Sunday, April 5, 2020

Hot tea and comfort reads

Surviving a pandemic requires two things:

Hot Tea
To calm the mind and warm the heart
African Solstice is preferred. 

Comfort Reads 
To disappear into a guaranteed happy ending
Books I’ve read before are preferred. 

Check out this list of Comfort Reads and make your own at home!

Fangirl
Harry Potter
Mr. And Mrs. Bo Jo Jones
In The Unlikely Event
On The Come Up
Simon Vs. The Homosapien Agenda
A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Twilight
Hunger Games
Anything by David Sedaris 
Most Ardently 
Merry March Mysteries 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Water

Water flows and cascades,
Cleansing and calming me,
And clearing a path to be free. 

Water settles and smooths,
Moving from glass to tongue,
And fueling me for the day to come. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

So busy in a slow life

The schedule is packed but we never go anywhere, so many things to do just in this house: emails, Zoom, social distancing virtual happy hours, dinner to cook, bathrooms to clean and books that won’t write themselves. 

Social media requires attention, as do our dying plants and the garage that suddenly can’t go another day looking such a wreck,
Research must be done, online shopping has begun. If I had a day planner it would be full or all the things I do now that I have no where else to go! 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Craft life

Pencils, cardstock, scissors, glue sticks, shredded paper in a bag,
Pastels, paints, felt, envelopes and colored pencils in a box, 

What will they become when their transformation, reformation, amalgamation is complete? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The shortest commute

The alarm goes off thirty minutes before I must be in my chair on a conference call,
That’s ten minutes to shower, ten to get dressed and ten to eat,
Sometimes I just eat later. 

My commute from work in my office to the kitchen is oddly short,
Thus the number of chocolate chips consumed per day has gone up and up. 




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Books, and podcasts and real friends

If I'm going to get through this being home all the time,
endless hours in front of computer screens, noticing that it's long past time I changed these drapes and cleaned this carpet and sorted through all the things we have for no apparent reason,
I'm going to need books and podcasts and real friends,
the kinds of books that transport me to some other world where the CIA is just a backdrop for a steamy love story and the end is guaranteed to be happy even if it leaves just enough unsolved to bring me back for the next one,
and, please, I need the podcasts where authors talk about what they cook, and how they write, and the way characters show up and poke at your insides until you bleed them out onto the page and then sometimes even then they aren't fully satisfied and they keep pushing until they burst out of you in prose you can actually be proud of, at least until you reread it tomorrow,
And I'm looking at you friend, the one who takes my phone call and tells me something that gets me laughing so hard that I forget why we aren't seeing each other in real life any more,
virtual happy hours, Saturday mornings on zoom, stolen moments laying in bed while your kids pop into your room and mine stays upstairs being sixteen and pretending she isn't related to me.
If I'm going to get through this being home all the time,
I"m going to need books, and podcasts and real friends.
But not necessarily in that order.



Monday, March 30, 2020

Hot tea in the morning

My mug steams into the cool morning air,
Despite the grey skies birds chirp somewhere,
My tea calls itself African Solstice and with every sip I am almost somewhere warmer and more magical. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday sunshine

Blue skies, the wind shifts tree branches back and forth across white clouds, 
And even though the world is strange and wrong in so many ways just now,
the sunshine washes it all away and for a moment it’s warm and cheerful,
And I wonder if anybody ever gets as low in California as we do here,
Where the is sun is an absentee parent who only comes by every couple of weeks to try to be the fun one,
And we forgive her every time because it’s all so beautiful while she’s there. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday morning

The house is the kind of quiet that only happens when every other inhabitant is asleep,
The stillness almost meets me like a friend, calming somehow,
The mute light dripping in through the window is tempered by a grey sky,
And I am revelling in the moment, solitude wrapping me in a hearty embrace. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday’s Choices

Read the news and stagger under the weight of it, can’t you feel it pressing against your chest?
Is that panic or a symptom?
In the middle of the night I can’t sort between the two.

OR

Ignore the outside world. Focus on my work, my peanut butter sandwich, a walk in the warmth with a blue sky over head. 
What’s going on out there?
In soft daylight maybe it doesn’t matter. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thursday’s crafts

Pencils, markers and a stack of cardstock,
Strewn across a kitchen table
Glitter, glue and scissors with jewels on the handle, 
Wait to be turned into creations,

Let’s build a world, a window to any where but here,
And we can fly there on paper mache wings, held together with twine and wishes 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Wednesday: Birthday in Quarentine

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ZpNbtG26-uGBRHdTDTwz7J2a6096wsD3The party is small but mighty
Four around a lemon cake
Drenched in lemonade
And hopes for better birthdays to come

Sweet sixteen with no BMV to take a driving test, or gaggle of friends to sleepover, has a an odd odor to it that the make shift decorations can’t fully cover up

But she smiles and she is thankful we are together,
And we play that game that she loved when she was six,
And there is sunlight pouring in the window 
And for a moment it’s just a really good birthday and that’s something 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tuesday: A Cleaning Poem

I lather my hands with lavender soap,
like today is any normal clean, smart day.
We don't worry about new odd germs, nope,
nothing to see, it's just our usual way. 

Haven't I always wiped off my door knobs, 
polishing the metal to make it gleam?
And don't get me started on my key fobs,
which are never as easy as they seem. 

Yes, I washed my shirt after going to the store,
but that's super normal, I always do.
It's all so routine, and even a bore.
Say it enough I can make it be true. 

I scour and sanitize just for the fun,
Not thinking about the battle to be won. 



Monday, March 23, 2020

A Monday Poem

An etched purple sky greets me as I settle down at my desk
What was once a community activity is a solitary pursuit
In the hours to come we will open up the phone lines and shout across the distance
But now as birds chirp outside my window, it's just me and the glowing white screen

So on this brewing Monday morning I type in passwords and connect systems
And I focus on my gratitude that I can do this thing from this place when so many can't

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Poem: Sunday Morning

The sun criss-crosses my living room floor, 
changing the carpet from brown to gold,
the way it shifts my perspective, somehow.

Some Spanish words sung with heart over a moaning guitar,
making their way from the other side of the house,
and I write my own meaning as I cannot translate more than the feeling.

Someone is baking, and the sweet aroma is in the air,
filling me up with yearning for cookies that melt in my mouth,
the way they take me back to a childhood kitchen long since lost.

Three prints sit side-by-side over our mantel bringing vibrant women to life,
working in ancient times, printed and inked from a holy place,
and I find my own symbols in them, letting the story shift to meet me where I am.

Jenna Grinstead
Copywrite 2020

Poetry in the time of Covid-19

As we all adjust to new schedules, worries and lives in the wake of this pandemic, I find myself thinking a lot about the power of poetry. I'm reading more poetry by inspiring writers like Maggie Smith and Maya Angelou and e.e. Cummings. 

I've always loved to write poems, though I'm not the best at understanding and following all of the rules that go along with some forms of poetry. But I also know that poetry can be what we make it-- and it can free our souls when despair threatens to take them over. 

So, for the balance of this pandemic I plan to post a poem each day with the intent of bringing some more love and understanding into the world. 

If you'd like to add your poems to the comments or email them to me at jennagrinstead@gmail.com, I'd love to feature your work in this forum, as well. 

Let's work together to bring a little more connection to the world through poetry in this trying times. 


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Doing our part for the good of everyone...

The rise of a global pandemic has a way of slowing life down. Here in Ohio our Governor has closed schools for three weeks, many businesses are shifting to work from home or closing all together and evening and weekend activities are disappearing faster than you can say "Covid-19".

Since my mom and step-dad are both immune compromised I'm especially glad to see the swift action our leaders are taking to try to flatten out the curve for who will get this virus and when. All that being said, it's an interesting time to be a writer.

The hours spent at home are great for getting more writing than ever done and I've been making progress on editing my manuscript. It's also a good time to be a reader. I downloaded three novellas today and I'll be sinking in to fictional worlds to live out the many things we can't do right now-- like travel or eat out in restaurants.

A friend of mine who is a very talented crafter is thinking about putting together a fun do-it-yourself-at-home craft for her Instagram followers and we may even pair that up with a romance novel recommendation.

So, I'm keeping busy during this unprecedented time, but also taking time to spend with my children and husband and making sure my parents have what they need to get through these days, as well.

I hope you're taking care of those you love and that we'll all be able to look back on this time and be grateful that we were successful in slowing this pandemic down.



Sunday, February 9, 2020

You have to stand for something...

Growing up my mother often told us that we had to "stand for something, or we'd fall for anything." She always encouraged us to live our convictions through our choices. Through out my life I've always asked myself whether what I'm doing is aligned with who I want to be. I am careful about where I spend my dollars and I am careful about where I spent my time.

The Romance Writer's of America became embroiled in a scandal in late 2019 that had been brewing for many years. The scandal broke because of the way the organization's institutional racism drove them to punish Coutney Milan, a prominent anti-racism force on the board of directors. Everything that happened after that initial decision reinforced that the organization had no real remorse and no plans to change the institutional processes and culture that led to their racist actions.

Because of the in late 2019 I resigned from the Romance Writer's of America (RWA). It was not a hard decision because I knew it was absolutely the right thing to do. It has been, and continues to be, hard to lose the connection and community that RWA provided to me as an aspiring writer. I met my critique partners in a local chapter. I attended and even spoke at a national conference. I entered many RWA contests, attended regional events and conferences in more than one state and I owe much of my growth as a writer to the feedback and insights I received through these experiences. I've learned and grown as a writer because of RWA.

And, yet, that growth may have come at the expense of marginalized people. My growth came at the expense of the safety and inclusion of people of color. It came through an organization that has struggled to free itself of racism, anti-semitism and homophobia. And, that can't be something I stand by and allow. I have to use my voice and take my investment elsewhere.

I'm disappointed in the organization and a substantial chunk of our membership, and I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't take the time to understand more fully what was happening in this organization that I paid dues to and supported.

I thank Courtney Milan for all she did to try to create a change, and I will continue to follow her lead and do my best to have her back as a writer and a woman, though we have never met.

If you haven't read the complete history of how we got to this moment where many of us can no longer belong to this organization check out this blog: https://www.claireryanauthor.com/blog/2019/12/27/the-implosion-of-the-rwa