Quarantined at the Keyboard: An evening of playing with writing prompts with your host, Fran Severn
In March, quarantine seemed almost exciting; it was a drastic move to address a drastic situation. We were up to the challenge! We developed the tracking instincts of a well-trained bird dog as we sussed out the last stockpiles of disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, and antiseptic alcohol. We signed up for half a dozen streaming services, reveling in the opportunity to enjoy cultural programming, rediscover old TV series, and watch Jimmy Buffett concerts twice a week. We downloaded books and spent far too much time and money shopping online. We vowed to work out every day and emerge from quarantine with a body that would make Beyonce spit. If we had kids, we jumped into the home-schooling programs with willingness, if not exactly enthusiasm, certain that this was temporary and come September, we’d be back to normal.
And, hey, think of all the time we’d have to write! No outside distractions (unless you had kids). No excuses not to be at the keyboard. A writer’s Nirvana!
Six months on and we’ve had enough fun. Enough of the pioneering spirit; we want to go to Agave Azul with our friends and order a Margarita Swirl; find what we are looking for at the first grocery store we hit; and gorge ourselves on a bucket of popcorn (extra butter) at a movie. We’ve abandoned the workouts in favor of sourdough bread and Peppermint Patty brownies. Parents are occasionally considering retroactive birth control and think that schoolteachers are not paid enough. Ever.
Writing? We’re feeling flat, uninspired. The mental stimulation we get from interaction with other people and other places is missing. FaceBook posts just raise our blood pressure and there is no inspiration watching re-runs of Poirot. Most days, we aren’t writing; we’re typing. And the bloody keyboard doesn’t spell any better now than it did in March.
It’s time for a mental reboot! Time to get together with other writers and have some fun. Shake up the little grey cells with some new ideas. Share stories and recharge our enthusiasm.
It’s time for “Quarantined at the Keyboard.” On Monday, January 11th, I’ll post a few writing prompts on ESWA's private FB page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/eswa.marketing) and on email to those that register. Pick which one(s) you want and play with them. On the evening of Thursday, January 14th, we’ll ZOOM together and share our writing. The operative word here is ‘fun.’ Shake up your imagination. Get silly. No gloom or depression allowed. That is a very real problem right now, especially for those of us who are naturally inclined to be somewhat isolated. An energetic evening of creative silliness can help turn that around. So check out the ESWA site or email on Monday and join us on Thursday.
Fran Severn is the Past President of ESWA. She has over 200 credits in regional, national, and international publications, writing about everything from PEEPS (yes, the little yellow marshmallow birds) to the ethics of in utero surgery. Working with Insight Travel Guides in London, UK, she’s written guidebooks about New England, Washington DC, and Australia. She also wrote and published “Art Drives on Delmarva, a guide to art venues and museums on Delmarva.” An avid horsewoman, she contributes to several equine-centric magazines. In past incarnations, she was the PR Director for the Maryland Office or Tourism Development, a radio newscaster and DJ, and taught broadcast and technical writing at the community college and university levels. Hanging over her desk in her home office in Salisbury is a picture of Severus Snape asking, “Shouldn’t you be writing right now?” You can view her writing at: www.severnwriter.com