Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Caterpickles Central Update

small grey bird perched on a branch outside a window

This little guy has been stopping by to hang out with us every afternoon. Oddly, my cat never seems to run out of things to say to him. (Photo: Shala Howell)

So this coronavirus thing seems a little scary.

I’m not in any way qualified to write about it, so I won’t be posting about it here. Still, the news around COVID-19 is consuming an awful lot of my mental energy.

We live in Santa Clara County, California — perhaps you’ve heard of it? At the time I wrote this post, the Santa Clara Public Health Department says that there are 37 cases of coronavirus in Santa Clara County. This morning NBC News reported that there are just over 100 coronavirus cases in the entire state of California. So, yeah, I find myself thinking about coronavirus a lot.

On the bright side, we didn’t run out of milk this week for the first time in living memory, I may actually get my taxes done on time this year, I am enjoying the time I’m spending in my new container garden, and I have found myself writing fiction again for the first time in months.

Two frilly white flowers in a small blue vase
Y’all, I grew these myself. In a pot. Outside. #PersonalMilestones (Photo: Shala Howell)

What I don’t find myself doing is a lot of blogging

I regret that.

One of the tough things about my particular brain is that I have trouble switching between various types of writing without taking a sizable break in between. In the before-child times, I solved this by working on one project in the morning, taking a long lunch/walk, and having a second writing session in the afternoon in which I worked on something else.

My life no longer allows me to fit multiple writing sessions into a single day. I just get the one.

Every morning I ask myself which type of writing is most important to get done that day

Today, would I rather write fiction or a blog post? Do I need to write for someone else, or can I work on the next Caterpickles book? And so on. Lately the fiction has been winning out.

Writing is one of the best tools I have for coping with what feels like overwhelming anxiety about things over which I have very little control. Right now, I am significantly calmer on days when I spend time writing (and reading) about a world-that-was, rather than the world-that-is. My writing is also more worth reading when I work on the same project multiple days in a row. So every day I can, I’ve been plugging away on my historical fiction novel, and letting this blog and the next Caterpickles book lie fallow.

Handwritten sign on a toothpick that reads "Chives!"
You know what else has been lying fallow? My chives. I planted them ten days ago, and there’s still no sign of them. (Photo: Shala Howell, Sign: The Twelve-Year-Old Howell)

Which is why posting has been a little spotty lately

I don’t know how long this trend will continue. However long I need it to, I expect.

Still, I know me. Eventually my curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll wander off to explore some random question like “Did dinosaurs have belly buttons?” or “Were potatoes really ever worth their weight in gold?” That’s just how I’m wired.

And when that happens, you know I’ll write about it here on Caterpickles.

What about you?

What have you been doing lately?

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