Creativity During the Pandemic

At long last, I am back writing for this blog. As I start out, I don’t yet know where this post is going, except to catch up on the last four months since I posted here.

Like everyone, the pandemic has changed my world. So many things I held dear, such as getting together with friends over meals, attending a full sanctuary at church, traveling, and attending social gatherings have all ceased. These are what I miss most. Then there is the drying up of creativity in certain arenas. I no longer crochet rugs or mats from old sheets. I’ve read one book since the pandemic came to our area. And as I’ve mentioned, I’ve not been writing for this blog. Today I’m changing at least one of these things.

Much of my creativity has been channeled into my work. The three pastors at our church, my colleague Jane, and I have been working together as a team to find as many ways to connect to people in the congregation as we can. I’m editing a weekly newsletter called “From across the Fence” that keeps attenders up-to-date on news of individuals and families. This is a fun venture. I also help create the weekly bulletin, list of prayer requests, and community news that lists announcements of happenings here in the Shenandoah Valley. I’m so grateful that this position allows me to use my skills and interests in the ways that it does. Without it, I might be floundering a lot more.

Thank goodness for my two writing groups. They keep me engaged in crafting my new book. As is common, the book I started writing isn’t the book I’m ending up writing. As it turns out, I am replacing my first book. I decided to end my contract with my first publisher for Why I Left the Amish. It will go out of print on December 31, 2020. Once I find a publishing channel, I will replace it with the book I’m crafting now. This one is so far titled, If You Promise You Won’t Tell.

My perspective has changed in the twelve years since I finished writing Why I Left the Amish. My sense of what to include in the book and what not to is different, and so is my perspective on my parents and the abuse I endured. When I wrote the first book, I only allowed myself to remember Mem as a nurturing mother, and I saw Datt and Joe as my abusers. I have faced the hard truth that Mem had two sides — a nurturing one, and a harsh and abusive one. It was hard to face the realization that I did not have even one consistent advocate in the family from the time I was five and the punitive side of Mem showed up. Fortunately for me, I had two advocates within the community, and it is possibly because of these two people believing in me that I was able to believe in myself and  to face this hard truth.

If You Promise You Won’t Tell is written in chronological order, starting from what I’ve been told about my birth. It also includes my earliest memories of Mem as a nurturing mother before the abuse began. There are only a few stories that overlap with Why I Left the Amish from my childhood years. There are more stories repeated of young adult years, and the chapters about leaving the first time are similar to the first book.

In my next post, I will share the introduction for If You Promise You Won’t Tell.

If you have been wanting to buy a copy of Why I Left the Amish and haven’t, you still have five months to do so. There are several ways to order, which you will find on the purchase page of my website. This includes a signed copy directly from me.

In the same way that I didn’t know how this post was going to end, I’m trying to decide what photo I can include here. I think one of my childhood home is appropriate. This one was taken in June 1981, the day of my sister Susan’s wedding. David was not invited to the wedding. I was under the condition that I wear Amish clothes. David came and picked me up after the wedding ceremony. We were alone at the homestead while everyone else was at the wedding reception. We took lots of photos.

My Childhood Home

As I end this, I am remembering how thrilling it is to receive responses from you, dear readers. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Will you write about how the pandemic may have altered your creativity?

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11 thoughts on “Creativity During the Pandemic”

  1. Hi Saloma, I was so happy to see you appear in my “in box” today. Happy to hear you have pulled through this terrible pandemic. My family and I have faired well, thankfully. The picture of your childhood home looks very quaint. I’m sorry that it wasn’t a happy, safe place for you. Looking forward to your future posts as always, Christine

  2. Melody Siminski

    Good to hear from you Saloma. Excited to hear more about your new book. One question I have, why did you stop crocheting rugs? I’ve alway wanted to know how to do this.

    1. I don’t know the answer to your question, Melody. Maybe I was already coming around to being done with crocheting, but I know that once the pandemic hit, I lost all desire to continue with it. Then I had “mouse arm” from being on the computer so much, which made crocheting impossible. Now that I’ve healed that with a roller mouse, I still have no desire to take it up again.

      I’m also thinking my creativity is being channeled into my work more than before.

      I wish it was possible for you and me to get together. I would teach you the craft. Perhaps when we get past the concern for the contagion, we can do that.

  3. Dear Saloma – So glad to hear that you are coming out with another book. I’ve read both of the other ones and am eagerly awaiting for this one to come out. Since March 4th, I have been off of our property exactly two times! My husband has volunteered to be the one out running around. Besides, I one truck blew the transmission and it’s taken several months of “saving” to get a new one and get it fixed. So, I haven’t had a vehicle to go anywhere (even if I wanted to!). It sure has been a strange year – for sure and for certain! Guess the future months are not promising anything good as far as I can see. Guess we’ll have to keep trudging along. Hope all is going well for you and your husband. Take care and I can’t wait to read the introduction of your new book!!

    1. Kris, I’ve been neglecting my blog again, and just found this nice reply. It has been a strange year indeed. I’m sorry to hear about your transmission problems. David and I have been taking drives more than we had been, and it helps our outlook on life.

      Thanks for following along on my blog…

      Saloma

  4. Dear Saloma, So glad to hear you are getting back on the creative horse!!! I have missed you and your writings. It seems the pandemic has made changes in all of us, some good, some bad. i have actually been more creative and have grown in my christian faith during this time. On the flip side I hate social distancing! I hate live streaming of church. I hate that my twin brother and sister-in-law didn’t come up from Florida this year for a visit. I hate that our family reunion had to be canceled. I’m sad that my stepson was forced to cancel their wedding and reschedule it for next year. And most of all it breaks my heart to see my son who was always so active struggle to climb my front steps when he and my daughter-in-law come to visit because of the after effects he endures do to getting the virus. 2020 has certainly been a crazy year, it sure did blind side us. But, I keep looking to the heavens and remind myself who really is in control of it all and do my part by trying not to lose heart and find pleasure in the little things. Like finishing a cross stitch I started two years ago…..or is it three??? Smile!! Here in Pittsburgh we have had some beautiful skies lately, maybe its God’s way of reminding us that even in the darkest of times we need to look up.

  5. Pamela, I love this: “Maybe its God’s way of reminding us that even in the darkest of times we need to look up.” That is beautiful and so true.

    Sorry you had issues with email notifications from my blog, and I’m glad to see you back. I’ve missed you!

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