If we were having coffee this weekend, it would probably be via video chat. I would wave at you from across our respective screens, happy to see your face as always, but wishing we could meet in person. But I also wouldn’t complain about it, because I’ve been so fortunate through this entire pandemic, and I’m grateful.
Right off the bat (since this is how we greet each other these days), I would ask you if you took your temperature lately and make sure you were washing your hands. Then we would move to other topics, and I would ask you what you’ve been up to.
I am always interested in this question, but recently even more so. Social media for me is full of people discussing the scones they baked, or the progress they’ve made in that cute online game with the raccoon, or the piles of new books they’ve read. And if that’s what you’ve been doing, I would be so excited to hear all about it.
Of course, the news isn’t always happy. Perhaps the anxiety of the situation is damaging your inner calm. Or perhaps you’ve been affected in a very personal way, or you are stressed because of your essential job which puts you at risk. Or perhaps you are simply frightened, and who can blame you?
And if that’s the case, I would do my very best to comfort you, and promise you that this wouldn’t last forever. I would raise my tea mug in a toast to you for your bravery in these strange, strange times, and remind you that whatever you’re feeling is valid. Because it is.
You would ask me what I’ve been doing, and I would pick up my phone and give you a quick tour of the chaos that is my house right now. I’m partway through rearranging the living room, but that’s only a small part of it.
A few days ago, I finished the first draft of my latest novel. As always, it’s a triumphant and wonderful feeling, but also a miserable one because I’m so lost and unsettled for days afterwards. I’m just about coming out of my “draft hangover” now, aided by the very strong chai tea I would be drinking for our meeting, but these last few days have been a bit of a haze for me.
However, it’s a glorious haze. I would emphasize that to you, because I wouldn’t want you to think I took the good things in my life for granted. This feeling of disquiet after finishing a book is only attainable after finishing the book, so it’s a feeling I welcome. I’d been working on this new draft for almost exactly 5 months (I started it for Nanowrimo). While I enjoy all stages of book creation (except perhaps line editing…) the first draft has always been the most whimsical of all stages. And I really did enjoy it.
What would you tell me if we were having coffee this weekend?