Hand-sewn dining chair slipcovers—two sets of four pieces. Beef borsch (traditional recipe). Cleaned the gunk off the window ridges. Banana-chocolate chip bread, cottage cheese cake, and other baked experiments. Framed V’s oil painting and found a place for it alongside other photos and wall decorations. These are things I finished in the course of finishing a novel. They distract but they don’t derail. If anything, they are necessary (imagine looking past your laptop and noticing mud lacing your windowpanes). They are chores and passing whims; I am not built for devoting life to domestic perfection. Believe me when I say I’m not the crafty type; even I laugh at the results sometimes. When V suggested getting a sewing machine (during slipcover phase—it must have looked painful to him), I said no to the waste of money and space. (I also thought afterwards that I find sewing by hand meditative, not sure if a sewing machine has the same effect.) When you spend hours and hours inside your head you seek distraction by working with your hands. Want to fall in love with exercise? Try writing a novel.

Then I get tired of the dirt, the dishes, the less-than-desirable outcomes. Or I just get tired. The manuscript always beckons. It’s becoming truer, deeper each time. It trusts me that I won’t quit as much as I trust it to constantly challenge and surprise me.

I have an idea for a watercolour wall art and I want to learn how to make bread from scratch.


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