Food, Frying Pans and Fiction… Life in Lockdown by Fay Keenan.
My husband took his very life in his hands the other day, when he commented that, surely, life in lockdown was ‘basically the same for you as normal life’. His logic, albeit before I threatened to brain him with the frying pan, was that, since I work from home for three out of five days a week, being at home for the full five couldn’t be that different.
Well, how could I possibly respond to that? (Frying pan notwithstanding!).
For a start, I told him, once I’d put the frying pan safely back in the cupboard, mercifully undented, there’s the fact that there are now four people in this house, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In ‘normal’ life, on a writing day, I’d have walked the kids to school with Bertie, our large but friendly Weimaraner dog, then come back home, done a few housework jobs and then cracked on with whatever writing was required to meet my latest deadline. The blissful silence of my working days would be interrupted occasionally by a bark from the dog or an email notification, but that would be pretty much it. I had a groove, a pace, and I was in control of that.
Now, of course, things are a little different. Daft comments aside, I am fortunate to have a husband at home to help share the childcare and as much home learning as we can reasonably expect the children to do, but there have still been a lot of fundamental changes to my working day which have taken some getting used to. These range from the basics of who eats what, when, to establishing as much of a routine as is possible, for all of us. I mean, who knew that my days would now be preoccupied with thinking of food choices three times a day?! BL (Before Lockdown), my children ate at school, my husband was also at school full time as a teacher and the dog didn’t eat lunch. I only had to worry about getting a sandwich down myself before the second school run. Now, mealtimes seem to be occupying a fair bit of my brain. This has actually been quite a good thing in terms of getting as much good stuff into the children and ourselves as we can, but I can’t help wondering if this brain power might not be better used writing novels! It’s like my inner 1950s housewife has reared her head, heedless of the fact that I still have two other jobs to try to complete on a working day.
However, food and frying pans aside, I think I’m finally getting into the lockdown routine. Sure, so some days are easier than others, but that’s not surprising. Outside space, and getting some fresh air, has become more important than ever, and even if the children are watching a bit more YouTube (OK, a lot more!) than they ever have, we’re all happy, healthy and managing, occasionally, to complete some work, for which I am hugely grateful. My lofty aim of writing the next book in four months might have gone out of the window for now, but that’s not the end of the world, since my next deadline’s a little way off yet. So, even if my wine consumption might be spiking when days get really tricky, actually, I have a lot to be thankful for. And while ‘Lockdown Life’ is most emphatically not the same as ‘Normal Life’, it does come with its own pleasures as well as its challenges. Perhaps, in the end, it will also provide some future writing inspiration!
Fay’s novel The Weekender is available in ebook, audiobook and paperback now. Click on the cover below to get your copy.