People often ask me where and how I get ideas for writing a column, week in and week out, as I’ve done for so many years. The answer is easy for a person born to do this and not much else: I gave it first, a long time ago, when the editor who initially handed me this opportunity read my samples and asked, as well an editor should, “Can you keep this coming, week after week, year after year?” And I answered, as a writer should, “That’s a valid question for an editor. The valid question for a writer is, ‘What should I write about next?’ There is always so much to choose from…”
Only this week, I really have no choice: I must write about what has most recently happened to me, because so little else is on my mind right now. I am currently a “displaced person,” banished from my home because of a flood. Or rather — three floods, in quick succession. They have totally destroyed my downstairs floors, and with them the life I’ve lived happily in that house since 1984!
Emergencies always herald — and demand — change. So now I’m living in temporary quarters at a Marriott Residence Inn only a short drive from my home. I’ve been making that drive every other day for about two weeks now, to pick up my mail and see what the workmen are doing. And what I see is virtually (and oh — how I really detest using that word today, in this strangest of all times, even without a flood!) only total destruction of the beautiful teak tile floors that were the main reason my late husband and I chose this house above all others so long ago.
But here, now, life goes on for me as best it can: I get my newspapers; I pay my bills; the computer — the first and most important item to move here with me — keeps up my contacts with the world outside this place. (A very nice place, I must say. It would be excellent for a vacation. But this is no vacation for me…)
I try not to complain. I try not to be too depressed. I am only minimally successful with both of these attempts. I have a nice two-room suite that also offers a compact kitchen housing a full-size refrigerator and freezer, so I don’t lack anything in the food department — and both are regularly stocked with fruits and yogurt from the ample breakfasts provided here each morning, plus lunches brought with them by a stream of visiting friends; we share, but there are always enough leftovers to restock my own supply. And I go out to do my own shopping as necessary — the only relic remaining from my former regular routine. There are laundry facilities on-site so that I can easily care for the small amount of clothing I shoved into my largest duffel bag before my quick departure. There is housekeeping — which I don’t want too much of; I’m used to doing most of my own, and I’m continuing to do most of it here. The shower is excellent, accompanied by towels ample in both size and absorbency; the bed is big and comfortable; there are more drawers than I need, and mirrored closet doors are much better than what I have in my bedroom at home. So how can I complain?
Well, by now you know how: All is grist that comes to a columnist’s mill. How could I NOT share this complaining with you? It’s my most current, “write-able” experience! I can’t say I’ve really enjoyed writing this column, but everything I write is my own truth, with birth in personal experiences that I share weekly, including this week. So please: “enjoy” today’s experience as I have shared it with you here!
Thanks for reading, and together let’s anticipate a more positive story to fill this same space next week…