August 11, 2020. I’m surrounded by the stuff of moving: boxes, cardboard, packing paper, packing blankets, packing tape, packing bubble wrap, black plastic bags, Amazon cartons strewn everywhere from everyplace. So much chaos, I feel bubble-wrapped.

Moving in was the nightmare moving in always is: What box is the dog food in? What’s the code to get into the front gate? Where did you put the flashlight? Am I losing my mind, or did we forget to pack a can opener? A coffee maker? A bottle of champagne to celebrate this momentous occasion. We may have forgotten the coffee pot, but we remembered to pack a bottle of chilled champagne.   

The first night we slept on a blowup bed, used packing blankets to keep warm, and popped the champagne cork into the night sky to celebrate our new mountain house and the view of the entire expanse of the Mohawk Valley of the Sierra Nevada in Clio, California. The sunset was a dazzling splash of vibrant orange, Picasso red, soft eggshell blue framed by off-white clouds that floated past us almost as if they were waiting for a round of applause. 

I felt like I was living inside a painting by Manet.

Morning came, and with it, remembrance of the many mornings I’d awaken after one of our boy’s sleepovers. Our living room had been transformed into a Sunday morning garage: ten or eleven kids half in and half out of sleeping bags, popcorn was strewn like confetti over the carpet, crumpled cans of Coke, Root Beer, Pepsi all around, pizza boxes covered the kitchen floor. That’s what the living space in our new home looked like. 

But I had no time to waste. I had characters in my head whose voices screamed – get to work, Jane Howatt! You left me in mortal peril! What will happen next?

 But I had no desk, computer, pencils or pens or notes. What to do? Call Jim!

Jim heard my distress signal and found his way past the mayhem to the box, marked Jane’s Book, and opened it.

I set up my desk out of moving boxes and got to work. Tomorrow I can find the can opener and coffee pot. This morning, I need to write. 

Writer’s write. No matter what. No matter where. No excuses. Writing is being at home in my mind.