Noticing nature and letting go of certainty

A close up of bluebells surrounded by grass

After a week of work — which involves creating content about the coronavirus for about 7 hours a day, which as you’ve guessed doesn’t provide much opportunity from switching off from the situation we currently find ourselves in — one of the weekend’s simplest pleasures is sitting in the kitchen with a coffee and toast, browsing the internet for more beautifully-written blogs and essays.

I’ve had some of these little links in a document for a few weeks now and wanted to add several more. Here you are. If you do read some of these, let me know which you particularly enjoyed? In the meantime, take care.

The nuances of the everyday have the potential to represent so much more.

This piece via Penguin on how to notice nature, even if all you can count as ‘green space’ near your home is the square of sky outside your window. And breathe…

The author Rebecca Solnit has written about “Letting Go of Certainty in a Story That Never Ends”. She talks about rereading fairytales (and their safe, inevitable endings) during these difficult times, but also about the need to refute that sense of fate when we look to the future. She encourages us, with that in mind, to fight against right-wing mass sacrifice “for the benefit of the few”.

The best rain in literature — because when you’ve seen rain just twice in the past 8 weeks in Scotland of all places, there’s nothing as soothing as reading the most beautifully-crafted words about water.

This pandemic is an opportunity for radical simplification, says Andreas Kluth. I have to say, I agree with so much in this article, providing that simplicity also involves provision to pull those most at need out of poverty.

And on that note, a follow-on piece listing reasons to escape excess consumerism. There is so much good stuff in this article but nevertheless, thoughts began to bubble in my mind that eliminating unnecessary expense is really only possible if you have disposable income — if all your pay goes on rent, tax and essentials then you simply can’t choose what you spend your money on, can you? Then I think, is minimalism just a middle-class aspiration? One to blog about once my ideas become less foggy, perhaps…

Books written after WWI could offer a model for life in our new normal. I loved the links here between the modernist literature of Hemingway and Woolf, and how they “elevate everyday experiences” even in times of tumultuous uncertainty. BRB whilst I go to read A Moveable Feast for the hundredth time…

Our role as poet, as novelist, and essayist, as short story writer, is to make sense of what it means to be.

A writer and blogger I follow, Joanne Amarisa, lives in Melbourne (incidentally where one of my friends is currently ‘staying at home’ halfway around the world) and is journaling her experiences in her series From A Distance. As a regular reader, I see so much of myself in her — this post talks about being passionate, appreciating the little things in life, but nevertheless being exhausted by the weight of our world and expectations (from ourselves and others).

This piece telling writers to keep going, that even if people dismiss your work as non-essential, it is still sacred in its own way. A paean to keep creating — whether you write or paint or garden or build — through crisis.

This blog via Cup of Jo which shares birth stories during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the fact I’m personally not at the stage where I’m even thinking about kids (at all) my best friend — who lives in France — delivered her first baby the day after France went into lockdown. So this blog really touched me, and made me reflect on how thankful I am that she had a healthy baby and is now safe, back at home, with her husband on their farm.

Writers list their joys and worries during the coronavirus pandemic, again via the wonderful Literary Hub.

And lastly, helpful words from wise people.

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