Wednesday, May 13, 2020

writing gesture and body language

Since last winter I've been revising short fiction set in other countries. Increasingly, especially when working on a story set in the 80s or 90s, I wondered if I was writing historical fiction. No ATM machines. Having to wait for news from home by asking at the American Express Office if a letter had arrived. (A letter as in handwritten pages in an envelope with stamps in the corner.) Sitting in the December sunshine in a park because it was warmer than the unheated room we were renting. Being able to travel on $20/day. Not having to stand in line to get into... well, just about anywhere if you travelled off-season.

In these past... how long has it been? Two months? I'm starting to wonder if I'm writing FANTASY fiction. People drove or got on planes to arrive in a place where the climate and customs and language were different? And then they might share a hotel room with a stranger. I don't mean sex. Just, hey, are you looking for a room, so am I. Wanna share? Not to mention racy little details like touching a person to get their attention. Sharing food. Lending a sweater. Tickling a child that isn't yours and blowing a raspberry on her stomach. All that spit! What a world of potentially germ-infested interactions!  

What is going to happen to our whole lexicon of (germ-infested) interpersonal body language and gesture? From now on, is it all going to be about distance, masks, gloves and face shields? How do you do tone of voice through a mask?  

While pondering that...

The tulips are from our very small backyard where I coaxed some tulips to bloom. I would have liked to leave them outside, enjoying the sun and refrigerated temps of the past couple of weeks. But after the squirrels bit a few heads off, I decided it was a nicer end to come indoors and get blowsy in a vase than to be chomped at the neck. Nicer for me at least. 

I have not yet been able to get into our community garden. (Soon, but not yet.) This is what I can see from the street. Purple marks my rhubarb. I have a couple of black currant bushes and can see my winter garlic too.