Small shoots of hope
Here in Scotland, the days are lengthening, the ice and snow have at last disappeared, and the Covid vaccination programme is progressing well. And our government has a staged plan in place for the gradual easing of the protective lockdown. So, there’s a lot to be positive about – even if the full lifting of the lockdown is still some way off.
It’s been good to be able to get out for walks more easily as spring approaches and to see all the hopeful signs nature provides as this long hard winter comes to an end. It has also been good to see the return of Scotland’s youngest children to school and nursery.
So, yes, although a full return to normality with holidays away from home, eating out, and seeing friends and family remains a bit of a way off, there is hope.
Slow and steady does it as writing progresses
In the meantime, I plan to continue making the most of online/video contact with loved ones and to continue cutting myself some slack when it comes to my work as a writer. As I said in last month’s post I’m not being a slave to the daily word count but continue to measure my writing achievements by time spent at the desk – even if that time is short and I don’t write very much. One hundred words feels like as much of an achievement as 1000 did before the pandemic messed with my concentration and creative flow.
And pleasingly both the current novel and novella-in-progress are steadily growing and developing.
I’m also hopeful that my work rate will pick up even more now that the day care nurseries are due to re-open very soon and my grandma-day-care provision will no longer be required. Although I have to say it’s been a joy and a privilege to provide this essential care.
The continuing comfort and joy of reading
And as I also mentioned last month, reading has been such a comfort throughout these hard times – and it continues to be so. My intention in 2021 is to be a bit more adventurous in my reading and to read more widely – and maybe even reread some older classics and/or favourites. But I must admit the escapism provided by contemporary romance novels means that this remains my favourite genre.
However, my three books of the month for February come from three different genres and even the romantic fiction one isn’t entirely escapist as it is set during the Covid pandemic.
February’s Books of the Month
Love in Lockdown by Chloe James
From the back cover:
Do you believe in love before first sight?
Lockdown is putting Sophia’s life on pause – just as she planned to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.
Jack is used to living life to the fullest. He’s going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until the night he hears a woman crying from the balcony under his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile on her face.
Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.
Can they fall in love during a lockdown?
A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
From the back cover:
When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.
Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.
He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?
As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
(this was a re-read of a much-loved old favourite of mine and a lot of what Woolf has to say about women in society still resonates today)
From the back cover:
An extended essay which was based on a series of lectures that Woolf delivered at two women’s colleges which are part of Cambridge University. The essay explores women both as writers and characters in fiction.
And that’s it for February. I hope you too are feeling positive. Please do feel free to share the titles of any good books you’ve read this month and/or what keeps you positive – in the comments section below. Stay safe and sane everyone.