đź’¬ Guest Post: Love Connections in a Pandemic

So, hi there. It’s been a while since I posted anything new here, almost a year in fact. And a LOT has changed in my life, and yours, considering we’re currently living in a pandemic. 

During my time away I’d been working on a book and falling out of a marriage, then falling out of a book and trying to rewrite my life.

It’s been… a lot.

But in the meantime I’ve made new friends and forged new paths in writing and in life.  I wanted to share something a friend of mine wrote about living through a pandemic AND divorce. I’m publishing it anonymously, for reasons which may be obvious. There’s nothing shameful or secret here, but privacy is something I respect, and ask that you do as well.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did…  

Love Connections in a Pandemic
by Anon

It all started as the world was shutting down. Schools had closed. Non-essential businesses were closing. Grocery store shelves were barren. The world as we knew it was ending.

Simultaneously, my Bumble account was blowing up. The notifications kept coming in, “We know you’re a catch – and someone else does too! Open Bumble to see who wants to meet you.” Huh?

bumble edited

Last minute attempts for a hook-up??? Perhaps. Lonely, bored singles looking for a connection? Also likely.

I scrolled through my growing hive (or what Bumble refers to as the Beeline) and found some choice matches. The convos started, “Hi Mark, nice profile. All stocked up for the pandemic?” In my limited experience on Bumble thus far, these convo starters, always initiated by the woman per Bumble protocol, don’t always elicit a response.

Not the case in Coronaville. The convos were rampant. Lots of back and forth, with many potential suitors. It was hard keeping up. On any given night it was easy to find myself in 3 or 4 conversations at any given time.

woman long dark hair phone

My married friends were baffled, my therapist amused. How could this be?! This was a fun and a necessary distraction from the crumbling world around us, but now what?

Apparently, it was time to up the ante.

As a newly single mother of many, I’m new to this online dating game. But, as boredom ensued, the possibilities started opening up. Sexy photos were sent. A staged photo shoot in my closet, hidden from view was a must.

There were some mishaps – don’t forget to turn off the live camera setting – it’s amazing what can be captured in 1.5 seconds of video. But, it was fun being sexy in what was quickly becoming an otherwise sexless world.

My married friends were presumably doing it – lots of jokes circulating about a 2020 Christmas baby boom. I wanted in on the action. Time to up the ante, again. Not sure how it started, but it didn’t take long to engage in what may have previously been perceived as raunchy or daunting.

Who knew simultaneous sexting orgasms were not only possible, but also addicting? 2pm in a pandemic world – why not run up to the bedroom for a quickie sext exchange?! “Hey baby, what are you doing right now cause I can’t stop thinking about your…?”

As I dove deeper and deeper into sexting and gained confidence in this new-found talent, I realized I wasn’t the only one. Glamour recently posted this helpful how-to article for newbies, but if you’d like to read some sizzling examples from the pros, look no further than Cosmo, of course.

With potentially several more months of quarantine and social distancing on the horizon, don’t let this untapped source of fun and distraction pass by. Take the first step, send that sexy photo or text (with permission of course.)

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You don’t have to be divorced or single to join in. Send a suggestive text or pic to your spouse or partner. Quarantine doesn’t have to be torture 100% of the time.

My next adventure is audio recordings… what’s yours?

Feel free to leave your thoughts in comments below. Be respectful and kind. If sexting isn’t your cup of pandemic tea, move along. Otherwise chime in!

 

Grief Roar

Summer is flying by, and while my morning writing routine (#writinglikeamother) has slowed due to life and kids (also known as life with kids), I’ve managed to carve out time to work on my upcoming journaling course, Crossing the River: Writing Through Grief coming this Fall 2016 scheduling update: JANUARY 2017 on The Gift of Writing.

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I’ve filmed several lessons which has proved both humbling and inspiring. As a writer, I’m used to being hunched over my computer with a furrowed brow, not staring back at my face on a screen.

Despite my initial discomfort at being in front of the camera, I’m thrilled to facilitate a writing course I know would have helped me after my mother’s death. Since much of my mourning occurred in (self-imposed) isolation, I suspect having a community to share my emotions with, and my words, would have been a lifeline.

[Please note, this course is NOT intended only for those suffering a loss from death, but ANY kind of grief. The scope or size does not matter, nor does how much time has passed.]

Recently I returned to Jena Schwartz’s Roar Sessions with a guest post about muted grief, and what might happen if we open up our mouths and hearts. I’d be honored for you to head over there and check it out.

If you’d like to be put on the mailing list for information about my course, and the upcoming free (!) online seminar, click here.

Thank you for letting me chime in during the craze and haze of summer’s end. I hope you’re enjoying these finale weeks. I am, as always, feeling both bitter and sweet about it.

Dana xoxo

 

 

Grief 3 Ways

As you may have noticed, there is a running theme here lately, about grief.

I didn’t intend to write so much about it, but that’s the thing about writing – you don’t always choose your subjects. Sometimes, they choose you.

When my mom died, she was all I could think about, write about, but I kept it mostly private. This was almost nine years ago, when the blogging and online world was quite different. I wrote – as I’ve always done – to understand. It was more instinct than decision. Now, the journals I filled have become a reference for the work I’m doing now.

I’m almost done writing the content of my grief course which I’ll be facilitating on the site, The Gift of Writing, and it’s been quite a journey. Despite all the time that has passed, I’ve learned things about my mom and myself I didn’t know before. That is one of the hopes I have for the people who join my class. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up, you just have to be willing to write.

If you’re interested in receiving updates about the class, click here to add your name to the wait list and you’ll be notified when registration opens.

In the meantime…

grief 3 ways

I recently wrote a guest post on The Gift of Writing called, Every Grief Counts: How to Honor Your Grieving Experience. I feel strongly about the importance of this post because I think there can be a sense of competitiveness and comparison when it comes to grief.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that grief is extremely personal. But the questions still rise up. How long is it appropriate to grieve? Are some losses “worse” than others? Please take a look at the article if you haven’t seen it already, or pass it along to anyone you think may be interested.

I also wrote an essay about my mother and her caregiver, Lucie, and the different ways both women showed me their love. You can read that here, on the lovely site, Mothers Always Write.

Last, but not remotely least, I am so proud of my friend Anastasia for the second book in her Ordinary Terrible Things series, Death is Stupid, published by Feminist Press.

death is stupid

Using her gift of collage and her deep well of empathy, she has created a wholly original book about death – including all the nonsense (well meaning and otherwise) that people say to children when someone they love dies. I urge you to watch the book trailer, which will give you a glimpse at the magic she makes with words and art.

Just to assure you, despite all my grief-making work, I am not at all depressed. It’s spring, one of my favorite seasons, and I’ve seen enough daffodils and forsythia to prove it. Sure, the chilling temperatures are a bit of a downer (and I’m very sorry to my upstate and New England friends for SNOW, not cool), but sometimes I think we forget the capricious, fickle, and teasing nature of April.

It’s still early spring, nestled up against the cold cusp of winter, and maybe clinging to the old season a little more tightly than usual. I imagine a dozing bear, annoyed at being roused, and yearning for just a little more sleep before it lumbers out into the sunshine.

Here’s hoping it lumbers out sooner than later.

 

 

Grieving While Pregnant

A few weeks ago on Facebook, one of my favorite sites, What’s Your Grief, asked readers to offer advice or pose questions about how to parent while grieving. This immediately caught my attention. Parenting while grieving is the only way I know since my mom died shortly before I became pregnant with my first child.

Pregnant with Emma Feb2008 copy

February 2008 pregnant with my daughter, my mom’s portrait beside me

On a whim, I decided to pitch the site an idea about grieving while pregnant, my other unfortunate expertise. To my surprise and pleasure, my pitch was accepted. I immediately started taking notes. I couldn’t write fast enough. Clearly, this idea had been brewing in my subconscious for, well, years.

If you haven’t seen it already, I would be so honored if you’d stop by and take a look, or perhaps send the essay to someone who might be able to relate. Click on the link below to head over to the site.

Making Time For Grief During Pregnancy

Thank you again!

The Art of Finishing: Guest Post

You have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures… And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking. – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

I’m so pleased to be up on The Gift of Writing with my latest guest post, The Art of Finishing: Manifest Your Writing Goals.

I’ve mentioned my struggle with my novel-in-progress more than a few times here on the blog, and it’s a challenge I suspect many can relate to whether or not you write. In my post I offer three simple ways to move past your own resistance, which can be defined as any thing, thought, or person that keeps you from achieving your goals.

Writing the essay helped clarify my own plan and I hope it helps others who find themselves stuck or sidetracked in any aspect of life, artistic or otherwise.

Please click here if you’re interested in reading the article. As always I’m honored by your support in whatever form it arrives!

P.S. If you haven’t already, consider signing up for my newsletter. You don’t want to miss my  upcoming Valentine’s Day inspired theme – Falling in Love with Podcasts: The Literary Edition!

Out in the World

“Motherhood is an endless cycle of letting go, a constant reconfiguring of rules and boundaries. You have to be flexible, quick to shift and shed. These are things I struggle with in regular life, and as a mother, even more.”

One of my recent posts, Grief and Gray Days, is now up on Mamalode! I’m so thrilled to be on their site, which is filled with thoughtful and lyrical musings about motherhood.

If you haven’t read the essay yet, please head over to check it out. I love that it’s getting a second life.

white sky day

Thank you as always!

Magical Thinking

A book arrived at my home the other day and I greeted it with much anticipation. The cover looked like candy, but I knew what was waiting inside was even better.

big magic

Elizabeth Gilbert chose the perfect title for her book about creativity. I devoured it within forty-eight hours, maybe less. It’s the kind of book you can literally open to any page and find a glittering gem of inspiration, a quote to hang on your wall, or keep close to your heart. She encourages curiosity, discipline, persistence, and play, among other things.

Persistence is key for me right now, and more specifically, persistence with the possibility of no pay-off. Gilbert nails all my fears and anxieties with this quote:

There is no guarantee of success in creative realms. Not for you, not for me, not for anyone. Not now, not ever.

Will you put forth your work anyhow?

The answer, simply, is yes.

I wrote about how I arrived at this conclusion on The Gift of Writing in an essay called, Magical Thinking: Creating Despite the Odds. Please visit me there if the topic resonates.

I’d love to hear what you think about persistence, and what passions you may be following with no guarantee of commercial success, and what keeps you motivated.