goodness know we need them right now.

My coping tools include reading escapist fiction, keeping creative, taking long naps, and maintaining some semblance of a normal routine with my business and my writing. If you’re like me, work offers a familiar place to settle into when the world outside is swirling too fast and crazy to recognize.

While we wait in this holding pattern, I’ll be posting regularly here on Random Acts of Writing, trying to share words of wisdom, coping strategies, and the saving grace of humor when possible.

Like this. This lovely piece of wisdom I saw online this week. During this time of social distancing and quarantines, ask yourself:

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
  • What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
  • How am I getting outside today?
  • How and I moving my body today?
  • What beauty am I creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?

Please share your responses below in the comment field.


Here are mine:

What am I grateful for today?
I am grateful for my health and the sweet network of friends helping to keep me in the moment.

Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
Today I have phone dates with my old college roommate Melissa and my friend Judith.

What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
I try not to think about Normal right now. When it sneaks into my thoughts, I remind myself to be present and just right here.

How am I getting outside today?
Hoping to take a short walk in the woods this afternoon.

How and I moving my body today?
Yoga this morning at 4, PT exercises for my knee a little later.

What beauty am I creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?
I find I keep saying the Serenity Prayer, not so much to keep me calm, but to remind myself what I can change (me) and what I can’t change (everything else).

Please be well and stay safe.

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Spring Comes No Matter

Photography ©2020, Jen Payne