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First Five Fragments for Friday: "Stay at Home, World"

First Five Fragments for Friday is your weekly offering of writing/art/conversation prompts.

As we continue to hunker down at home, we may feel a bit confined. I prefer to look at working at home as the best kind of commute, a cozy office, or even a sanctuary. I am not at home to wallow or panic or hoard toilet paper. I am at home to simplify life in this moment, to allow for a future with a vaccine that will help us, and increase the probability that those I love will be there, too. Internet connections have allowed us to continue much of what we do, maintain social connections, and find diversions or information as needed.

That said, I've also been thinking about how my parents, for example, spent their time at home without internet, cable television or streaming services. It pleases me to think about a slower pace, a life full of things that offer a more soothing array of options with which to fill my days. There are things I already do that fall into that slower- paced place: cooking, gardening, hiking.

I've still found myself pacing around like a caged animal every once in a while. That's when I fret about viruses, health care, those I know who are vulnerable, those I know on the front lines, people who panic, and the less-than-thoughtful comments flying around on social media. And it does me no good.

How about you?

Here are five things that might help. Accompanying coffee, chocolate, or whiskey optional.

  1. Have a video chat with a kid. I read a book to my granddaughter Camille this week and she read one to my partner Mick and me via FaceTime.

  2. Stand outside early in the morning and just listen. Where I live, traffic noise has plummeted, while the sound of birds in the business of making more birds has become quite loud. It's a great thing to listen to first thing in the morning, and it's almost impossible not to smile while listening.

  3. Take a picture of one beautiful thing every day. It can be a sunrise, a plant poking through the still-cold earth, a bud on a tree, a bird on a branch, a perfectly-baked loaf of bread. Whatever makes you happy to look at is beautiful.

  4. Write down five things you're grateful for every day. Anything, no matter how small, that you might otherwise take for granted counts. Mine for today: pencils that feel nice in my hand, a little statue of the Buddha on my desk that my daughter gave me years ago, the file of story ideas for a joint project with my son, mild banana peppers to go on nachos at lunch, yoga mat cleaner that smells like lavender.

  5. Scatter houseplants around the house. Mick's office plants have also come home to shelter-in-place and they make our kitchen feel completely different. I want to try taking cuttings, growing some new ones, expanding our indoor garden.

Happy Friday, everyone. Be safe, be kind, be grateful.

Here's my desktop Buddha from Abby, with a bonus Buddha behind him:

One more thing: My next scheduled New Book News

If you have a newly-published book or chapbook you'd like to share with the world, please consider including your publication information in the next New Book News here at One Minnesota Writer. Once a month, New Book News shares publication information with links on where to purchase new books to help writers everywhere get their work into the hands of readers everywhere.

Submit your publication information (name, book title, publisher, release date, <100 word description, link to purchasing info) via my contact form HERE.

The next New Book News will appear on Wednesday, April 22.

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