Pandemic Diary: “All sanity depends on this”


I’m writing with one hand and petting Bumblebee with the other, scratching her under her chinny-chin-chin. Her eyes are narrowing in pleasure—now they’re closed. I stop petting and she paws at me—I resume scratching, this time, behind her ears. I’m good at this. I have three children—I’ve been writing with one hand while the other was holding, caressing a child most of my life.

It’s -28… -32 degrees Celsius—feels like -100—and I started my morning with a walk around the block with the beast. Now, there’s an impatient companion beside me as I write and her presence is both comforting and disruptive. It feels good, warm, relaxing—and then, she’s barking, interrupting what was about to become flow.

I soothe her, return to the page.


So far, February does not suck. It’s cold as fuck, but the sun has been out on most days and my Mom the ER nurse has been vaccinated, and you’re feeling more positive about life and so, I think, am I. The kids, I can’t say they’re thriving, but they’re doing ok. Cinder is working and Flora is battling math homework and Ender is playing video games with his friends. Happy, thriving? I don’t know, I don’t think so. But ok, coping. Can’t really ask for more, not in 2020.v.2


I’ve finally started writing 2021 more consistently as the current year’s date. Funny how hard it has been to let go of 2020—funny how, this year, January 1 did seem like the most arbitrary of milestones. What changed? Nothing, nada, nic. January 2021 seems to have belonged, in its entirety, for me and for you, to 2020.

February is beginning to feel like a new year, a new page, a new beginning.


On the first Friday in February, I give one of my loves an amazing birthday. We are both a little shocked by how amazing the night and our party of two turns out. He did not want to celebrate at all—“Everything is closed, nothing to do, can’t invite anyone, it will suck”—and the only counter I had to offer was, “But… balloons?”

But between the balloons, ice cream, psilocybin and Leonard Cohen, it was an unforgettable, amazing birthday.

Fuck you, COVID-19.

(Thank you, psilocybin. And ice cream.)

Humans are like cockroaches. We adapt. We can survive in any climate, on virtually any diet. We can find joy and happiness in month 12 of the pandemic.

(It has been twelve fucking months people, if you’re wondering why you’re going off your nut—it’s because it’s been twelve months.)

But please take your “If it weren’t for COVID, we never would have learned that…” meme and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Just because we CAN make the best of a shitty situation doesn’t make that situation desirable.


Doris Lessing wrote, ““All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones moving easily under the flesh.” So it may be -100 degrees in Viking Hell, but today, again, it’s sunny and I feel the sun, and also biting frost, on my face as I walk the dog towards the kids’ house. I’m going to drive Ender the six blocks to my place, because I can spare him the frigid seven minute walk, and I’ve never understood how freezing your ass off and risking frostbite when you don’t have to builds character. We’re going to crank up the fireplace and drink hot chocolate and for lunch, I think, I’ll make spaghetti carbonara—make the house smell like bacon. It will drive the dogs crazy… but in a good way. I’ll drive Ender back to the coop, then take Cinder to work, pick him up . In-between, write, checkto see if Flora’s started reading Che Gueverra’s biography, eat some chocolate—crank up the fireplace.

The house will still smell like bacon when you come over for supper tonight, and it will be a good day.

The dog, now stretched out on the cold hardwood floor, and not demanding pets, agrees.



A good week (Week 6: Execute, Regroup)


On Sunday, I had an idea; on Monday, I executed; on Tuesday, I had results. On Wednesday, I worked like mad; on Thursday, I found out I didn’t have to; on Friday, I regrouped. On Saturday, I thought perhaps I’d fall in love—on Sunday, I will be disciplined.


Cinder writes his first quizzes of the semester. An 87.5% in math, 92% in science, no holes punched in the walls. I’d say “unschooling for the win,” except for all th eholes punched in the walls last semester.

You: Not feeling too smug?

Jane: No. Satisfied—but not smug.


Much of this week, I spend in Viking Hell. By which I mean it is so cold your snot and tears freeze before you finish locking your front door.


It’s pretty.


I am reading this:

Also, these:

Which do  you think is more fun?


Jane: Come here. Talk to me. I feel I neglect you horribly these days.

Flora: I’m quite happy being neglected. Except for food. Can you please go buy some groceries?

Jane: But it’s minus 100 outside!

I ask Sean to stop at Safeway on his way home from work.

It’s like taking down a mammoth, 21st century Homo sapiens style.


From the process journal (Friday):

“forgot to…”


“Forgot to” … WHAT?

I don’t remember, I don’t remember, I don’t remember.

Wait. … Maybe?




What did I forget?


“She tells me I seem so very open. I tell her it’s only because she doesn’t know me well enough to see how much I don’t tell.”

I tell other writers nothing is sacred, and to never fall in love with their words.

But I quite like the promise of those ones.


Until Saturday night, it was a really good week; I only cried a little. Then I cried a lot.

It’s a good thing I planned to be disciplined, on Sunday.

You: I hate it when you vague-blog.

Jane: I hate it when you don’t appreciate how hard it is for me to share as much as I do share.




The year started with a Monday; so does every week (Week 1: Transitions and Intentions)

Easier than you think, harder than I expected: a week in eleven stanzas (Week 2: Goodness and Selfishness)

A moody story (Week 3: Ebb and Flow)

Do it full out (Week 4: Passions and Outcomes)

The Buddha was a psychopath and other heresies (Week 5: No Cohesion)