Welcome to Sharon Marchisello my next guest on my new feature – Isolation For Writers.
How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.
How is Sharon coping with this enforced isolation?
Here’s her answer:
Thoughts About Isolation
I’m supposed to be on a cruise right now. But instead of lounging on our balcony, scanning the waves for dolphins and watching the sun sink below the horizon as the ship glides across the Atlantic, we’re watching the sun set behind the pine trees in our own backyard. First-world suffering, I know. We’re healthy and have plenty to eat; we even have enough toilet paper. We live in a community with an extensive network of golf-cart paths, and these remain open so residents have access to fresh air and exercise.
Another positive: we’re getting our house painted. We’ve been trying for several years to accomplish this task, but the contractors are always so busy. No one calls you back. In the past, we’ve even had painters come over and give us an estimate, schedule a date to get started, and then never show up. But now, they’re hungry for work. People are losing their jobs and putting off discretionary expenses—like home projects. Contractors are happy to negotiate with anyone who can still afford their services.
I’ve been retired since 2015, and like many writers, I’m an introvert, so staying home every day staring at my computer is normal. State-imposed isolation is almost welcome—it’s a good excuse to not have to go anywhere. What has changed about my life is my participation in extracurricular writer and volunteer activities, which used to occupy a lot of my time. I’m on the board of directors for the Fayette Humane Society; our meetings now take place on Zoom. We’ve canceled our public pet adoptions and fundraising events. Neither my book club nor my critique group has met for two months. My husband and I both are Master Gardener volunteers; our projects are all on hold, and our homeowner enrichment classes and team meetings now take place on Zoom. So, I’m saving travel time but I’m not sure I’m getting much more accomplished writing-wise or around the house. And in an online meeting, I don’t feel as connected as I do when we meet face to face.
I write a personal finance blog, Countdown to Financial Fitness (https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/) to promote my nonfiction book Live Well, Grow Wealth.
When I started the blog at the end of 2015, I thought I’d publish once a week. That quickly changed to biweekly. Then a little less often than biweekly; soon it was more like monthly. And then it was just whenever I felt I had something to say. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been posting much more frequently; there’s a lot to say now. The economic fallout from this global pandemic might prove worse than the health crisis. Many of the principles I write about in my book—building an emergency fund, allocating investments among different asset types, conserving resources, looking for opportunities whether the market is up or down—are relevant now more than ever.
My publisher released my latest novel, Secrets of the Galapagos, just before the pandemic.
The usual occasions for connecting with new readers–conferences, signings in bookstores, talks in libraries—have all been canceled or postponed. Amazon has designated selling books as nonessential. I haven’t even held a launch party yet. Again, a selfish inconvenience. People are dying, families can’t pay their bills, and I’m fretting about lost book sales.
Here are the buy links for the Secrets of The Galapagos:
My emotions during this surreal period have been mixed. On one hand, I feel a heartwarming sense of solidarity with people all over the world who are experiencing the same fears and isolation, trying to adjust to the ever-changing norms of social distancing and personal protection. On the other hand, I’m frustrated by the constant bickering and politicizing of the crisis, the conflicting messages we get from leadership and the media. We’re making this up as we go along, acting on the best information we have at the time. It’s easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback, sit home and criticize the authorities for what they should or shouldn’t have done, for overreacting or for not acting soon or decisively enough. We could get through this crisis better if everyone would cut each other some slack and come together. One can only hope…
Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press: Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019).
Going Home is a whodunit inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who couldn’t rely on her memory. Secrets of the Galapagos is a mystery with a touch of romance set on a luxury cruise ship exploring the Galapagos islands.
Her other publications include travel articles, corporate training manuals, short stories, book reviews, the blog Countdown to Financial Fitness, and a nonfiction book about personal finance, Live Well, Grow Wealth. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is an active member of Sisters in Crime. Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she now lives in Georgia and does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society.
Website or blog: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Thank you so much to Sharon for sharing her thoughts on isolation, along with her diverse interests and publications, including her new book: Secrets of The Galapagos which I am pleased to share here.
I wish Sharon much success, good luck, health and happiness.
Social Media Links
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
So much I can identify with here. My second novel came out on November 28th and I thought I’d wait until after Christmas to promote it… It’s about the health service in the UK set in the near future and I can’t bring myself to draw attention to it. Nor can I push my first novel, Someone Close to Home, because it’s set in a care home. But I’m so fortunate in other ways and have a garden to distract and relax me and plenty of loo roll!
The photos on this site are amazing – in particular, the top seascape and the Galapagos cover and snaps. Thanks!
Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Yes it is such a difficult time for everyone. And I understand your thoughts on feeling uncomfortable promoting your work at present. I try to focus on the positive as well. There are so many people suffering in far worst situations than my own. Sharon’s photos of the Galapagos are awesome. And I try to choose photos that reflect the person that I am featuring. I really liked the seascape and thought it would go very nicely with this post. Marje 🙂
I love the seascape you chose. It’s perfect!
Thank you Sharon.
I try to match photos to my guests for this series. Glad you liked it. 🙂
Thanks, and best of luck with your novels. Hope we’ll see some relief from this crisis soon!
Yes best of luck. Hope life returns to as normal as possible as soon as possible. 🙂
Thanks so much for featuring me on your blog today!
You’re welcome Sharon. It’s been a pleasure thanks for sharing your thoughts and your wonderful photos. They transported me away from my study this morning!
This was a great post and it sounds like Sharon is staying busy despite having a little more time on her hands without the in-person meetings. I have echoed her sentiments–I normally work in my house, so this hasn’t been a big change for me, but I do miss the personal interaction of a book club or just a casual chance meeting in the grocery store. It has been such a strange experience, and my thoughts and prayers go out to those whose lives have been upended by this.
Yes it is a strange time. I do miss seeing my friends and work colleagues. But there are so many people far worse off. Thanks for your kind comment and for popping by Amy. 🙂
Yes, my heart goes out to people who have it much worse. Those who don’t have a pleasant place to be quarantined. Those who have lost their livelihood and don’t know how they’ll make ends meet. Those who are sick, or who have loved ones who are sick or even dying, and they can’t visit them, can’t comfort friends who have lost someone. Such a sad time!
Yes it’s such a difficult time. Truly frightening and worrying too with the loss if life, job situation and economies of the world in this perturbing situation. But the human spirit is resilient and strong.
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
Marjorie Mallon interviews another author in lockdown Sharon Marchisello who shares some of the new methods of communication in use and also the plus side of the situation.
Thanks for sharing, Sally!
Wonderful post thanks Marje and Sharon. I can relate to being a writer and usually in voluntary lockdown. There has been quite of decorating and garden work getting done which makes the best of the extra time. We are very lucky and are so thankful that we feel safe, which makes it very much less stressful.. hugs to you both.. xx
Thanks for popping by Sally. Yes I think the key is to stay busy so there isn’t too much spare time to get anxious. That’s my way of coping with it. Also we’re trying to do something special every weekend. Baking, themed food evening that kind of thing. Hugs to you and Sharon too. x
I agree that getting something accomplished or taking advantage of extra family time can help us cope.
One of the things the pandemic has brought into the light is extroverts vs. introverts. I talk to friends who tell me the virus had had little to no effect on them, and I think, hunh? Then I realize it is because they are a much different type of person than me. Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders are hard when you like being around people. I’m the guy who organizes getting friends together, and I miss that. I’m longing for the laughs, the hugs, and the general camaraderie, but we need to be responsible not to make this drag out any longer.
The other thing that registered with me about Sharon’s post was contractors. I’ve had so many experiences over the years where they flake. It’s one thing to not show up at a predetermined time, but it’s rude not to bother making a phone call. I think she nailed it—when they have a lot of work, then the level of customer service goes down.
I think that’s true Pete. In our house we have two people – myself and my eldest daughter who are quite happy to sit and read a book or write. Having said that I do miss seeing my mum and dad who live up in Edinburgh. And I am looking forward to Lockdown coming to an end as long as it is the right time for it to do so. My youngest daughter and hubby are finding it harder as they are the ‘party animals!’ Who are very social. Thanks for popping by and I agree re: the contractors. A quick phone call is an easy thing to do.
So true about the contractors, Pete. I’ve often wondered how some of them stay in business. But we finally got our house painted! These people were pretty good about showing up most of the time when they said they would and following through on the work.
Reblogged this on Sharon Marchisello and commented:
Thank you to M.J. Mallon for hosting me on her blog!
Fab interview Marje and Sharon. I get what you mean Sharon about that we’re used to staying home in front of our computers, Still, it’s our freedom to step away from the computer and go to the gym or out for a coffee that I’d welcome. 🙂
Thanks for your kind comment Debby. Yes to both. Debby and Sharon, I do miss coffees, gym and seeing friends. I’m especially finding it hard not seeing my mum, dad and brother. I can’t wait to give them a hug when this is all over. Though my brother has never been the hugging type! Lol. x
I also miss going out and seeing people. Luckily, we live in a subdivision so we’re still able to chat with our neighbors, outdoors and in limited numbers.
Well, who knows Marje, maybe your brother is ready for a hug? <3